Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

by Bill Burnett, Dave Evans
Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

by Bill Burnett, Dave Evans


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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • At last, a book that shows you how to build—design—a life you can thrive in, at any age or stage “Life has questions. They have answers.” —The New York Times

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101875322
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/20/2016
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 11,454
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.10(d)

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

Read an Excerpt

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.

Excerpted from "Designing Your Life"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Bill Burnett.
Excerpted by permission of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Life by Design ix

1 Start Where You Are 3

2 Building a Compass 29

3 Wayfinding 41

4 Getting Unstuck 63

5 Design Your Lives 87

6 Prototyping 107

7 How Not to Get a Job 128

8 Designing Your-Dream Job 146

9 Choosing Happiness 157

10 Failure Immunity 181

11 Building a Team 199

Conclusion: A Well-Designed Life 217

Acknowledgments 231

Notes 235

Reading Group Guide

The questions and discussion topics that follow are intended to enhance your reading group’s discussion of Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Stanford University professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.

1. 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?

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