Raj's Lab

Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Books and Me: How will you measure your life?

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Book Title : How will you measure your life?

Authors     : Clayton M. Christensen,  James Allworth and  Karen Dillon

In recent times the discussion around  ‘ethics’, ‘values’ , ‘happiness’ and ‘fulfilment’ have increased manifold. The surge in demand has been adequately serviced by the supply side with most book stores stocking hundreds of titles on self-help for the working executive. The world seems to be becoming more complex as science discovers ways to make life more and more simple. This contradiction arises out of conflicting thoughts, as people make choices in personal and professional life.

Being a fan of Clayton Christensen’s literature, I was both excited and eager to read this book ‘How to measure your life’, which promised to throw light on this very aspect.  While I had read the article of the same title some time ago on Harvard Business Review, the opportunity to read it in detail seemed too good to pass.

This is not the typical business self-help book simply because he does not follow the usual route of writing that the genre follows.  In a sense we can say that this book is a trigger to disruptive change to the writing of business self-help books. For students of management reading this book would be a bonus since it uses proven theories commonly used in business decision making, to view individual life.  An important take-away for me personally was finding the right theory to solve the problem at hand.

Why is this book different?

  1. It is not suggestive/recommendatory  in nature. Most of the books in the genre of self-help tend to make a useful list of suggestion for changing our habits behaviours and thought processes. As they are broad generalization they may not be solutions to every readers problems/issues.  However these do have their own value especially in a time constrained audience. But this book does not make recommendation or suggestion.
  2. It uses theories to uncover options for our issues. Throughout the book the authors constantly reiterate the immeasurable value of using great theories.  Across aspects such as finding the true purpose of your life, setting objectives, developing strategies and allocating resources identifying capabilities. Retaining motivations and making decisions – the various theories used by the authors provide a excellent start point for someone to redraw and re-chart the journey of life towards attaining fulfilment.
  3. The inherent nature of the book is that it introduces theories and raises questions and provides examples from the author’s life on how it was put to use. This leaves the reader with enough questions and directions to start finding their own answers and plan their lives as a fulfilling journey rather than towards any particular state of success.

The book is full of wisdom by one who is hailed and accepted as one of the top thinkers of the world, and everyone is bound to have something that would hit them hard. As a person early in my career which involves thinking, writing and teaching I found a lot to take away beyond the obviously stated ones in the book.  But two things in specific which I think are something that I want to reiterate and share with my clients and students are:

  1. Choosing experiences over grades
  2. Just this once Vs All the time.

While these two stuck me personally; a whole lot more may strike you as you read.  I strongly recommend this for people who are interested in a happy and fulfilling life at both personal and professional level!

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