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Designing Your Life [Summary & Takeaways]

by The Quick Book Summary Team
3 minutes read

Main Topic

The book “Designing Your Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans explores the concept of applying design thinking principles to one’s life to create a fulfilling and joyful existence.

Key Ideas or Arguments

  • Design Thinking for Life: The authors propose using design thinking, a problem-solving approach from the design world, to address life choices and challenges.
  • Prototyping: Emphasizing the importance of experimenting and prototyping various life paths to discover what brings true satisfaction.
  • Workview and Lifeview: Introducing the concepts of workview and lifeview, encouraging readers to reassess their beliefs about career and life goals.

Chapter Titles or Main Sections

  1. Introduction to Design Thinking: Exploring the fundamentals of design thinking and how it can be applied to life decisions.
  2. Building a Compass: Helping readers define their core values and priorities.
  3. Wayfinding: Providing tools for navigating through life’s uncertainties and making decisions aligned with personal values.
  4. Getting Unstuck: Addressing common obstacles and offering strategies to overcome them.
  5. Designing Your Dream Job: Applying design principles to career choices and finding fulfillment in work.
  6. Prototyping Your Life: Encouraging experimentation and iteration to refine life choices.
  7. Building a Team: Recognizing the importance of social connections in creating a fulfilling life.
  8. Well-Lived, Joyful Life: Summarizing key concepts and encouraging ongoing self-design.

Designing Your Life

by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans


Key Takeaways

  • Life can be approached as a design challenge, and applying design thinking principles can lead to a more fulfilling existence.
  • Experimentation and prototyping are crucial for discovering what truly brings joy and satisfaction.
  • Aligning one’s actions with personal values and priorities is essential for a well-lived life.

Author’s Background and Qualifications

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans are both experienced design thinkers and educators. Burnett is a Stanford University design professor, and Evans is the co-founder of the Stanford Life Design Lab.

Comparison to Other Books

Compared to other self-help or life-design books, “Designing Your Life” stands out for its practical application of design thinking principles, offering a unique and actionable approach to life planning.

Target Audience

This book is suitable for individuals seeking a practical and creative approach to life planning, especially those at crossroads in their careers or personal lives.

Reception or Critical Response

“Designing Your Life” has received positive reviews for its innovative approach and practical insights, with readers praising its applicability and effectiveness in guiding life decisions.

Publisher and First Published Date

Published by Knopf in 2016, “Designing Your Life” has been widely available for readers seeking guidance on life design.


Biggest Takeaway

Applying design thinking principles to life decisions can lead to a well-lived and joyful existence by aligning actions with personal values and priorities.

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