How will you measure your life? – Book Summary, Notes & Highlights


This book challenged me to think about my own life choices and how I'm prioritising my work, relationships, and other goals.

By applying business theory to our personal lives, Christensen shows us that success is more than just hard work. It’s also about finding meaning, maintaining healthy relationships, and being happy.

๐Ÿš€ The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. Achieving more means finding a job that motivates us and spending time on meaningful goals.
  2. The worst thing we can do is neglect our friends and family, as our relationships are our biggest source of happiness.
  3. We should allocate our resources – like our time, energy, and talent – on the tasks that bring us closer to our long-term goals.

๐ŸŽจ Impressions

This book challenged me to think about my own life choices and how I’m prioritising my work, relationships, and other goals. It’s packed full of great examples from the world of business that we can apply to make our lives better.

๐Ÿ‘ค Who Should Read It?

I’d highly recommend this to anyone who’s interested in learning about success, whether in business or in life. But, you’ll probably enjoy it if:

  • You’re not enjoying your job or you don’t find it fulfilling.
  • You’re not 100% happy with your life and trying to find your purpose.
  • You think that thereโ€™s more to life than hard work.
  • You enjoy business or self-help books.

โ˜˜๏ธ How the Book Changed Me

How my life / behaviour / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.

  • It made me appreciate my relationships and some important goals I’ve been neglecting.
  • Working as a doctor is something that motivates me and I need to find a way to bring it back into my life (at least part-time). Whenever I finish a shift I’m always like “wow, that was a challenge, but I feel like I learnt a lot and made a meaningful contribution to someone’s life”. This is super motivational and I miss it.
  • I decided toย write out my goals and track them properly. As part of a new monthly series I’m going to update my public journal about the various goals I’m working towards and make sure I’m allocating my resources to those things that give me the most rewarding outcome.

โœ๏ธ My Top 3 Quotes

  • How you allocate your resources is where the rubber meets the road. Real strategy – in companies and in our lives – is created through hundreds of every day decisions about where we spend our resources. As youโ€™re living your life from day to day, how do you make sure youโ€™re heading in the right direction? Watch where your resources flow. If theyโ€™re not supporting the strategy youโ€™ve decided upon, then youโ€™re not implementing that strategy at all.
  • The theory of motivation suggests you need to ask yourself a different set of questions than most of us are used to asking. Is this work meaningful to me? Is this job going to give me a chance to develop? Am I going to learn new things? Will I have an opportunity for recognition and achievement? Am I going to be given responsibility? These are the things that will truly motivate you. Once you get this right, the more measurable aspects of your job will fade in importance.
  • Work can bring you a sense of fulfilment – but it pales in comparison to the enduring happiness you can find in the intimate relationships that you cultivate with your family and close friends.

๐Ÿ“’ Summary + Notes

  1. ๐Ÿงญ Theories are powerful tools. Without a plan or a theory weโ€™re at sea without a sextant. Good theory helps people steer to good decisions – not just in business, but in life, too.
  2. ๐Ÿงฎ We’re more likely to find success if we’re calculating in how we plan our lives but allow enough flexibility in our plans for unexpected moments of serendipity.
  3. ๐Ÿงช Our initial strategies are rarely correct. Success relies on experimenting to find what works.
  4. โš–๏ธ We have to balance the pursuit of aspirations and goals with taking advantage of unanticipated opportunities. Managing this part of the strategy process is often the difference between success and failure for companies; itโ€™s true for our careers, too.
  5. ๐Ÿง  We succeed in the parts of our lives we optimise for.
  6. ๐Ÿ”‘ How we allocate our own resources can make our life turn out to be exactly as we hope or very different from what we intend โ† this is key
  7. โณ We need to constantly allocate our resources (such as our time, energy, and talent) in alignment with the long-term goals that give us the most rewarding outcome.
  8. ๐Ÿ•ณ Without a purpose, life can become hollow.
  9. ๐Ÿงฝ ‘Hygiene’ and ‘motivation’ are our 2 core needs for job satisfaction – Hygiene factors are things like status and salary. Motivation factors are the aspects of our jobs that challenge us and offer us opportunities for personal growth.
  10. ๐Ÿ‘ We need to be honest with our actions and uphold strong moral principles when faced with difficult decisions.
  11. ๐Ÿงโ€โ™‚๏ธ Decide what you stand for. And then stand for it all the time.
  12. ๐Ÿ™…โ€โ™‚๏ธ We often rationalise a bad decision by telling ourselves we’ll do it “just this once”. Don’t do this. We’ll just keep making bad decisions harming our long-term goals.
  13. ๐Ÿ’ฏ Itโ€™s easier to stick to our principles 100% of the time than 98% of the time.
  14. โค๏ธ Investing more time in our relationships and building deeper connections with loved ones is the quickest way to enrich our lives and be happier.
  15. ๐Ÿ‘ซ It’s easy for us to not prioritise our friends and family as we think they’ll always be there for us. But that’s the wrong way to look at it. We have to invest in relationships long before we need them.
  16. ๐Ÿ˜„ Happy friendships and marriages are about focusing on other people’s happiness. Ask: “what job does my partner/friend most need me to do?”
  17. ๐ŸŽ“ We should be educating our children by giving them the tools to teach themselves. This means giving our kids the opportunity to face new challenges, the independence to find their own solutions, and having the freedom to fail.
  18. ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ Don’t outsource parenting to someone else. If our children get their values from other people, whose children are they?
  19. ๐Ÿ˜‡ Donโ€™t worry about the status weโ€™ve achieved; worry about the individuals weโ€™ve helped become better people.
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