Designing Your Life: How To Build A Well-lived, Joyful Life by Bill BurnettDesigning Your Life: How To Build A Well-lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett

Designing Your Life: How To Build A Well-lived, Joyful Life

byBill Burnett, Dave Evans

Hardcover | September 20, 2016

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#1 New York Times Bestseller 

An inspiring and thought-provoking graduation gift: At last, a book that shows you how to build—design—a life you can thrive in, at any age or stage 

Designers create worlds and solve problems using design thinking. Look around your office or home—at the tablet or smartphone you may be holding or the chair you are sitting in. Everything in our lives was designed by someone. And every design starts with a problem that a designer or team of designers seeks to solve.

In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.


"Designing Your Life walks readers through the process of building a satisfying, meaningful life by approaching the challenge the way a designer would. Experimentation. Wayfinding. Prototyping. Constant iteration. You should read the book. Everyone else will." 
—Daniel Pink, bestselling author of Drive
 
“This [is] the career book of the next decade and . . . the go-to book that is read as a rite of passage whenever someone is ready to create a life they love.”
—David Kelley, Founder of IDEO

“An empowering book based on their popular class of the same name at Stanford University . . . Perhaps the book’s most important lesson is that the only failure is settling for a life that makes one unhappy. With useful fact-finding exercises, an empathetic tone, and sensible advice, this book will easily earn a place among career-finding classics.”
Publishers Weekly
BILL BURNETT is the executive director of the Design Program at Stanford. DAVE EVANS is an adjunct lecturer in the Product Design Program at Stanford, a management consultant, and a co-founder of Electronic Artswww.designingyour.life
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Title:Designing Your Life: How To Build A Well-lived, Joyful LifeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 8.5 × 6.2 × 1 inPublished:September 20, 2016Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1101875321

ISBN - 13:9781101875322

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exactly What I Needed! This has been one of the best books I've read in years. When you're undecided in what you want to do with your life, this book helps navigate you in the right direction. Sort of like a workshop, you work through exercises as you go. Don't read this book unless you're willing to put in the work!
Date published: 2018-08-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inspirational! This is a great book to read especially if you are in the stage of your life for a career change. It really changes the way you think of how you are living your life and that you have more control of your life then you think.
Date published: 2018-02-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic for the Undecided I was at a point in my life where I wasn't sure about if what I was doing was enriching or fulfilling enough. This book had a lot of activities that I worked on that helped me gain better clarity.
Date published: 2018-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! Great book for anyone that is re-evaluating their life/career choices and trying to figure out how to tap into what they are really curious about and want more of! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from what ever 20 something needs! the day after having a conversation with my best friend that no one at university mentioned the word "career" to us she read an article about these authors and sent me the link.I bought it and loved it so much that I bought her a copy for her birthday! I'm already working out a plan to transition to a new career, one that aligns with what truly makes me happy and utilizes my talents.
Date published: 2017-01-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from pretty good some useful chapters in regards to different ways of refocusing and finding joy and purpose in your daily life but too much emphasis on using these tools to getting a dream job.
Date published: 2017-01-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Yay! I love books like this and this one definitely makes you feel good after reading it.
Date published: 2016-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! One of the best books I've found for figuring out what to do with your life/career. I found the authors' activities and design process to be fun, useful, and actionable.
Date published: 2016-12-07

