1. The Author’s Backstory.
Clayton M. Christensen was a Professor of Business at Harvard University, where he wrote many books on self-improvement.
He is also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He is currently married with three children, living in Salt lake city, Utah.
2. Why did the author write the book?
Clayton Christensen wrote this book as a result of his observations from his university reunions at Harvard. He observed that even though members of his graduating class had bright futures, many of them made unethical decisions in their careers, which led to serious consequences.
So instead of progressing and changing the future, some ended up making bad decisions which unfortunately led to jail time.
He outlined in this book how we can avoid these negative consequences and become our best selves.
3. What is the Author’s thesis?
To avoid negative outcomes in our lives and live up to our full potential.
4. What is the Author’s purpose?
I believe the author’s purpose was to elaborate on the many ways that one can live their life as successfully as possible.
5. What was an argument the Author used in defense of his thesis?
Chapter 9 talks about the idea of ‘The invisible hand inside the family.’
In the family, you teach your children principles that you believe are moral and ethical to create respectable adults in society.
What most people don’t realize is that there is another teacher in the family. The invisible hand would be referred to as the culture that has been established in the home over several years.
This culture would guide all members to make decisions, whether good or bad.
Suppose the culture in the home is that every member of the family takes turns washing the dishes. The parents would not have to tell their children to wash them every time. They would feel deep down that it is something that they should do.
I believe this argument was good in its defense of the thesis because one way many people measure their lives is success in the home.
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6. What was the Author’s conclusion?
The author concluded that we would measure our lives by reflecting on the most meaningful things, for example, the time spent with one’s family or how well we were true to our most cherished beliefs.
A key piece of advice was not to live marginally, which means to make up our mind beforehand to live good principles 100% of the time, instead of only 80 or 90%.
He shares that if we compromise our values for even 1% out of 100%, we will soon be tempted to compromise it for 2%, then 5%, and before long, we will reach a place where we would never expect to be.
7. What is my conclusion about the book?
My conclusion regarding this book is that content-wise, I think it was great, but it did have a few weaknesses, in my opinion, that I would like to share.
The author leveraged a lot of his business expertise in elaborating many of his points.
He also shared experiences from other well-known businesses to illustrate his points, such as the relationship between Dell and Asus and why Dell is no longer making computers.
A strength I found was his ability to illustrate his points with real-world examples.
I found in many cases it was very informative about business success. I could draw many parallels to apply to my life as a young adult.
A weakness was that most of his arguments were quite general, he gave great advice on how I can improve in my day to day living with the people around me and in my business, but in many instances, I didn’t find the advice answering the question ‘How Will I Measure My Life?’.
I think the arguments were strong in content and elaboration but weak in focus on defending the thesis.
I believe the intended audience for this book would be young professionals who are just starting a family or starting a business.
The overall readability was good, but because each chapter didn’t build on the previous, I found myself changing my mental paradigm from chapter to chapter.
This made it difficult to use the arguments to paint a holistic view of the thesis.
WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT TO GET OUT OF THIS BOOK?
I think this book would benefit anyone who has a strong desire to improve and who is currently engaged in starting or scaling a business. I found it filled with much beneficial business administrative advice.
You should expect to get great advice from a wide range of self-help fields, with many examples from corporate successes and failures.
Overall I would give this book a 4.2/5.