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A self-help book that actually helps

Evan Koslow

Evan Koslow

After law school, it seems impossibly hard to find time to read anything other than client work, case law or the occasional journal article. But perhaps with the holidays here, you might be able to find some time to read something unrelated to law that still adds value. (Admittedly, this is the only time of year I manage to pick up a book.) Last spring, at my sister-in-law’s graduation, the keynote speaker mentioned a book that sounded intriguing: “How Will You Measure Your Life?” by Clayton M. Christensen.

Does it sound like a daunting guilt trip? Christensen’s speech-turned-guidebook very simply breaks down our most basic needs and motivators and reminds us how to prioritize.

This book not only helped me reflect on my legal career journey; more importantly, it validated how fortunate I am to have found truly meaningful work that is interesting and challenging and has allowed me to grow professionally.

Unlike many self-help books, I did not sense a note of condescension. The stories Christensen added helped put his suggestions into context. It reminded me of another favorite author of mine, Malcom Gladwell. I’d recommend this book as a great conversation piece if you’re struggling to make conversation at a holiday gathering – if you’re like me and prefer not to discuss work or politics.

I’ll leave you with some of my favorite thought-provoking messages from the book:

“Find something that you enjoy intrinsically, just for the sake of doing it, something that will challenge you but not too much. Then dive in and be patient.”

“Strategy almost always emerges from a combination of deliberate and unanticipated opportunities.”

“Self-esteem comes from achieving something important when it’s hard to do.”

Have you read a good book lately? Please tell me about it in the comments.

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