Reading List: The Strategy of Your Life


On the topic of measuring one’s life, Clayton Christensen (a HBS professor best known for his work on innovation) noticed, over the years, something troubling about his students. Their analytical ability to dissect industries and plot their careers was phenomenal, yet they rarely spent the same amount of time on themselves. In a remarkable essay, he writes:

Over the years Iʼve watched the fates of my HBS classmates from 1979 unfold; Iʼve seen more and more of them come to reunions unhappy, divorced, and alienated from their children. I can guarantee you that not a single one of them graduated with the deliberate strategy of getting divorced and raising children who would become estranged from them.

And yet a shocking number of them implemented that strategy. The reason? They didn’t keep the purpose of their lives front and center as they decided how to spend their time, talents, and energy.

Christensen goes on to suggest a specific framework to make ensure one’s personal life is as intentional as one’s career. The list will be familiar to anyone who has built a company: create a specific strategy, allocate your resources wisely, pay attention to culture, avoid certain mistakes, remain humble, and measure carefully. This is one of the best pieces I have read this year, and I recommend it with without reservation.