by Clay Christensen

San Francisco Meeting:

Thursday, November 14, 2013 @ 7:00 PM

Location: The Grove (3rd and Mission; Upstairs)

RSVP by visiting the Meetup Page

This book has now been recommended to me many times. It explores a topic that a lot of us in our 20's and 30's (and beyond) seem to be exploring. Over the years, I know I've found great reward in investing my time and energy in helping others inside and outside the workplace and I'm excited to dig a little deeper into this.  Here's a snip-it of the Amazon review for his 4.5-star book:

"From the world’s leading thinker on innovation and New York Times bestselling author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton M. Christensen, comes an unconventional book of inspiration and wisdom for achieving a fulfilling life...Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life  is a book of lucid observations and penetrating insights designed to help any reader—student or teacher, mid-career professional or retiree, parent or child—forge their own paths to fulfillment..."  >read more

To give you a little more background on what the book is about, Here is Christensen's insightful TEDxBoston talk (note: he does end with some religious undertones (overtones?); if that's not your bag, it still doesn't detract from his overall message):


Here are some questions I typically like to ask to lead the discussion:

  • What was your greatest take-away from the book?

  • What actionable items have you given yourself as a result?

  • Is there anything that you disagreed with?

  • What books have you read that were similar?

  • Any additional thoughts?

Please include your thoughts on the questions above in the comments section below if you're reading along and can't make the meeting. Additionally, If you have any questions or comments regarding the book or meeting, please feel free to start the discussion below.


This was a really great read that addressed a common theme that I often find myself contemplating when reading either personal or professional development books. Often times, I find myself relating the advice given in a book such as the 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader to the virtues necessary for a rewarding personal life. Similar correlations can be drawn in the other direction, for instance, The Five Love Languages and how it can be related to understanding the needs of various team members. How Will You Measure Your Life? goes into great detail about how these two aspects of your life are greatly related.

Major Takeaways

  • Aligning goals and efforts in all points of life. While it is important to have work-life balance, this does not mean the goals should be evaluated separately. It is important to consider the impacts of one on another and you need to determine which has higher priority for you.
  • Dealing the the struggles of being successful at work and at home. Being successful at work comes very intuitively. Tasks and goals are often mapped out for you and it is clear to see achievement every day. Things are not so clear in your personal life. Sacrifices you make today may not be realized until 20 years down the road. It is important to realize your goals and put in the necessary effort to achieve them.
  • Cross-functional advice for both career and relationships. Again, the book does a very good job at explaining the importance of a cross-functional focus.
  • Speaking to your kids as equals. This is a micro-message in the book, but as readers, some of us were very surprised to hear the research presented regarding the benefit of speaking to your children often and as equals from the time they are born. The benefits are staggering.

Actionable Items

After reading books like this, I like asking the group if there are any actionable items that they will be implementing in their daily routine. Here are some that they came up with:

  • Focus on the big strategy and ensure that all objectives are aligned for your end goal
  • Have less anxiety about deviating from "the plan"
  • Define what assumptions need to prove true when developing a new strategy

Are there any that we missed?

Supportive Materials
Joyce recommended an article that breaks down the flaws in the reward systems in different institutions and explains how they are often misaligned with an organization's vision and goals. I especially enjoyed the section on consulting and business.
On the Folly of Rewarding For A, While Hoping For B by Steven Kerr

Drive by Daniel Pink - Related to the book we just read, Drive speaks a lot to intrinsic motivation and fulfillment in one's career and life.

Finally, no book is perfect. Here is a review from one of our readers on Amazon

AuthorBen Larson