How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen
  • Title: How Will You Measure Your Life?
  • Subtitle: None
  • Author(s): Clayton M. Christensen
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Year: 2017-01-17
  • ISBN-10: 1633692574
  • ISBN-13: 9781633692572


“How Will You Measure Your Life?” by Clayton M. Christensen is a thought-provoking book that encourages readers to reflect on their values, goals, and priorities to lead a fulfilling and purpose-driven life. Drawing from his experiences as a Harvard Business School professor and renowned thinker on innovation and management, Christensen offers profound insights and practical advice on finding true happiness and success. The book delves into three fundamental questions: How can we be sure that we will be happy and successful in our careers? How can we maintain strong and meaningful relationships with our loved ones? And how can we live with integrity and align our actions with our core values?

The book emphasizes the importance of aligning personal and professional choices with long-term goals and values. Christensen presents compelling case studies of successful individuals who, despite achieving great career heights, struggled to find happiness and fulfillment because they had veered off course from their original intentions. He encourages readers to think critically about what truly matters to them and how their daily decisions impact their overall well-being. By exploring the concept of “marginal thinking” and how small choices can lead to significant consequences over time, Christensen empowers readers to make intentional decisions that will shape their future in a positive and purposeful manner. The book is not only a valuable guide for professionals seeking career fulfillment but also a profound exploration of leading a life of significance and leaving a lasting legacy through authentic relationships and values-driven choices.

Book Review

“How Will You Measure Your Life?” by Clayton M. Christensen is a powerful and introspective book that offers profound insights into leading a purposeful and fulfilling life. Drawing from his experiences as a renowned professor at Harvard Business School and his personal struggles with life’s challenges, Christensen weaves together business principles, wisdom, and personal anecdotes to guide readers on a journey of self-discovery and reflection.

One of the book’s core messages is the importance of aligning our actions and decisions with our core values and long-term goals. Christensen shares the concept of “motivation hygiene,” where he explains that true motivation and happiness come from finding meaning and purpose in what we do, rather than solely seeking external rewards like money or recognition. He uses the example of his former classmate, Jeff Skilling, who had a brilliant career at Enron but eventually ended up in prison due to unethical practices. Christensen contrasts this with a classmate who chose to follow his passion for teaching despite the allure of a higher-paying job, leading to a rewarding and fulfilling career. The lesson here is that success should not be solely measured by society’s standards but rather by our own sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Christensen also delves into the topic of work-life balance, emphasizing the importance of investing time and effort in nurturing meaningful relationships with loved ones. He shares a personal story of his realization that his own family life was suffering due to his relentless pursuit of career success. Christensen advises readers to allocate time and energy to build strong, loving relationships with family and friends, recognizing that these connections are the foundation of lasting happiness and fulfillment. By providing tools like the “100/100 principle” for relationships, he offers practical advice on how to maintain healthy and meaningful connections with our loved ones.

Furthermore, the book explores the concept of personal integrity and staying true to one’s values, especially in times of adversity. Christensen shares his own struggles with cancer and how this experience shaped his perspective on life and priorities. He encourages readers to have the courage to make difficult decisions in the face of challenges, emphasizing that maintaining one’s integrity is crucial for long-term happiness and peace of mind.

Throughout “How Will You Measure Your Life?” Clayton Christensen masterfully combines insights from business, psychology, and philosophy to provide a comprehensive guide for leading a purpose-driven life. His relatable and authentic storytelling, combined with practical principles, makes the book engaging and accessible to a wide range of readers. Whether you are a business professional, a parent, a student, or simply someone seeking meaning and fulfillment, this book offers valuable lessons on aligning personal and professional choices with your core values, nurturing meaningful relationships, and living a life of integrity. It is a compelling and thought-provoking read that challenges readers to reflect on what truly matters and inspires them to make choices that will lead to a more purposeful and well-lived life.

Word Count: 491

Target Audience

The book “How Will You Measure Your Life?” by Clayton M. Christensen is targeted at a broad audience and is recommended reading for various groups:

  • Business Professionals The book is relevant for business professionals, especially those in leadership roles or seeking to advance their careers. Christensen’s insights on aligning personal values with professional choices, as well as the importance of ethical decision-making, can help professionals find deeper meaning and purpose in their work. It encourages them to question their motivations, redefine success, and prioritize long-term fulfillment over short-term gains.

  • Students and Graduates The book is highly recommended for students and recent graduates as they embark on their career journeys. Christensen’s reflections on choosing the right career path and finding personal fulfillment resonate with young readers who are making important life decisions. The book provides valuable guidance on setting meaningful goals and staying true to one’s principles, helping students lay the groundwork for a purposeful and successful life.

  • Individuals Seeking Personal Growth “How Will You Measure Your Life?” is an ideal read for individuals seeking personal growth, self-awareness, and fulfillment. Christensen’s wisdom on the significance of building strong, loving relationships and making choices that align with one’s values offers a roadmap for living a more purposeful and balanced life. It challenges readers to reflect on their own priorities, desires, and actions, encouraging them to make intentional changes to achieve greater happiness and success.

  • Parents and Families The book is recommended for parents and families seeking to foster deeper connections and nurturing relationships. Christensen’s advice on dedicating time and effort to loved ones provides valuable insights for parents striving to balance their careers with meaningful family life. It encourages parents to be present and actively invest in their children’s lives, creating a positive impact on family dynamics and well-being.

  • Individuals Facing Adversity For those facing adversity or challenging circumstances, “How Will You Measure Your Life?” offers hope and resilience. Christensen’s personal account of coping with cancer demonstrates the power of maintaining integrity and staying true to one’s values, even in difficult times. The book can inspire individuals to find strength and determination to overcome obstacles and maintain a sense of purpose in the face of adversity.

In summary, “How Will You Measure Your Life?” is recommended reading for a diverse audience, including business professionals, students, individuals seeking personal growth, parents, and those facing adversity. Clayton M. Christensen’s profound insights, relatable storytelling, and practical advice make the book universally relevant and accessible. It challenges readers to rethink their definitions of success and happiness, encouraging them to prioritize relationships, values, and integrity to lead more meaningful and fulfilled lives. Whether in the early stages of their careers or at different life stages, readers will find valuable lessons and actionable principles that resonate with their personal aspirations and desires for a purpose-driven life.