When I’ve chatted with people in the past about how to plan/manage their careers, I would often to refer to the book What Color is Your Parachute as my go-to recommendation, as it’s packed with great resources (a great friend of mine referred me to its Flower Exercise many years ago). But recently I’ve been listening to Clayton Christensen’s (who recently passed away) How Will You Measure Your Life? (Harvard Business Review has an article about the book here), and it’s now going to be at the top of the list, along with What Color is Your Parachute as a recommendation for people to invest the time in reading.
Christensen is famous as an Harvard Business School profession who wrote extensively about disruption, and I’ve enjoyed his writings on that topic; but this book is a great read in a very different direction. This book is focused on asking great questions about how to plan and run your life, with a focus on how to measure ‘success.’
He starts the book talking about how interesting it was to see at school reunions how different people’s lives evolves, and how they prioritizes their time and energy.
He shared some great concepts to be thinking about through your career like:
- Deliberate vs. Emergent Strategies: The different between having a clear goal and working toward it vs. being open to new opportunities and seeing where they take you
- Identify Assumptions: Before making a big decision, thinking about ‘What would have to be true for this to success?’, where you invest time in thinking about what assumptions/dependencies are inherent in this thing you’re considering (similar to investing time in a pre-mortem)
- Resource Allocation: How will you invest your time and energy? Be careful not to invest it only where short-term feedback/gains show up (such as work) and not invest where it takes a while to see feedback/gains (e.g. relationships with your spouse, children, friends)
I’m only 40% through the book, but it’s already so good I have to share it.