1. The Author’s Backstory.
Clayton M. Christensen was born and raised in Salt Lake City Utah. He grew up as the second of eight siblings.
He was raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Days Saints and was an active member throughout his life.
In his younger years, Mr. Chritensen received three degrees from Brigham Young University (B.A.), Queen’s College, Oxford (M.Phil.), Harvard University (MBA) for a time-spanning 9 years (1970-1979), and he received a Doctorate degree from Harvard (DBA) in 1992.
He later became a full professor at Harvard University in a record time (6 years).
Throughout his life, he wore many hats, Father, Husband, CEO, Full-Time Missionary, Church Leader, Professor, etc.
He later said in his book ‘How Will You Measure Your Life‘ that the most important of these titles were the titles he held in his home as Husband and Father. He passed on January 23, 2020, at the age of 67.
2. Why did the author write the book?
I believe the author wrote this book in order to lay out the blueprint for us to manage ourselves more effectively. This blueprint will in turn help us to live fuller lives so that we can look back without regrets.
3. What is the Author’s Thesis?
The author’s thesis is that we can manage ourselves, our groups, and our organizations effectively if we follow the rules that govern living a purposeful life.
4. What is the Author’s Purpose?
The Author’s purpose is to share various insights, experiences, and situations that can help the reader understand the nature of managing oneself and also how to apply the knowledge to live more effectively.
5. What were two arguments the Author used in defense of his thesis?
Chapter 2 was entitled ‘Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey?’
This was one of my favorite chapters because it opened my eyes to how employees regularly pass off their work to supervisors and managers.
This blew my mind because I see it all the time in my corporate sales job.
Essentially, the metaphor ‘Whose got the monkey?’ translates to who currently bears the responsibility to accomplish the task at hand.
If an employee is unsure how to file a document properly and he goes to his supervisor for help, the supervisor, not fully aware of explain the task, takes on the responsibility in the hopes to figure it out later.
In this case, who got the monkey?…. The supervisor.
You can see if this happens enough times, it can really skew the work balance in the workplace, and the people affected will have a hard time actually focusing on their own tasks.
Even though this example was about the corporate world, I was still able to draw parallels to my own life in managing my time wisely.
Lesson learned: Don’t always agree to tasks that the other person could easily do themselves or learn to do on their own.
By doing this you will be able to focus on the things that you have to get done, thus being more effective overall.
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Chapter 4 was entitled ‘Manage your energy, not your time.’
In terms of effectiveness, this chapter is definitely at the top of my list.
To summarize the author encourages us to take care of our well-being and in turn, we will be many times more effective in accomplishing our tasks.
He shared 4 different areas of our well-being that we must attend to every single day to manage ourselves properly. These include:
And as we do, life will become something we conquer every day instead of simply getting by.
6. What was the Author’s Conclusion?
The last chapter of the book was entitled ‘Primal Leadership.’ To quickly summarise, a primal leader is anyone who has high emotional intelligence.
The chapter talks about how the mood of the leader trickles down to all departments of a business and ultimately affects the bottom line.
This idea of emotional intelligence I believe isn’t just applicable to business success, but also to succeed in all areas of life.
There is a saying that I love “Your attitude determines your altitude in life.” I am not sure who said it, but I totally agree with this saying.
7. What is my Conclusion about the Book?
In the Bonus article at the front of the book he poses three questions to ponder:
1. How can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career?
2. How can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness?
3. How can I be sure to stay out of jail?
Since reading the article and then reading the chapters of the book, I have pondered why he would start the book in such a manner.
The answer I came to is that in order for us to effectively govern ourselves and others, we have to first be at peace with ourselves, our situation and those around us.
Overall I thought starting the book this way was very effective.
A strength of this book was the many detailed stories that he included, many of which were corporate successes and failures.
I believe it was a strength because the author specialized in business and so the business stories were well utilized to defend the thesis. I was then able to draw parallels that could apply to my own life.
The title of this book is misleading because the majority of the contents were geared toward the management of groups and businesses.
Another weakness I found is a lack of witty writing and light humor. It reads like a textbook instead of a conversation, because of this it took me twice as long to finish it as opposed to other books I have read.
Contrast this writing style to the author Dean Graziozzi whose writing is basically like a very interesting conversation.
The intended audience is anyone currently looking to develop better self-managing habits, as well as, anyone in a position of leadership in an organization.
The book had some great points, but after when I finished reading it I didn’t feel an immense desire to change or even apply the contents.
In terms of content delivery, it lacked fluidity and humor, but I believe the information was very informative. So overall the book was very effective in content, but it lacked the energy to propel me to apply what I learned.
The contents were condensed, so it was not so easy to read.
WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT TO GET OUT OF THIS BOOK?
Expect to receive timeless advice on how to take care of your physical and mental well-being.
Many of his metaphors and examples came from business references. I found it great because it gave me insights into how to manage myself and how to navigate the corporate world, and I was also able to draw parallels to other areas of my life.
I would give this book a rating of 4.3/5.