Clayton Christensen's new book 'How Will You Measure Your Life?' generates unique buzz from major publications

Published: Friday, May 11 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

"But he loves discussions, he loves talking about his faith, and he is a missionary at heart, so I think he really likes living in a part of the country where he is surrounded by people whose views are different from his own."

MacFarquhar also talked about how the book is "very personal" to Christensen.

"But his co-authors (in this case as in all the others) are full participants, and I assume they make the books better than they would otherwise be, precisely because they are not Christensen clones," she said. "James Allworth is a former student of his, but far from being a Mormon, he is an atheist; Karen Dillon isn't an atheist but she isn't a Mormon either. Both James and Karen say that discussing how to live a good life with Christensen has affected them deeply, and I imagine that goes both ways."

Bradford Wieners in Bloomberg Businessweek wrote about an event that changed Christensen's life:

"'I'd been raised Mormon, but there comes a time where you are not following what you've been taught, but discovering for yourself if it's true,' Christensen says. Each night from 11 to midnight, he huddled near a space heater in a pre-Columbian Oxford building, read chapters from The Book of Mormon, and prayed to know 'if some charlatan had written this, or was it really from someone who talked to God?' While praying one night, he found himself enveloped in a feeling of love so profound he wept. This feeling stayed with him for an hour, and left him certain he was a son of God."

Andrew Hill in The Financial Times points out that the book is not a religion book.

"It is no autobiography," he wrote. "Prof Christensen writes comparatively little, for instance, about his faith, even though he told me he had become 'much more open about the importance of religion in our lives.' But he uses personal experiences to underline the message, such as the day his mother taught him to repair his own jeans (the virtue of self-sufficiency) or his habit of leaving work early so he could play with his children (the need to invest your time appropriately)."

The book grew out of a speech Christensen gave at Harvard that took his research in why some companies succeed and some fail and applied it to how to succeed in life. He illustrated the concepts with examples taken from his own life. The article based on the speech, "How Will You Measure Your Life?" became one of the most popular articles ever published by Harvard Business Review.

The new book seems to be part of what Christensen described in a Deseret News profile last November. He spoke about the ultimate questions he has tried to answer with his life.

"When I have my conversation with God at the end, whether I was a stake president or whatever position I had or didn't have in the church and in my life, actually won't come up in God's conversation with me because he just doesn't think that way," Christensen said. "He's going to say, 'Ok Clay, so I put you in that situation. Let's just talk about the individual people whose lives you helped. And then I stuck you in that situation. Tell me about the lives you helped there.'"




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