Book Review: How will you measure your life?
Written: 01-11-2013

If you would have told me 20 years ago that I’d be interested in owning a business, I would had said you are freaking crazy. I saw my parents work days, nights, weekends, holidays and year round to make A-1 Air Care a viable enterprise that could keep the family’s bills paid. I had a love for being active, playing sports, bouncing basketballs and running down the runway to time my mile time (if you ever tried to land a plane at the Broken Bow, NE airport you likely saw me running around somewhere).

By the time I was heading to college, I thought I’d likely be a physical therapist or coach high school sports and become a teacher. I don’t know when, where or how it happened but somewhere around my junior year of college I got the idea that I wanted to start an internet business that pulled together different allied health professionals and serve people (it was 1999 / 2000 that year so I wasn’t alone in this thought). My drive to create a really great business started there and hasn’t stopped. The fact is that I’ve become really good at some things, but really bad at some things too.

The book, “How will you measure your life?” is a very interesting book because it takes business theories that Clayton Christensen has developed and then takes those theories and applies them to your life. It’s a positive way to approach the question, for me, because at this moment in time I appear to be more keen to view things through a business lens than a personal self actualization process. There are some interesting, almost Lean Startup, concepts in the book that are then taken to the personal level.

My best thoughts after reflecting on the book a little are this: In business when things don’t work out, what happens? For those of us that love the idea of creating, we start again. In our personal lives, at least at the end, there’s not the same ‘do over’ we may get in business; therefore use the same keen awareness and evaluation processes that you may dedicate to a business and at least be that diligent and intentional when managing your life.

Here are my top ten highlights taken from my Kindle notes:


People often think that the best way to predict the future is by collecting as much data as possible before making a decision. But this is like driving a car looking only at the rearview mirror—because data is only available about the past.


But so much of what’s become popular thinking isn’t grounded in anything more than a series of anecdotes. Solving the challenges in your life requires a deep understanding of what causes what to happen.


The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. —Steve Jobs


All of these factors—priorities, balancing plans with opportunities, and allocating your resources—combine to create your strategy.


“What about doing something important, or something you really love? Isn’t that why you came here?” “Don’t worry,” came back the answer. “This is just for a couple of years. I’ll pay off my loans, get myself in a good financial position, then I’ll go chase my real dreams.

They’d managed to expand their lifestyle to fit the salaries they were bringing in, and it was really difficult to wind that back. They’d made choices early on because of the hygiene factors, not true motivators, and they couldn’t find their way out of that trap.


In my assessment, it is frightfully easy for us to lose our sense of the difference between what brings money and what causes happiness. You must be careful not to confuse correlation with causality in assessing the happiness we can find in different jobs.


This is another way of saying that if you are in these circumstances, experiment in life. As you learn from each experience, adjust. Then iterate quickly. Keep going through this process until your strategy begins to click.


Because if the decisions you make about where you invest your blood, sweat, and tears are not consistent with the person you aspire to be, you’ll never become that person.

A string of quotes, not taken in perfect sequence but fitting a nice theme

The same is true in our relationships: we go into them thinking about what we want rather than what is important to the other person. Changing your perspective is a powerful way to deepen your relationships.
More important, the jobs that your spouse is trying to do are often very different from the jobs that you think she should want to do.

A husband may be convinced that he is the selfless one, and also convinced that his wife is being self-centered because she doesn’t even notice everything he is giving her—and vice versa. This is exactly the interaction between the customers and the marketers of so many companies, too.

I deeply believe that the path to happiness in a relationship is not just about finding someone who you think is going to make you happy. Rather, the reverse is equally true: the path to happiness is about finding someone who you want to make happy, someone whose happiness is worth devoting yourself to.

But you have to go beyond understanding what job your spouse needs you to do. You have to do that job. You’ll have to devote your time and energy to the effort, be willing to suppress your own priorities and desires, and focus on doing what is required to make the other person happy.


The marginal cost of doing something “just this once” always seems to be negligible, but the full cost will typically be much higher. Yet unconsciously, we will naturally employ the marginal-cost doctrine in our personal lives. A voice in our head says, “Look, I know that as a general rule, most people shouldn’t do this. But in this particular extenuating circumstance, just this once, it’s okay.”

Interview he did with Forbes


Here’s a Tedx presentation that he did presenting these ideas: