Book Review - Designing Your Life

The Founder of Inspire Leadership & focuses on unlocking people’s potential by providing them with programs; mentorship and coaching into high performance

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

Book by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

In Designing Your Life, Silicon Valley design innovators Bill Burnett and Dave Evans use their expertise to help you work out what you want in life and how to get it. They show us how design thinking can be used to create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling. The book guides us to create a fulfilling life regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young and old we are. Ideally, the book is using the same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces to transform our lives especially in designing and building our career and life. The results will be a life of fulfillment and joy, a life that is constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprises. The book is worth reading, at least for the concrete advice on how to evaluate different aspects of your life, and how to analyze your levels of engagement. Tons of exercises can help us see the patterns that are helpful to keep in mind as we consider the next steps in our life. The book emphasizes the need to develop passions, rather than attempting to "find" them. The authors provide us with advice on how to accept what we can't change, avoiding so-called “gravity problems”, which, by their very nature, cannot be changed. They go ahead to advise on the areas that give life a meaning.

To give our lives a meaning, the book identifies four critical areas of our lives that we need to assess before we can embark on our journey and which we should endeavor to have a balance: Health: physical, emotional, mental; Work: doesn’t matter whether paid or volunteer; Play: the things we do for fun and Love:  which includes the things we love 

Another balance we should pay a lot of attention to is the one between our work view and our life view, that is our philosophy of what the phrases "good job" and "good life" mean.

Key takeaways for me from the book is that as we try to get to where we want to be in life, we must know where we are now, what matters to us, and what gives us energy and sense of engagement.  Based on this knowledge and especially for the four dimensions of life, that is work, play, love, and health, we can create the vision that should be able to guide us towards our North Star. There is a need to defer judgment and instead, we create multiple ideas now. This may require that we involve other people in our support system to make a collaborative endeavor, including crazy ones.  We need to get our hands dirty by trying things in reality. The word is to prototype! This will help us to figure out what works and what does not work. In the end, the book suggests that we need to be curious, try stuff, always try to reframe problems, understanding that success is a process and always ask for help.

You will need to read this book if you can answer one or more of the following questions in affirmative

1. Are you looking for a job that you like or maybe even love?

2. Do you generally feel that life is pretty good, but could be even better?

3. Are you in some kind of transition?

4. Do you wonder how you can have a balanced life?

5. Are you considering a career change and don't know where to start?

6. Do you feel stuck?

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