Designing Your Life: Book Review

Designing Your Life: Book Review

Feeling a little lost? Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, by university professors Bill Burnett and  Dave Evans uses the theory of design thinking to work out what you want and a life that works for you.

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life was originally offered, by the authors, as a Life Design course at Stanford University. The course was aimed at graduating students preparing to embark on the next stage of their lives. The book is suitable for anyone looking to make changes in their life, at any age. I highly recommend this book to anyone that is still trying to answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Through a series of exercises you will be challenged to think about your life and work views. The author’s write “There is no one idea for your life. There are many lives you could live happily and productively.”(1)

The difference between Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life and a self help book, is that you are not left hyped up and with no real plan for the future. With Designing Your Life you develop a number of ‘life-views’ , possible options for what your future could look like and concrete steps to move forward.

Design thinking has become the new trend for Not For Profits and forward thinking corporations, who are trying to find new ways of solving old problems. By having the right mindset and applying design thinking principles the authors help you find your best life.

Design Thinking Principles
  1. Accept: you cannot solve a problem that you are not willing to have.
  2. Empathy
  3. Define the problem. What do you really want?
  4. Prototype solutions. Fail fast & often. Learn and do again. Radical collaboration. Mind mapping.
  5. State of flow
  • What are you curious about?
  • Re-frame problems; change your perspective to address a perceived problem
  • Well designed life means a well lived life.

This book is recommended for anyone who is embarking on a new phase in their life and lacking direction. A good time to read this book would be when graduating from university, if you are thinking of changing jobs or careers or just feel unhappy with your current life.

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life has a 4 out of 5 stars rating.


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