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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars makes you think - a humane and fascinating book
This is a wonderful book - an intelligent, thought provoking read which takes the key theories of Harvard Business School, reviews them through brief but illuminating business case studies, and then goes on to apply them to the lessons of life outside of work and business as well.

A great little business book - it should be given that it is co authored by 3...
Published on 16 Jun 2012 by markr

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half measure
I bought this book having had it on my wish list for some time and thought I was in for a real treat as I began reading the early pages. Here was somebody of talent and proven ability (assuming Harvard are still recruiting top people) who writes in a friendly down to earth way, with words that are accessible to us mere mortals. He told a tale of his university reunions...
Published 11 months ago by Stephen Green


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars makes you think - a humane and fascinating book, 16 Jun 2012
By 
markr - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How Will You Measure Your Life? (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful book - an intelligent, thought provoking read which takes the key theories of Harvard Business School, reviews them through brief but illuminating business case studies, and then goes on to apply them to the lessons of life outside of work and business as well.

A great little business book - it should be given that it is co authored by 3 people strongly connected with HBS - and a book which is guaranteed to make you think about how well you make the allocation of your resources - your skills, talents, money and time - align with what is truly important to you and the kind of person you would like to be though of as being.

The authors make clear why so many people who are very successful in their careers have not always created the same success in their personal lives. It certainly made me think, and I hope will stay with me as I try to learn and to apply the lessons.

This is not a sanctimonious or preachy book at all. It is smart, clear, practical and very readable with lots of valuable insights into life and business

Highly recommended
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sometimes absorbing, sometimes misguided, but overall strongly recommended, 21 July 2012
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This review is from: How Will You Measure Your Life? (Hardcover)
A professor of business studies applies his learning and knowledge to the question 'how should we lead our lives?. He is, incidentally, a deeply religious person (a Mormon) and so is very interested in that question anyway.

The book starts from the observation that many colleagues who should have led deeply fulfilling lives have failed to do so. And asks why? We start with some truths that are very elegantly expressed and illustrated that will remain in the memory. First there's the pursuit of money, when this is really a 'hygiene' factor rather than a goal worth pursuing in its own right. Then there's material on the balance to be struck between planned strategies and the opportunities that arise serendipitously - you need to plan, but to be open to experience. Then there's the vexed question of prioritisation and incentives - your prioritisation is shown through your behaviour (what goods do you sell for preference if you are a salesman? what time do you leave the office?) - and your prioritisation reflects your incentives (what does your company reward you to sell?)

The next section, based on the author's knowledge of disruptive innovation, I found the most revealing - you need to invest in new ideas at the right time (you need to invest in your children at the right time), and not throw cash in large measure at it too late. You need to ask yourself about products 'what job are they doing for you?' (and ask 'what job is school doing for your children?' If the answer is 'making them feel successful' realise what the other ways to do this are. Just as if you design a milkshake which people drink in their cars on their commute to the office realise that the rivals are doughnuts, bagels etc as well as other milkshakes).

This is where however, I found the book slowly moved into less plausible translations from business to personal life. In business, if you outsource too much of your own capability, you may be in trouble. Is that really like sending your children to out-of-school activities though? Even more so, in business if you look only at marginal costs you may make the wrong decisions about fight potential disruptive rivals who don't have your sunk costs but do have a lower cost business model. Is this really like deciding not to play basketball on a Sunday because it is against your religious convictions?

So: I didn't believe everything; and some things confirmed my pre-existing convictions. But there was enough that was new to me and totally convincing for me to want to recommend the book strongly to others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half measure, 28 Aug 2013
By 
Stephen Green (Uttoxeter, Staffs. UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How Will You Measure Your Life? (Hardcover)
I bought this book having had it on my wish list for some time and thought I was in for a real treat as I began reading the early pages. Here was somebody of talent and proven ability (assuming Harvard are still recruiting top people) who writes in a friendly down to earth way, with words that are accessible to us mere mortals. He told a tale of his university reunions where gradually the lives of these gifted people began tailing off, after early career and material success. An Enron executive, one of his contemporaries went to jail, something apparently unrecognisable from his early character. Others had failed marriages and ruined relationships with their children. The author says that the book is co-written by a talented hi-flying Australian called James Allworth and Karen Dillon "one of the world's most inspiring women". The author reveals that he is suffering from a rare type of cancer that prematurely ended his father's life. The author says that he is going to deliver an explanation of how high-fliers get derailed and fail to live up to their promise or leave a great legacy. With the life he has lived I awaited great wisdom and life experience. The author has written 11 previous books, so with Harper Collins as the publisher as well, what can possibly go wrong?

If you think that the criticisms I am about to make are unfair or unnecessary, let me first say that his is not half the book it could have and should have been. My desire is to lead people to the better authors, the relevant and the worthy and the right choices of whatever the reader is ready for. I want to lead you into further reading and steer you away from what I consider to be wrong choices. However, despite what I am about to write, others will have different views, so make up your own mind. Like a previous reviewer who gave the book 2 stars, I wondered where there was a single word from the co-authors. The main author says the book was written as one voice from 3 contributors but I certainly read it entirely as one man justifying his reign as a great parent and family man who has all the answers for how today's talented young people should bring up their families. He parallels the example of Dell computers outsourcing their manufacturing with "soccer moms" ferrying their children to activities and says that parents shouldn't give their children the rich variety of experiences available today but should keep it in house. Apparently you should also not employ tradespeople but do everything yourself and involve your kids. His mother taught him to darn his socks and he concludes that such values are needed today. I see today's young parents as an inspiration personally but the author is quite convinced that his clumsy analogies between business and family life show the best way.

