The Best 13 Books on Clayton M. Christensen
A Wall Street Journal and Businessweek bestseller. Named by Fast Company as one of the most influential leadership books in its Leadership Hall of Fame. An innovation classic. From Steve Jobs to Jeff Bezos, Clay Christensen’s work continues to underpin today’s most innovative leaders and organizations.
The bestselling classic on disruptive innovation, by renowned author Clayton M. Christensen.
His work is cited by the world’s best-known thought leaders, from Steve Jobs to Malcolm Gladwell. In this classic bestseller—one of the most influential business books of all time—innovation expert Clayton Christensen shows how even the most outstanding companies can do everything right—yet still lose market leadership.
Christensen explains why most companies miss out on new waves of innovation. No matter the industry, he says, a successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know how and when to abandon traditional business practices.
Offering both successes and failures from leading companies as a guide, The Innovator’s Dilemma gives you a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.
Sharp, cogent, and provocative—and consistently noted as one of the most valuable business ideas of all time—The Innovator’s Dilemma is the book no manager, leader, or entrepreneur should be without.
“Absolutely brilliant. Clayton Christensen provides an insightful analysis of changing technology and its importance to a company’s future success.”
—Michael R. Bloomberg
“This book ought to chill any executive who feels bulletproof —and inspire entrepreneurs aiming their guns.”
The Innovator’s Dilemma is the revolutionary business book that has forever changed corporate America. Based on a truly radical idea—that great companies can fail precisely because they do everything right—this Wall Street Journal, Business Week and New York Times Business bestseller is one of the most provocative and important business books ever written. Entrepreneurs, managers, and CEOs ignore its wisdom and its warnings at their great peril.
How do companies know how to grow? How can they create products that they are sure customers want to buy? Can innovation be more than a game of hit and miss? Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has the answer. A generation ago, Christensen revolutionized business with his groundbreaking theory of disruptive innovation. Now, he goes further, offering powerful new insights.
After years of research, Christensen and his co-authors have come to one critical conclusion: our long held maxim--that understanding the customer is the crux of innovation--is wrong. Customers don't buy products or services; they "hire" them to do a job. Understanding customers does not drive innovation success, he argues. Understanding customer jobs does. The "Jobs to Be Done" approach can be seen in some of the world's most respected companies and fast-growing startups, including Amazon, Intuit, Uber, Airbnb, and Chobani yogurt, to name just a few. But this book is not about celebrating these successes--it's about predicting new ones.
Christensen, Hall, Dillon, and Duncan contend that by understanding what causes customers to "hire" a product or service, any business can improve its innovation track record, creating products that customers not only want to hire, but that they'll pay premium prices to bring into their lives. Jobs theory offers new hope for growth to companies frustrated by their hit and miss efforts.
This book carefully lays down the authors' provocative framework, providing a comprehensive explanation of the theory and why it is predictive, how to use it in the real world--and, most importantly, how not to squander the insights it provides.
A seminal work on disruption—for everyone confronting the growth paradox.
For readers of the bestselling The Innovator’s Dilemma—and beyond—this definitive work will help anyone trying to transform their business right now.
In The Innovator’s Solution, Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor expand on the idea of disruption, explaining how companies can and should become disruptors themselves. This classic work shows just how timely and relevant these ideas continue to be in today’s hyper-accelerated business environment.
Christensen and Raynor give advice on the business decisions crucial to achieving truly disruptive growth and propose guidelines for developing your own disruptive growth engine. The authors identify the forces that cause managers to make bad decisions as they package and shape new ideas—and offer new frameworks to help create the right conditions, at the right time, for a disruption to succeed. This is a must-read for all senior managers and business leaders responsible for innovation and growth, as well as members of their teams.
Based on in-depth research and theories tested in hundreds of companies across many industries, The Innovator’s Solution is a necessary addition to any innovation library—and an essential read for entrepreneurs and business builders worldwide.
In the spring of 2010, Harvard Business School’s graduating class asked HBS professor Clay Christensen to address them—but not on how to apply his principles and thinking to their post-HBS careers. The students wanted to know how to apply his wisdom to their personal lives. He shared with them a set of guidelines that have helped him find meaning in his own life, which led to this now-classic article. Although Christensen’s thinking is rooted in his deep religious faith, these are strategies anyone can use.
Since 1922, Harvard Business Review has been a leading source of breakthrough ideas in management practice. The Harvard Business Review Classics series now offers you the opportunity to make these seminal pieces a part of your permanent management library. Each highly readable volume contains a groundbreaking idea that continues to shape best practices and inspire countless managers around the world.
THE BOOK THAT’S CHANGING THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION
“A brilliant teacher, Christensen brings clarity to a muddled and chaotic world of education.”
