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How will you Measure your Life - Book summary

Why do people with remarkable professional achievements feel unhappy, end up with failed relationships and/or get embroiled in scandals or crime? How can we live our life fully and know we’re on the right track? Clayton M. Christensen is known for his work on business strategy and innovation. In this book, he shows how proven business theories can be applied to achieve greater fulfillment in all aspects of life. In this free version of How Will you Measure your Life summary, we’ll outline how you can (i) ensure you’re successful and happy in your career, (ii) ensure you enjoy happy and lasting relationships with your family and close friends, and (iii) live with integrity.

How Will you Measure your Life: An Introduction

There are many similarities between what it takes to build and sustain a successful enterprise and what it takes to live a fulfilling life. The tips in this book are built on various business theories which have been personally tested by Christensen and his students in their own lives. Such theories are powerful because they apply across different scenarios to explain why things happen. They predict what’ll happen if we make certain decisions or take certain actions. This book isn’t about shortcuts or easy answers. It doesn’t tell you what to think, but equips you with tools to improve how you think.

We’ll now give a brief overview of these powerful theories and insights. Do get a copy of our full 12-page summary for more details.

Part 1: Building a Fulfilling Career

We spend most of our waking hours working. A fulfilling career greatly improves your overall happiness and quality of life. A strategy defines your desired outcomes and how you’ll achieve them. You can use the strategy process to find career fulfillment by (i) having clear priorities, (ii) responding to unanticipated threats and opportunities and (iii) allocating your resources optimally.

How Will You Measure your Life summary_career fulfilment

  • The two-factor theory (or motivation theory) explains the importance of both hygiene factors and motivation factors at work. In our complete summary, we explain the difference between the two sets of factors, why motivators are more important, and know the right questions to ask yourself when looking for the right job/career path.
  • Businesses that succeed don’t start out with the perfect strategy; they succeed because they manage to evolve their strategy to address new threats and opportunities that surface. Likewise, you’ll need to shift between deliberate strategies and emergent strategies in your search for the right career path. In our full book summary, we explain the difference between the 2 strategies, what strategy switching entails and why it’s vital for you to test your assumptions before committing to a specific career choice.
  • Your strategy is not based on what you say it is, but how you actually spend your resources. In business, it’s common to find a misalignment between company/employee priorities, or for managers to over-emphasize short-term initiatives over long-term ones. In our complete 12-page summary, we explain why such mis-allocations occur and what it means to allocate your personal resources in line with your career strategy.

Part 2: Nurturing Happy, Lasting Relationships

Deep, lasting and loving relationships are vital for happiness and can only be built with consistent, long-term investments.

How Will You Measure your Life summary_strong relationships

  • Good investors know the importance of (i) achieving profitability before growth and (ii) investing for the long term. Likewise, relationships require consistent, long-term investments.
  • Many businesses fail because they focus on what they want to sell rather than what customers truly need. We also tend to focus on what we want in our relationships rather than what the other party needs. The best way to make your loved ones happy is to understand the job they most need you to do, and actually do it. In our full summary bundle, we’ll share more examples on what it means to understand the job you’re “hired” to do (as a spouse, a friend or a parent) and why sacrificing for your loved ones is actually a vital part of relationship-building and satisfaction.
  • A company’s capabilities define what it can and can’t do. Such capabilities can be broken down into resources, processes and priorities (RPP). Likewise, our personal capabilities are also made up of our bundle of RPPs. In our complete book summary, we explain the 3 components of RPP, how the wrong choices can cripple your long-term capabilities, the role of organizational/family culture in decision-making and how to apply all of these insights to optimize your investment in your children’s future.

Part 3: Living a Life of Integrity

Even the best businesses can fall from greatness while high-achievers can end up in jail or embroiled in scandals that destroy their future. In our full summary, we explain the danger of marginal thinking and what it takes to live a life of integrity so you won’t get derailed.

Getting the Most from How Will You Measure Your Life?

In this article, we’ve briefly outlined some of the key insights and strategies you can use to achieve desired change. For more examples, details, and actionable tips to apply these strategies, do get our complete book summary bundle which includes an infographic, 12-page text summary, and a 25-minute audio summary.How Will You Measure Your Life summary - book summary bundle

You can purchase the book here where Christensen shares many other examples and personal observations on how the theories can be found in business and in life, or visit for more information.

About the Author of How Will You Measure Your Life?

How Will You Measure Your Life? is written by Clayton M. Christensen–an American academic, authorm business consultant, and religious leader. He’s the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School of Harvard University, a co-founder of Rose Park Advisors (a venture capital firm) and Innosight (a management consulting and investment firm). Christensen is regarded as one of the world’s top experts on innovation and growth. In 2011, he was named the most influential business thinker in the world, in a poll of thousands of executives, consultants and business school professors.

How Will You Measure Your Life? Quotes

“Motivation is much less about external prodding or stimulation, and much more about what’s inside of you and inside your work.”

“Real strategy—in companies and in our lives—is created through hundreds of everyday decisions about where we spend our resources.”

“If we ask the right questions, the answers generally are easy to get.”

“Capital that seeks growth before profits is bad capital.”

“Sacrifice deepens our commitment.”

“Make no mistake: a culture happens, whether you want it to or not. The only question is how hard you are going to try to influence it.”

Click here to download the How Will You Measure Your Life summary & infographic

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