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Designing Your Life
Cover of Designing Your Life
Designing Your Life
How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life
Borrow Borrow Borrow
#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
#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
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Excerpts-
  • 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...
About the Author-
  • 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 Arts
    www.designingyour.life
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    April 15, 2016

    Burnett is the executive director of the Design Program at Stanford, Evans an adjunct lecturer there, and together their thinking has contributed to the creation of the Apple Mouse, the laptop computer, and more. Now they apply their design smarts to something really key: your life. With a 300,000-copy first printing.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 4, 2016
    Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Burnett and Evans present an empowering book based on their popular class of the same name at Stanford University. At the center of their philosophy is the idea that people need a process—a design—to make any sort of significant life change. After encouraging readers to unflinchingly examine their own views of work and life, the authors advise readers to undertake “prototyping,” a method for exploring new life directions in manageable and realistic ways. A key tool is creating a “Good Time Journal,” an outline of the times when readers felt most engaged and energized. What their plan has no room for, however, is agonizing over paths not taken. “The fourth step in the process is to let go,” the authors state. 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. Agent: Doug Abrams, Idea Architects.

  • Daniel Pink, bestselling author of Drive "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."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Designing Your Life
Designing Your Life
How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life
Bill Burnett
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