Review of Designing Your Life

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9 Overall

10 Applicability

8 Innovation

9 Style


Stanford Design Program executive director Bill Burnett and Electronic Arts co-founder Dave Evans offer a well-written, accessible, practical, witty and entertaining approach to improving your life: Design it. The authors, co-founders of Stanford’s Life Design Lab, disguise their self-help book as a guide to a designer’s approach to creating, problem solving, dealing with failure, and seeking mental and emotional clarity. Their infectious, commonsense tone belies their lofty professional standing and simple genius of their ideas. Burnett and Evans’ compassionate understanding of the ordinary issues that face almost everyone trying to make the right career and life choices is best described as wisdom – a wonderful gift offered without pretension. The authors deliver their lessons – or, for the cynical, pad their page count – with fictional examples of people who face various problems or issues. The authors’ original, free-thinking solutions follow. The examples humanize the advice and continually remind the reader that everyone – including the authors – suffers their fictional characters’ confusion, paralysis, regret, embarrassment and blockheadedness. These stories don’t slow the reading or detract from the power of the advice, but they will make you want to race ahead to the next section of instruction. The entries on brainstorming, applying for jobs and figuring out how to network may seem familiar to frequent readers of career self-help books, but those are insignificant detours from the authors’ innovative, inspired and singular guidance. getAbstract recommends their insights and approaches to anyone in a creative field, anyone trying a career change, anyone feeling stuck, anyone seeking self-insight, and anyone trying to get out of his or her own way.

About the Authors

Stanford Design Program executive director Bill Burnett formerly led Apple’s Powerbook product line. Dave Evans co-founded Electronic Arts at Stanford and lectures in the Design Program. They co-founded the Life Design Lab.


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