Designing Your Life

How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

by Bill Burnett , Dave Evans

Number of pages: 272

Publisher: Knopf

BBB Library: Personal Success

ISBN: 978-1101875322

About the Authors

Bill Burnett : Bill Burnett is the Executive Director of the Design Program at


Dave Evans : Dave Evans is Lecturer, Product Design Program at Stanford, Management Consultant,


Editorial Review

So, you have a problem? Look around you. Everything that surrounds us was designed by someone; and every design started with a problem. Problems are why you have running water and insulations in your home. Plumbing was created because of a problem. Toothbrushes were invented because of a problem. Chairs were created because someone, somewhere, wanted to solve a big problem: sitting on rocks causes sore bottoms.   Design thinking can help you solve your own life design problems. It can help you build a well-designed life that is meaningful, joyful, and fulfilling. When you think like a designer, when you are willing to ask questions, when you realize that life is always about designing something that has never existed before, then your life can sparkle in a way you could never have imagined. That is, if you like sparkles. It’s your design, after all.

Book Reviews

“With useful fact-finding exercises, an empathetic tone, and sensible advice, this book will easily earn a place among career-finding classics.”

“Follow Mr. Burnett’s and Mr. Evans’s teachings, and the anxiety-ridden process of decision making suddenly seems more playful. Their method is experiential and accepts that failure is part of the process.”

“Designing Your Life isn’t a simple self-help or career book filled with tips and tricks — it really is a full class in a book.”

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Wisdom to Share

Design thinking can help you solve your own life design problems.

Design thinking can help you build your way forward from wherever you are, regardless of the problems you are facing.

When designing your life, you start with who you are.

Designing your life is actually what life is, because life is a process, not an outcome. If you can get that, you’ve got it all.

When you understand who you are, design your life, and then go live your life, you cannot fail.

Failure immunity comes from knowing that a prototype that does not work still leaves you with valuable information about the state of the world here—at your new starting point.

Life design lets you turn any change, setback or surprise into something that can contribute to who you are becoming personally and professionally.

If most of what you do at work is not bringing you alive, then it’s killing you.

Prototypes should be designed to ask a question and get some data about something you’re interested in. They help you visualize alternatives in an experiential way.

Be curious about what you might discover.