Read from the Book

Designers imagine things that don’t yet exist, and then they build them, and then the world changes. You can do this in your own life. You can imagine a career and a life that don’t exist; you can build that future you, and as a result your life will change. If your life is pretty perfect as is, life design can still help you make it an even better version of the life you currently love living. When you think like a designer, when you are willing to ask the questions, when you realize that life is always about designing something that has never existed before, then your life can sparkle in a way that you could never have imagined. That is, if you like sparkles. It’s your design, after all. What Do We Know? In Stanford’s Design Program, we have taught more than a thousand students design thinking and how to design their lives. And we’ll let you in on a secret—no one has ever failed our class. In fact, it’s impossible to flunk. We have more than sixty years of combined teaching experience, and we have taught this approach to high school students, college students, graduate students, Ph.D. students, twenty-somethings, mid-career executives, and retirees wanting an “encore” career. As teachers, we have always guaranteed our students “office hours for life.” This means that if you take a class from us we are there for you, forever. Period. We’ve had students come back to us over the years since they’ve graduated, and they’ve told us how the tools, ideas, and mind-sets that we teach have made a difference for them. We’re quite hopeful—and, frankly, pretty confident— that these ideas can make a difference for you, too. But don’t take our word for it. Stanford is a very rigorous place. Though anecdotes are nice, they don’t count for much in academia. To speak authoritatively, you need data. Our class is one of the few design thinking classes that have been scientifically studied and have proved to make a difference for students on a number of important measures. Two doctoral students did their dissertations on the course, and what they found was pretty exciting.2 They found that those who took our class were better able to conceive of and pursue a career they really wanted; they had fewer dysfunctional beliefs (those pesky ideas that hold you back and that just aren’t true) and an increased ability to generate new ideas for their life design (increasing their ideation capability). All of these measures were “statistically significant,” which, in nongeek-speak, means that the ideas and exercises we lay out in our course and are going to walk you through in this book have been proven effective; they can help you to figure out what you want and show you how to get it. But let’s be perfectly clear right from the start. Science or no science, this is all highly personal stuff. We can give you some tools, some ideas, some exercises, but we can’t figure it all out for you. We can’t give you your insights, change your perspective, and provide you with nonstop “aha” moments, all in ten easy steps. What we can tell you is that if you actually use the tools and do the life design exercises, you will generate the insights you need to have. Because here’s the big truth: there are many versions of you, and they are all “right.” And life design will help you live into whatever version of you is now playing at the Cineplex. Remember, there are no wrong answers, and we’re not grading you. We will suggest you do some exercises in this book, but there are no answers in the back to tell you how you did. We’ve added a recap of the exercises at the end of each chapter that has them—a Try Stuff box—because we suggest that you, well, try stuff. That’s what designers do. We’re not measuring you against anyone, and you shouldn’t measure yourself against anyone, either. We’re here to co-create with you. Think of us as part of your own personal design team. In fact, we suggest you go out and get a design team right off the bat—a group of people who will read the book with you and do the exercises alongside you, a collaborative team in which you support one another in your pursuit of a well-designed life. We’ll talk about this more later in the book, and by all means you should feel free to read it on your own first. Many people think that designers are lone geniuses, working in solitude and waiting for a flash of inspiration to show them the solution to their design problem. Nothing could be further from the truth. There may be some problems, such as the design of a stool or a new set of children’s blocks, that are simple enough to be tackled by an individual, but in today’s highly technical world, almost every problem requires a design team. Design thinking takes this idea even further and suggests that the best results come from radical collaboration. Radical collaboration works on the principle that people with very different backgrounds will bring their idiosyncratic technical and human experiences to the team. This increases the chance that the team will have empathy for those who will use what they are designing, and that the collision of different backgrounds will generate truly unique solutions. This is proved over and over again in d. school classes at Stanford, where graduate students create teams of business, law, engineering, education, and medical students that come up with breakthrough innovations all the time. The glue that holds these teams together is design thinking, the human-centered approach to design that takes advantage of their different backgrounds to spur collaboration and creativity. Typically, none of the students have any design background when they enroll in our classes, and all of the teams struggle at first to be productive. They have to learn the mind-sets of a designer—especially radical collaboration and being mindful of process. But once that happens, they discover that their abilities as a team far exceed what any individual can do, and their creative confidence explodes. Hundreds of successful student projects and innovative companies, such as D-Rev and Embrace,3 have come from this process, and are proof that collaboration is the way design gets done today. So be a genius at your life design; just don’t think you have to be one of those lone geniuses. Think Like a Designer Before you can do life design, you need to learn to think like a designer. We’ll explain a few simple ways to do this, but first you need to understand one really big point: Designers don’t think their way forward. Designers build their way forward. What does that mean? It means you are not just going to be dreaming up a lot of fun fantasies that have no relationship to the real world—or the real you. You are going to build things (we call them prototypes), try stuff, and have a lot of fun in the process. Want a career change? This book will help you make that change, but not by sitting around trying to decide what that change is going to be. We’re going to help you think like a designer and build your future, prototype by prototype. We’re going to help you approach your own life design challenges with the same kind of curiosity and the same kind of creativity that resulted in the invention of the printing press, the lightbulb, and the Internet.  Our focus is mainly on jobs and careers, because, let’s face it, we spend most of the hours of our days, and the days of our lives, at work. Work can be a daily source of enormous joy and meaning, or it can be an endless grind and waste of hours spent trying to white-knuckle our way through the misery of it all until the weekend comes. A well-designed life is not a life of drudgery. You weren’t put on this earth to work eight hours a day at a job you hate until the time comes to die. That may sound a bit melodramatic, but many people tell us that this is a good description of their lives. And even those who are lucky enough to find a career they love often find that they are frustrated and have a hard time designing a life that is balanced. It’s time to start thinking differently—about everything.

