“This graphic workbook . . .encourages a playful approach to designing your own life from the ground up. Whereas most tools ask you to build on where you are, this one asks you to examine if you’re in the right place to begin with.”
“Ayse Birsel’s warm, affirming tone convinces readers that a deeply fulfilling life is possible. . . Design the Life You Love would be the perfect gift for anyone in a rut, at a crossroads or about to embark on a new career path.”
“The book would benefit people wanting or needing to change their lives, from high achievers wondering what’s next to people just starting their careers.”
– The Portland Oregonian
“I am beginning to realize that there is an opportunity to apply the metaphysical to certain design tactics. The designer Ayse Birsel proposes just that in her book . . . .A final extension of human-centric design, this application of design-to-life is analogous to the fusion of art and life.”
– Philip Wood, California Home + Design
“If you’re like me and you really want to change, try her process. It will help you become the person you want to be and design a life you will love!”
– Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times best selling author of Triggers
Advance praise for Design the Life You Love:
“Ayse Birsel is a designer who knows how to find elegant solutions for complex issues not only with products, but also with everybody’s search for serenity, inspiration, and fulfillment in life.”
– Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture & design, Museum of Modern Art
“I know it’s easy to live a pessimistic life, grinding it out and waiting for someone to give you orders. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean you should do it that way. Ayse Birsel has a better idea.”
– Seth Godin, author of What to Do When it’s Your Turn
“Ayse Birsel has a unique gift for making the complex simple and the simple beautiful. This book will help you to a better life and unleash your hidden creative talent.”
– Brian Walker, President and CEO of Herman Miller
“Ayse Birsel has designed furniture, office systems, cookware and even a toilet seat. Taking what she’s learned from product design, she has developed a fun, playful approach to designing a life you love. Who else but a designer could give you the tools you need to examine your life and make it the best it can be?”
– John Edelman, CEO, Design Within Reach
“If you want to stoke someone’s imagination, give them a picture book. If you want to feed their intellect, give them a book of literature. But if you want to fuel their future, give them this book. Design the Life You Love is an invitation to prioritize what’s important in your life—to literally put it down on paper through four simple but ingenious steps—and emerge with a kind of personal mission statement that will give you clarity, power, and purpose.”
– Allan Chochinov, chair of the MFA Products of Design program at the School of Visual Arts
“Ayse Birsel has delivered the ideal self-help workbook for our harried age—one that is playful, smart, pragmatic, and contagiously optimistic. Her fun, simple exercises add up to a remarkably powerful tool for realigning your life with your dreams.”
– Mason Currey, author of Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
“Remember when people used to tell each other impatiently to “Get a life!”? Well, with this engaging book, Ayse Birsel provides a well-wrought strategy for doing precisely that. In the process, readers gain some precious insights into what design is and what designers do.”
– Ralph Caplan, author, By Design, and recipient of the National Design Award for design thinking
“Nothing is more important than designing the life that you love. One of the world’s best designers can show you how to do it!”
– Marshall Goldsmith, author of Triggers, MOJO, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
“A fun, interactive workbook for unleashing creativity and redesigning our daily lives.”
– Adam Grant, professor at the Wharton School and author of Give and Take
“Ayse Birsel’s book costs very little money, takes almost no time to go through and may have a gigantic impact on your life. This is good design: a tiny investment featuring enormous possibilities.”
– Stefan Sagmeister, Designer, Sagmeister & Walsh
“Ayse Birsel’s talent as a designer and her unique worldview collide perfectly in Design The Life You Love. For anyone who is looking for an imaginative yet logical way to think through life’s challenges, this is for you. Learn how to shift your perspectives with design-thinking, and be inspired by her illustrations along the way.”
– Beth Comstock, CEO, GEO Business Innovations
9 Dear Reader
10 About Design the Life You Love
16 What Is This Book?
18 How To Use This Book
20 Why Design?
22 Thinking Like a Designer
24 My Process
26 From Product Design
36 Ok, Time to Get Started
38 What Will We Do Together?
00. Warm Up
42 Let’s Warm Up
54 Designing Life Using DE:RE Is Like Making Soup
68 Let’s Deconstruct
80 DE: Four Quadrants
02. Point of View
102 Heroes as Inspiration
138 Before You Reconstruct, Let’s Take Stock . . .
152 Let’s Reconstruct
158 RE: Four Quadrants
172 Vision Map as Expression
178 Vision Letter as Expression
184 To-Do List as Expression
188 Manifesto as Expression
194 Poem as Expression
living the life
202 Let’s Retrace Our Steps . . .
204 Living the Life!
210 Design the Life You Love
212 The Purpose
the end is only the beginning!
250 Reading List
252 About the Author
254 Thank You!