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Life beyond the bottom line: Clayton Christensen's new book has business world buzzing

Published: Sunday, May 13 2012 12:00 p.m. MDT

In "Driven," Miller said many things consistent with Christensen's themes in "How Will You Measure Your Life?" To wit, he expressed his regrets this way: "I would have been there for the Little League games and the scraped knees and the back-to-school nights. Would we have accomplished as much? There's no way to know ... If I had to choose between working long hours and being closer to family, I would choose the latter. That has come to mean more to me now, but, unfortunately, not until after my kids were grown and gone."

Evolution of a book

The genesis of a new national book phenomenon, Clayton Christensen's "How Will You Measure Your Life?" Out this week, the book already has drawn major attention and profiles of Christensen from Forbes, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the New Yorker and the Financial Times.

Harvard classrooms: Professor Christensen takes business class time to share lessons learned from watching others in business struggle in their personal lives. He asks students three questions — "How can I be sure that I'll be happy in my career? How can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness? How can I be sure I'll stay out of jail?"

Harvard speech: The students in the Harvard Business School Class of 2010 asked Christensen to speak to them in May of that year. He delivers a speech titled "How Will You Measure Your Life?" that mixes thoughts on faith and work-life balance with integrity and business.

Viral article: The speech becomes an article in the Harvard Business Review in July 2010, and the article becomes the most-read item in the history of the HBR website.

Forbes Magazine: The body of Christensen's life's work, the popularity of the article and his survival of cancer, a heart attack and a stroke lead Forbes to write not just a cover story but multiple articles with multiple videos.

Harper Business: The business imprint of international book publishing company HarperCollins Publishers brings Christensen together with James Allworth and Karen Dillon to turn the concepts into a book.

Email: drob@desnews.com

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