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

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  • Jeanie b. Orem, UT
    May 19, 2012 11:59 p.m.

    Three years ago, and with 5 kids at home, my husband left the world of business to become a teacher because he discovered that his "career was not as important than he thought it was." I became a teacher too and during our first year of teaching our combined salary was half of what his alone had been.

    However, our family is very happy and our kids love having him at their high school as a teacher. He knows their friends and their world - something he didn't know when he was working and traveling in his previous career. His direct influence in their lives is invaluable.

    I count my husband as an amazingly successful man who will look back on his life with few regrets.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    May 18, 2012 4:05 p.m.

    There was a nice writeup of Christiansen in BusinessWeek a few weeks ago.

  • IndianaCoug Bloomington, IN
    May 18, 2012 9:45 a.m.

    RE: Diligent Dave

    "Teachers who never get rich? My brother-in-law is leaving elementary teaching this spring at age 58. His annual salary is in the mid-$80,000's. This is a LOT more money than I've EVER made being self-employed. Let's stop perpetuating the "poor" teacher myth."

    While the example of your brother-in-law does show there is an exception to every rule (average salaries for teachers are indeed much lower than professions that require comparable preparation), I don't think that was the point Utah Teacher was trying to make. I believe he was saying that he was o.k. making less money if it meant spending more time with his family, which is one of the main reasons many teachers get into the profession. Christensen's book (if it is like his other books and articles) will likely be preaching to the choir for those teachers who pick it up.

  • Larry Lawton Wan Chai, Hong Kong
    May 18, 2012 1:04 a.m.

    May I gently object to making a link between family size and important church callings? My dear wife nearly died after our second child was born. After a LONG wait, we were eventually able to adopt two more. Others may look down their noses at our small family and our slight financial success, but they do not know our circumstances. It is possible that the time we could not spend with children contributed to such financial success as we've enjoyed, but we'd trade it all for the joy others share with a quiver full of children and scores of grandchildren.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    May 14, 2012 10:07 p.m.

    Teachers who never get rich? My brother-in-law is leaving elementary teaching this spring at age 58. His annual salary is in the mid-$80,000's. This is a LOT more money than I've EVER made being self-employed. Let's stop perpetuating the "poor" teacher myth.

    Some LDS leaders are first spiritual. But not most. Not many of them know their scriptures all so well. A few do. But, yes, men of means have long been among those "called to serve". Their means help make that possible. My last missionary companion made good money as a health professional, served as a mission president, now is a GA.

    Compare General Authorities. Many who have served in the First Presidency and Twelve have had smaller families. Many have just 2 or 3 children. A few (Packer, Nelson) have had 10 children each. Eyring in the First Presidency has 6. Most have 2, 3 or 4 children. Many of them are of my parents' and inlaws' geneation (who had 8 and 12 children respectively). So, GA family sizes (esp. 1st Presidency & Twelve) are comparatively low.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    May 14, 2012 8:19 p.m.

    I won't be reading CC's book because it doesn't interest me. Thinking Fast & Slow as well the Power of Habit are fascinating.

    The whole obsession w/ celebrities is not just an LDS thing; it, sadly, is par for the course in 21st century America.

    Personally, the whole wealth argument above is silly. Both viewpoints have merits. Callings IMO have less to do with Economics, some to do with Geography, and alot to do w/ Psychology.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    May 14, 2012 6:35 p.m.

    The Mormon Tycoon stereotype is real. And people get trapped all the time here in Zion.
    Business failures and bankruptcies are high in Utah, not to mention the affinity fraud and multi-level marketing schemes.
    Thirty five years ago at the U they were studying wealth a family size among LDS men. The study suggested that Stake Presidents were wealthier and had smaller families than Bishops. And Bishops were wealthier and had smaller families than their congregants.
    Causality was never established but the point was an interesting one.
    But it is hard to deny that 45-year-old mission presidents aren't poor men struggling in their careers. They've made big money in order to do that.
    And the choice of leaders of student branches would indicate that the church would rather have rich people lead the impressionable young adults...than an honorable but bright brother who is a shoe salesman.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    May 14, 2012 4:05 p.m.

    Dale: Maybe you can shed some light on how GA's become rich after they are called to serve in the red seats?

    Why should anyone be ashamed of being successful in their endeavors? People try to get Romney to denounce his success in life. Why should he? There is nothing wrong with being successful, in fact, scriptures support it.

    It's sad when Mormons start eating their own in the race for the "Holy Thumper" Award.

  • dalefarr South Jordan, Utah
    May 14, 2012 2:59 p.m.