Thus you young talented people should make the decision to teach your children how they too can make a success of their lives by teaching them sports, pastimes and music in the claustrophobia of their own homes without mixing with their friends in outside activities and spend quality time unblocking drains with your kids, rather than being an example of achievement for your children to emulate. If it were all about time spent with your family then the unemployed would have great relationships and raise happy successful children. The author never really proposes an opinion of how any balance can be achieved, other than with some very valuable insights about the early development of children. However, this sage advise is crudely nailed together with some superficial observations of business stories analysed with hindsight. He doesn't make any forward predictions, just a broad brush analysis of past company successes and failures. The book is in no way an academic piece. Not a bibliography in sight and just two acknowledgements that other books are also available. I will now just mention a few books Switch: How to change things when change is hard The Compound Effect: Multiplying Your Success One Simple Step at a TimeMake Your Own Good Fortune: How to Seize Opportunities. We can't read all the books, which is why you and I look to other reviews to point us in the right direction.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent advice from a hero of mine, 6 Jun 2012
By 
Charles Lowe (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How Will You Measure Your Life? (Hardcover)
Clay Christensen has taken some key learnings from the commercial world and related them to how we plan and live our lives, extremely successfully. His prose is always easy to read and digest; the messages he relates are extremely powerful ones. Some are obvious of course, though some are novel.

In reading this, I have one regret - I wish it had been around when I was younger as I can see tha there is some excellent advice for bringing children up that's a tad too late for me now!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't let modern life ruin your character, 20 Jan 2013
By 
Neasa MacErlean (UK) - See all my reviews
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If huge companies such as HMV and Blockbuster can fail, how can we ensure that our own projects in life don't fail as well? Management expert Clayton Christensen, helped by journalist Karen Dillon and former student James Allworth, is pretty sure that we can achieve huge success in our lives if we learn some simple principles - and their case is very convincing. For a start, many of the newspapers and other organisations which are failing today did not invest in their future and wrote the internet off as a game-changer. Their narrow-mindedness came back at them with a vengeance. If we are not to share that fate, we individuals need to be constantly testing our assumptions against reality and we would benefit from setting out our own mission statements and measuring ourselves against it. We should be careful about outsourcing the care of our children to child minders and other teachers and filling up their days with hours of classes. The most valuable lessons are the simple ones about problem-solving, being self-reliant and having the satisfaction of achieving things ourselves. We teach these things to our kids by spending time with them (and showing them how to mend their clothes or make a cake), rather than outsourcing their care through weekends full of horse-riding and swimming classes. I have read dozens of self-help books and this ranks right at the top.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, short, concise, full of important learnings, 25 Aug 2012
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Highly recommended, this book is great on 2 levels:
1. It explains in very easy and concise ways the key theories that the author has developed himself or found to be the most relevant ones for key business topics.
2. It translates those in quite unique ways into your personal life and provides interesting views on what is important in life and how to find it for yourself, based on above theories - but as well based on the authors long, and successful life.
It doesn't provide quick fixes or solutions, instead it teaches you new ways on how to think about finding the right job, relationships and raising kids. At the same time any manager or business person can also use the theories described and apply them to his own job or company.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book - not just for business., 6 July 2012
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This is an excellent read that I would recommend for anyone looking to go into business. But more importantly it's also about the family and relationships. It suggests ways of looking at your life which are simple but effective.

I wish I had read it when I was at school and I will be giving it to my children to read.

It was so good I felt I had to repay the author with a review. The first one I have ever done.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful little read about living your life, 7 Jun 2012
By 
Dr. David James "David James" (Henley, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How Will You Measure Your Life? (Hardcover)
This is a really touching book, written by a great man. Some first class insights into what is taught at Harvard Business School are nicely linked to some life lessons. Not all the lessons are relevant to everyone but all good stuff anyway. I hope you get well soon Professor.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking, 11 Oct 2012
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An interesting book that invites you to consider how you perhaps ought to think about how you might measure yourself as you go through life rather than how most people do. This reflection, combined with the resultant changes in your thoughts and actions, will then lead to positive changes in your behaviour (and therefore feeling) more congruent with your real self.
I didn't find the book 'mind blowing' but it is an easy read and therefore very likely to get read and absorbed. For that reason in particular, I am considering buying a copy for each of my young adult children: they will appreciate it far more than listening to me, even if I tell them the same things!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Will You Measure Your Life, 13 July 2012
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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In a time characterized by instant meals, instant messages and instant gratification, it might seem odd to ask if you're making instant choices you could come to regret. Yet that's what innovative business experts Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth and Karen Dillon want you to explore. Their sobering, enlightening analysis applies causal business theory not just to improve your the prospects for a business, but also your personal and professional life. They explain why causation matters more than correlation, and they deftly show how to use the "if-then" principle in work and life. Christensen concludes this extraordinary book - quite a departure from his seminal writing on innovation - with a personal account of his challenges in practicing its principles. getAbstract warmly recommends this tightly-written, thoughtful guide to making better life choices.
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How Will You Measure Your Life? by Karen Dillon (Hardcover - 10 May 2012)
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