―Jim Collins, bestselling author of Good to Great
“A terrific read; it must become a blueprint for educational transformation.”
―Joel Klein, former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education
Studies in neuroscience reveal that the way we learn doesn’t always match up with the way we are taught. To stay competitive―academically, economically, and technologically―we need to apply the proven principles of disruptive innovation to our educational system. Disrupting Class will show you how to:
• Help more students succeed through customized learning
• Meet the demand for new technology, especially computers, in student-centric classrooms
• Use disruptive innovation to circumvent roadblocks that have stood in the way of reform
• Compete in the global classroom―and help students get ahead in the global market
Filled with fresh and surprising ideas, outside-the-box strategies, and straight-A success stories, Disrupting Class will make you rethink your understanding of intelligence, reevaluate your current school program, and reinvigorate your commitment to learning. The future is now. Class is in session.
In The Innovator’s DNA, authors Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and bestselling author Clayton Christensen (The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution, How Will You Measure Your Life?) build on what we know about disruptive innovation to show how individuals can develop the skills necessary to move progressively from idea to impact.
By identifying behaviors of the world’s best innovators—from leaders at Amazon and Apple to those at Google, Skype, and Virgin Group—the authors outline five discovery skills that distinguish innovative entrepreneurs and executives from ordinary managers: Associating, Questioning, Observing, Networking, and Experimenting.
Once you master these competencies (the authors provide a self-assessment for rating your own innovator’s DNA), the authors explain how to generate ideas, collaborate to implement them, and build innovation skills throughout the organization to result in a competitive edge. This innovation advantage will translate into a premium in your company’s stock price—an innovation premium—which is possible only by building the code for innovation right into your organization’s people, processes, and guiding philosophies.
Practical and provocative, The Innovator’s DNA is an essential resource for individuals and teams who want to strengthen their innovative prowess.
- Offers new ways forward to deal with curriculum, faculty issues, enrollment, retention, graduation rates, campus facility usage, and a host of other urgent issues in higher education
- Discusses a strategic model to ensure economic vitality at the traditional university
- Contains novel insights into the kind of change that is necessary to move institutions of higher education forward in innovative ways
This book uncovers how the traditional university survives by breaking with tradition, but thrives by building on what it's done best.
Q&A with the Authors
Why did you write The Innovative University?
Given our combined expertise in the study of business innovation and working within the university setting, we decided to write The Innovative University to share some ideas about what innovation could make possible in higher education. We wanted to show how new strategies, many of them driven by online technology, make it possible to serve more students at lower cost while also increasing quality and improving the learning experience--something we saw in practice within our own university homes. Since then, the world has moved into a major economic downturn. Slow economic growth, high government and household debt, rising college tuition, declining graduation rates, and growing competition from the rapidly growing for-profit higher education sector combined to create a renewed sense of urgency for our message. We could see how the same online learning technologies that can benefit traditional institutions can also disrupt them. So, our message became cautiously optimistic. Online learning, we believe, will either disrupt traditional universities and colleges or create opportunities for them to serve more students and lead the country to greater prosperity. It depends on whether they cling to a model that has changed little in the past 150 years or embrace learning innovations made possible by new technology.
What forces are threatening traditional universities, and why does preserving them matter?
Traditional universities are an indispensable cornerstone of society and culture. The college experience is transformative for so many people, and it is an experience people cannot get elsewhere.
But while we can’t afford to lose the traditional college experience, we also can't afford to support it on its current trajectory. In their race to constantly make themselves bigger and better, colleges and university have steadily driven up cost. They've lost focus on their once-modest missions and are now unsustainably overstretched and overcommitted. The economic downturn is exposing them, as seen by the increasing number of students who are jumping ship to alternative forms of higher education like community colleges, for-profit universities, technical institutes and online degree programs.
We assert that colleges and universities must break with tradition and find innovative, less costly ways of performing their uniquely valuable functions, allowing them to once again become responsive to the needs of learners.
Why do you advocate for colleges and universities to embrace online education?
Online technology makes a college or university vastly more attractive to a wide subset of students. It gives many people a second chance at learning – i.e. those who cannot afford a traditional college education, those who do not have the flexibility to take part in a full plate of coursework, and late bloomers or dropouts who have fallen behind and now have the chance to catch up.
But online learning doesn't just offer cheaper education for the masses. It improves the student learning experience across the spectrum by allowing remedial to elite students to learn at their own pace and on their own timetable. Students can receive a fully customized education adapted to their own individual learning style, something that even the world's best one-on-one tutor would have trouble systematically emulating. Students also benefit from a full array of choices about where, when, what and how they learn. And they can access the best teachers and information faster, connect with more global networks, and all in all consume a much more attractive produce. In addition, online learning is a cost-saver to the university, which saves on the expense of building and managing a brick-and-mortar facility.