    I agree with runner. The message of our mormon culture seems to be "first be successful in temporal things and all things spritiual will be added" instead of the other way around as taught in the new testament. Most GA's are rich or became rich after called to serve in the red seats.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    May 14, 2012 2:14 p.m.

    Dear Runner: Maybe you should get out of Chandler and see what the real world of Mormonism is all about. I've had Bishop's, Stake President's etc who were all blue collar workers. They didn't have much in the way of monetary items, lived in modest homes, drove older vehicles too.

    They were honest, humble and dedicated to the Lord.

    I'm not sure if you ever listen to Gen Conf but I see examples all the time of "regular" folks being talked about. It's sad that you try to lump everyone in with your fascination of "celebrities" in the LDS church.

    I would also direct you to the parable of the talents.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    May 14, 2012 12:29 p.m.

    Dear Runner: I don't think we know that those who are financially successful have neglected their families. It is not a given.

  • Runner Chandler, AZ
    May 14, 2012 12:08 p.m.

    The other ironic thing about the message of this book is that it is written by an LDS scholar and will while it is intended for all careers, all walks of life, it will certainly resonate in the LDS culture. But therein lies the irony. Because in the LDS culture, we love our celebrities, our famous Mormons. Furthermore, look at those we hold up or those who are honored in our wards, stakes and culture. Ask yourself, if your stake president isn't wealthy or at least well off and if he didn't work long hours or travel extensively to get there? Look at those who serve as mission presidents. How did they get to be in their current financial secure position? Even look at those who are quoted or held up sometimes in general conference...Those people with a long list of temporal accomplishments.

    I often wonder why we don't acknowledge the faithful parents who consistently serve in the church and are at every ball game and are there for every scrapped knee? Instead, we have to have our heroes and our celebrities - Those who have paid the price of family neglect, and we feed into it.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    May 14, 2012 10:49 a.m.

    Some of the best advice I have ever received, was on the Harvard Business School campus, fall of 1998, LDS singles get-together dance and weekend of speakers. We asked Richard Bushman how we, as young people, could become like the rich and famous LDS families out there (you know their names), and have wealth in this life and the next------ and I will never forget his response, "Your career is not as important as you think it is." I personally think very few people are balanced in this life. And we are suppose to fail.
    And some things are more important to fail at than others.

  • Stephen Kent Ehat Lindon, UT
    May 14, 2012 7:23 a.m.

    Just a reaction to "Marxist's" comment above. He asks: "Does our system, i.e., capitalism, encourage the kinds of behaviors Christensen defends?" Marxist answers: "No."

    But capitalism allows the kinds of behaviors Christensen advocates. That's the key. Capitalism is neutral. Its objective is neither to encourage nor discourage good behavior, only to reward behavior that conforms to its rules of reward for work.

    We as individuals are the ones responsible to bring to capitalism a sense of right and wrong, of value-laden behavior.

    The same is true of "equality." It is, at root, an empty idea. Only if we bring to it a moral content does it have meaning.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 13, 2012 9:15 p.m.

    Also consider life below Miller's level. Lots of guys like me have had to work near 80 hour weeks to hold onto jobs - pure desperation, neglecting our home responsbilities. Lots of us have been there. We need, to use the words of a GOP wonk, a kindeer, gentler capitalism if we must keep same.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    May 13, 2012 9:06 p.m.

    On their face Christensen's ascertions are dead on. As I approach the end of my life I am most concerned about what I've done right and what I've done wrong as a parent and husband - no question. But does our system, i.e. capitalism, encourage the kinds of behaviors Chritensen defends? The answer is no. Consider the shady markets of financial derivitives which made so many bankers filthy rich, leaving a wrecked economy in their wake. These guys felt DRIVEN to do what they did because capitalism defines success as accumulation, and failure as poverty, or at least being less well off. I don't deny personal responsbility, but systems also matter.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    May 13, 2012 3:20 p.m.

    Looking forward to reading this book. He is a great writer and his other articles are great think-abouts. Go check out his website and click on the links to those articles. You won't be disappointed.

  • Utah Teacher Orem, UT
    May 13, 2012 12:33 p.m.

    I'm very interested in reading this book. One of the main reasons I chose to become a teacher was so that I could be there for all of those things mentioned in these articles. I knew I wouldn't get rich but I would be home when my kids are home and have the summer to spend with my wife and kids. It has been a good life and I'm happy with my choices. I love teaching and love what it brings to my family. I only wish we could get more men in the profession and that our legislature would see this as a way to bring stability to our families, state and neighborhoods.

    "How will you measure you life?" is a great question we all should ask.