Bookclub Guide

#1 New York Times Bestseller  An inspiring and thought-provoking graduation gift: At last, a book that shows you how to build—design—a life you can thrive in, at any age or stage  Designers create worlds and solve problems using design thinking. Look around your office or home—at the tablet or smartphone you may be holding or the chair you are sitting in. Everything in our lives was designed by someone. And every design starts with a problem that a designer or team of designers seeks to solve. In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise. "Designing Your Life walks readers through the process of building a satisfying, meaningful life by approaching the challenge the way a designer would. Experimentation. Wayfinding. Prototyping. Constant iteration. You should read the book. Everyone else will."  —Daniel Pink, bestselling author of Drive   “This [is] the career book of the next decade and . . . the go-to book that is read as a rite of passage whenever someone is ready to create a life they love.” —David Kelley, Founder of IDEO “An empowering book based on their popular class of the same name at Stanford University . . . Perhaps the book’s most important lesson is that the only failure is settling for a life that makes one unhappy. With useful fact-finding exercises, an empathetic tone, and sensible advice, this book will easily earn a place among career-finding classics.” —Publishers Weekly1. In the introduction, the authors point out that only 27 percent of college graduates have a career related to their majors. What did you think when you read that statistic? Are you among the 27 percent?2. The concept of “reframing”—pivoting your perspective to address a perceived problem—plays an important role in this book. What experiences have you had with reframing, either in your career or in your personal life?3. When discussing the role of a designer, the authors say, “Designers don’t think their way forward. Designers build their way forward” (page xxv). Until you read this book, had you been mostly thinking or mostly building?4. Did you perform all the exercises in the book? Which ones did you find most thought provoking?5. On page 26, the authors write, “Designing something changes the future that is possible.” What does this mean to you?6. Which was a greater challenge while building your compass: describing your Workview or describing your Lifeview?7. The authors say that the process of reconciling Workview and Lifeview often leads to the biggest “aha” moments (page 37). What became clear to you?8. Have you ever experienced “flow,” the feeling of complete engagement? If so, when?9. On page 67, the authors write, “There is no one idea for your life. There are many lives you could live happily and productively.” Have you ever thought this way before? How many lives did you imagine for yourself while reading this book? What was the most surprising connection you made in your mind map?10. When you created your Odyssey Plans, which one set your heart to racing? Was it a new discovery for you?11. What was the most surprising connection you made in your mind map?12. Are you discussing this book with your Life Design Team? If you haven’t assembled one yet, what’s stopping you?13. Chapter 6 is devoted to prototyping: asking questions, uncovering hidden biases, iterating rapidly, and creating momentum. Were you familiar with this concept before reading the book? What aspects of your life have you prototyped?14. Did you hold a brainstorming session? What was your most successful question? How many ideas did you generate?15. What is the difference between pursuing a job and pursuing an offer? In your own life, which do you generally do?16. On page 155, the authors talk about “pursuing latent wonderfulness.” How would you define that concept?17. What did you learn from the jam study described on pages 161 and 162?18. The notion of failure as a useful thing comes up frequently in the book, and particular in chapter 10. In your own life, how have you “failed forward”? 19. Until now, have you received more advice (when someone is telling you what they think) when making a decision, or more counsel (when someone is trying to help you figure out what you think)? Which has proved more helpful?20. What was your biggest revelation from this book? 21. If the authors were in this room right now and asked you, “How’s it going?” how would you respond?

Editorial Reviews

#1 New York Times Bestseller “Life has questions. They have answers…Learn how to find a fulfilling career…learn how to better navigate life’s big moment decisions and kill your ‘wicked problems dead.” —The New York Times   “The prototype for a happy life…Burnett and Evans show how to apply Stanford’s famous design principles to finding your place in the world, as a recent graduate or mid-career.” —NPR’s Brian Lehrer“Designing Your Life walks readers through the process of building a satisfying, meaningful life by approaching the challenge the way a designer would. Experimentation. Wayfinding. Prototyping. Constant iteration. You should read the book. Everyone else will.” —Daniel Pink, bestselling author of Drive “This [is] the career book of the next decade and . . . the go-to book that is read as a rite of passage whenever someone is ready to create a life they love.” —David Kelley, Founder of IDEO   “An empowering book based on their popular class of the same name at Stanford University . . . Perhaps the book’s most important lesson is that the only failure is settling for a life that makes one unhappy. With useful fact-finding exercises, an empathetic tone, and sensible advice, this book will easily earn a place among career-finding classics.” —Publishers Weekly