Combine the lower cost of delivery with the lower cost of attendance, and it’s clear that online learning is a major cost advantage. Therefore, we urge traditional colleges and universities to adopt these technologies.
What do the histories of Harvard and BYU-Idaho show us about the future of higher education?
The stories of the development, evolution and continuing innovation of Harvard and BYU-Idaho show that universities can prosper if they are very thoughtful about what they choose to do. Harvard has always made choices to ensure that it serves the students and communities it promises to serve at very high quality, and because it has the necessary resources, its model is sustainable. It isn’t an imitator. BYU-Idaho is similar. Although it has much more limited resources, BYU-Idaho has decided which constituencies it wants to serve and how to capably serve them, ultimately succeeding at providing higher quality education at lower cost. The overarching message for university leaders is that you can and must change your university “DNA.” You can and must make clear choices and innovate.
Why is now the right time to take a hard look at our education system and ensure we plan for a competitive future? The new economic and social environment presents some big sticks, but even bigger carrots. Healthcare obligations have squeezed the ability of states to fund higher education. Only deficit spending – which can’t continue at the current rate – has allowed the federal government to sustain its student financial aid and research funding. Simultaneously, risk-free investment rates of return have fallen, creating a funding problem for even well-endowed private schools. On top of that, for-profit educators have the capacity, if they choose, to lower their prices to attract traditional college students in greater numbers. Disruption of the old model of higher education is imminent.
Fortunately, the need for higher education has never been greater. The bursting of the housing bubble is just one indicator of the vulnerability of the middle class. Cheap credit isn't enough to raise or even maintain their standard of living in this global competitive environment. We need to provide much broader access to excellent higher education. The institutions that find ways to serve more students at high quality and affordable cost can control their destiny rather than be disrupted. In the process they may be able to work the kinds of miracles they did in the post-Civil War and World War II eras.
To date these tools have helped entrepreneurs, designers, and software developers manage uncertainty—through cheap and rapid experiments that systematically lower failure rates and risk. But many managers and leaders struggle to apply these powerful tools within their organizations, as they often run counter to traditional managerial thinking and practice.
Authors Nathan Furr and Jeff Dyer wrote this book to address that very problem. Following the breakout success of The Innovator’s DNA—which Dyer wrote with Hal Gregersen and bestselling author Clay Christensen to provide a framework for generating ideas—this book shows how to make those ideas actually happen, to commercialize them for success.
Based on their research inside corporations and successful start-ups, Furr and Dyer developed the innovator’s method, an end-to-end process for creating, refining, and bringing ideas to market. They show when and how to apply the tools of their method, how to adapt them to your business, and how to answer commonly asked questions about the method itself, including: How do we know if this idea is worth pursuing? Have we found the right solution? What is the best business model for this new offering? This book focuses on the “how”—how to test, how to validate, and how to commercialize ideas with the lean, design, and agile techniques successful start-ups use.
Whether you’re launching a start-up, leading an established one, or simply working to get a new product off the ground in an existing company, this book is for you.
The path to your professional success starts with a critical look in the mirror.
If you read nothing else on managing yourself, read these 10 articles (plus the bonus article “How Will You Measure Your Life?” by Clayton M. Christensen). We've combed through hundreds of Harvard Business Review articles to select the most important ones to help you maximize yourself.
HBR's 10 Must Reads on Managing Yourself will inspire you to:
- Stay engaged throughout your 50+-year work life
- Tap into your deepest values
- Solicit candid feedback
- Replenish physical and mental energy
- Balance work, home, community, and self
- Spread positive energy throughout your organization
- Rebound from tough times
- Decrease distractibility and frenzy
- Delegate and develop employees' initiative
A groundbreaking prescription for health care reform--from a legendary leader in innovation . . .
Our health care system is in critical condition. Each year, fewer Americans can afford it, fewer businesses can provide it, and fewer government programs can promise it for future generations.
We need a cure, and we need it now.
Harvard Business School’s Clayton M. Christensen―whose bestselling The Innovator’s Dilemma revolutionized the business world―presents The Innovator’s Prescription, a comprehensive analysis of the strategies that will improve health care and make it affordable.
Christensen applies the principles of disruptive innovation to the broken health care system with two pioneers in the field―Dr. Jerome Grossman and Dr. Jason Hwang. Together, they examine a range of symptoms and offer proven solutions.
YOU’LL DISCOVER HOW
- “Precision medicine” reduces costs and makes good on the promise of personalized care
- Disruptive business models improve quality, accessibility, and affordability by changing the way hospitals and doctors work
- Patient networks enable better treatment of chronic diseases
- Employers can change the roles they play in health care to compete effectively in the era of globalization
- Insurance and regulatory reforms stimulate disruption in health care