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Designing Your Life

How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

By Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
12-minute read
Audio available
Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Designing Your Life (2016) is about taking control of your life by creating a plan that’ll do away with an uninspired nine-to-five routine and usher in a career that you really love. You’ll find advice and exercises that will point you toward your true calling, along with progressive ideas that challenge the limitations of traditional career counseling.

“I love this practical, no-nonsense approach to the often nebulous topic of identifying the life you want to lead.” – Ben H, Head of Content at Blinkist

  • Students and recent graduates plotting their way forward
  • Adults both young and old who feel adrift in life
  • Career counselors

Bill Burnett has a master’s degree in product design from Stanford University, where he now teaches and heads the Design Program. With over thirty years of experience, he is an expert who still draws, designs and builds things every day.

Dave Evans also teaches at Stanford as part of the Product Design Program. After a varied career path that took him from marine biology to mechanical engineering, he worked at Apple and eventually cofounded Electronic Arts, where he still offers his services as a consultant.

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Designing Your Life

How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

By Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
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Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
Synopsis

Designing Your Life (2016) is about taking control of your life by creating a plan that’ll do away with an uninspired nine-to-five routine and usher in a career that you really love. You’ll find advice and exercises that will point you toward your true calling, along with progressive ideas that challenge the limitations of traditional career counseling.

“I love this practical, no-nonsense approach to the often nebulous topic of identifying the life you want to lead.” – Ben H, Head of Content at Blinkist

Key idea 1 of 7

Too many people are stuck in a rut, but you can design your way to a better life.

If you feel completely content with your personal and professional life, then consider yourself lucky. Most people are unhappy with at least some aspects of their life.

For instance, many people worry that they’ve chosen the wrong profession.

In a poll of US workers, two-thirds of the respondents expressed dissatisfaction with their job, some of them saying they feel trapped because their diploma is in a field they’d rather not be in. They have a degree in civil engineering, for instance, and feel doomed to pursue a career in this field that they never really enjoyed in the first place.

Indeed, around 31 million Americans between the ages of 44 and 70 would choose a different encore career if they could, one that gives them a sense of personal meaning and societal impact, as well as a steady paycheck, but they see no way of getting there.

With all these unsatisfied workers, what we need is a new way of designing our lives to meet our needs and desires.

A degree shouldn’t limit your options. After all, three-fourths of US college graduates end up in a field that has nothing to do with the subject they majored in. You may have chosen to get a certain degree, but it needn’t determine your future.

Whatever your age, background or profession, thinking like a designer and creating a well-designed life can bring you more satisfaction and joy.

A well-designed life is one that allows you to be creative, happy and fulfilled. It helps you to avoid feeling stuck and unproductive while providing you with a sense of freedom – freedom to change and grow, in both your personal and professional life – no matter how old you are.

Everything around you is designed: your house or apartment, the chair you sit on and the computers and devices you use. So why not design your life, too?

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