This is The Measure of A Man’s Life – Yours

3 Life-Changing Lessons from Professor Clayton Christensen.

Father and daughter
Father & Daughter Photo by lauren lulu taylor on Unsplash

Here is a brief review of Professors Clayton Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon’s book How Will You Measure Your Life. I’ve read other bestsellers from Professor Clayton (The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Innovator’s Solution), but this title is my all-time favorite. Professor Clayton takes business and high-sounding economics and business terms and dissects them to the practical understanding of the uninitiated. Following in the paths of his other bestselling books on innovation and other subjects, this book is will be highly appreciated by all.

Even though life is not all about business, he (and the co-authors) used simplified and yet highly practical language to propose what should and ought to be the most important measure and approaches to life. Readers will be pleased with this highly enlightening book.

The first two takeaways;

  • Deliberate (or planned) strategy
  • Emergent Strategy

These two strategies and their typical life applications are briefly explained below.

Among other topics, the authors explained how readers can use what they called the deliberate (or planned)  and emergent strategy to discover their life’s purpose, goals, pursuits, and what might eventually work for them in life. The likelihood of the success of any of these strategies is tested along the way with the statement, “What has to prove true for this to work?”

Going further, according to them, people in all cadres of life can use the theory of full costs and marginal costs in taking decisions that have overreaching long or short-term repercussions in business and in situations that call for moral choices. They explained that “The marginal cost of doing something wrong “just this once” always seems to be negligible, but the full cost will typically be much higher.”

Unconsciously, we all naturally employ the marginal cost doctrine in our personal lives. A Voice in our head says, “Look, I know that as a general rule, most people shouldn’t do this. But in this particular extenuating circumstance, just this once, it’s okay. And the voice in our head seems to be right; the price of doing something wrong, “just this once” usually appears alluringly low. It suckers you in, and you don’t see where that path is ultimately headed or the full cost that the choice entails.”

This book did not set out to just simply teach us morals. But, in our world and times where people see morals as relative, I find the authors’ emphasis in this area towards the end of the book a highly reassuring guide.

Never lower your morals in other to please others or meet their expectations. Do not debase yourself or go contrary to what you know to be your true inner convictions and what is the right thing to do. Why? The answer to the why is in my third takeaway.

Finally, this third takeaway should serve as a lamp house beacon to help us navigate the treacherous waters of alternative truths and morals. For it is easier to stay true to your convictions 100% of the time than it is to stay true to them 98% of the time. Because, you never can tell where or how far you will go down the drain after that first, initial, Just this one time only… Click To Tweet

book cover image SOURCE
All quotations & brief excerpts are from: ©Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, Karen Dillon;  How Will You Measure Your Life?, Harper Business, 2012

I originally published this review on this site as The Measure of A Man’s Life