Clayton Christensen, ‘How will you measure your life?’. Essential reading for entrepreneurs & human beings.

It might just be possible that one of the world’s leading management thinkers, Professor Clayton Christensen, author of the ‘Innovator’s Dilemma‘ and other extraordinary books will be remembered principally, not for his contribution to innovation and management thinking which is immense, but for the ideas he shares in his latest book, ‘How will you measure your life?

He spoke at last year’s Business of Software Conference about the job your product actually does (video and link to full transcript here).

How will you measure your life? does contain lots of great ideas about management, but more importantly, some brilliant ideas about managing and thinking about your own life and what is really important.

“Over the years, he also noticed that many of his former classmates at Harvard and University of Oxford, where Christensen was a Rhodes Scholar, had ended up deeply unhappy. “Something had gone wrong for some of them along the way: their personal relationships had begun to deteriorate, even as their professional prospects blossomed,” he writes in the prologue of his new book, How Will You Measure Your Life? Many of these folks stopped attending reunions, and Christensen sensed that they “felt embarrassed to explain to their friends the contrast in the trajectories of their personal and professional lives.” Bloomberg Businessweek

How will you measure your life? is less about business, more about, well, life…

“When people who have a high need for achievement—and that includes all Harvard Business School graduates—have an extra half hour of time or an extra ounce of energy, they’ll unconsciously allocate it to activities that yield the most tangible accomplishments. And our careers provide the most concrete evidence that we’re moving forward. You ship a product, finish a design, complete a presentation, close a sale, teach a class, publish a paper, get paid, get promoted. In contrast, investing time and energy in your relationship with your spouse and children typically doesn’t offer that same immediate sense of achievement. Kids misbehave every day. It’s really not until 20 years down the road that you can put your hands on your hips and say, “I raised a good son or a good daughter.” You can neglect your relationship with your spouse, and on a day-to-day basis, it doesn’t seem as if things are deteriorating. People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to under-invest in their families and over-invest in their careers—even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.” Clayton Christensen.

We just shipped 50 copies of the book to the first of the 200 or so people who have already registered for Business of Software.

We are offering the next 25 registrants for BoS 2012 a copy of the book too. We know you will value what it contains.

Our next BLN CEO Tales in London on 31st May with Ken Segall is proving exceedingly popular. Not only is Ken sharing one of the few ‘insider’s views’ on why Apple has been the phenomenal success over the past 15 years, his book, ‘Insanely Simple, the obsession that drives Apple’s success‘, has just hit the New York Times bestseller list with some rave reviews.

Ken will talk about his experiences at Apple as well what that means for any technology business trying to emulate their success. You would be simply insane to miss it. More info…