The life and times of Clayton Christensen

There are teachers who teach in classrooms. Then are teachers who stay with you for life, after the class is done, and their lives are over

Founding Fuel

[Photo by World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland (CC BY-SA)]

Dear friend,

When news that Clayton Christensen is dead made it to the public domain over the weekend, all of us in the team felt a sense of deep loss. He was undoubtedly one of the finest thinkers and teachers of our times. 

I was first introduced to his work many years ago by our co-founder Indrajit Gupta (IG). Christensen’s work opened up an altogether different world—on how to view the world, professionally and personally.

It didn’t take too long to understand why the world’s finest minds embraced everything he uttered. I wouldn’t be overstating it if I asserted, he wielded as much influence as the head of a state.

How could a management teacher possibly wield as much influence?

To answer that, IG reached out to our former colleague and friend Neelima Mahajan, now based in Hong Kong. She had first engaged with Christensen 15 years ago as a young reporter at The Times of India. Reading her tribute to him last night reminded me why I felt a sense of personal loss. 

Most teachers teach in classrooms. Then there are a few who stay with you even after they’ve stepped outside the classroom. They never stop learning and are generous with their learnings. By way of example, around this time last year, he published an essay on what he has learnt from 25 years of studying innovation that marries the professional and the personal.  

  1. Not all innovations are created equal.
  2. Data is not the phenomenon
  3. Management can be a noble profession
  4. Don’t reserve your best self only for your career
  5. God does not hire accountants

Not everyone can do this. May I urge you to read the essay and celebrate Clayton Christensen’s life and times with Neelima’s heartfelt tribute?

My very best,
Charles Assisi
For Team Founding Fuel

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