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Design the Life You Love: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Meaningful Future Paperback – October 13, 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“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

"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."

About the Author

AYSE BIRSEL has been designing award-winning products for over twenty years. She is the co-founder of Birsel + Seck, an innovative design studio in New York that partners with leading brands and Fortune 500 companies. She teaches at SVA and has taught at the Pratt Institute. Her work is in the permanent collections of the MOMA and Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. She has received numerous design awards, including the IDEA Gold Award, ID Magazine Excellence Award, and Athena Award for Excellence in Furniture Design from RISD.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (October 13, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607748819
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607748816
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Into the center of your life: Ayse Birsel's Design the Life You Love

Here's  a self-help book that refrains from merely telling you what to do to make your life better; here's a creative book that takes you into the center of your life and helps you charter the course that you want and need, and you're actively part of it.

Welcome to Design the Life You Love: A step-by-step guide to building a meaningful creature by topnotch designer Ayse Birsel.

In this book, Birsel takes the reader into her design concept which can be aptly applied in real life. Her process of seeing things  - and life in general - is simple, practical and doable but still taps into the cores of your mind, heart, and soul and helps you realize the truths which have been staring in your face for so long but you refused or failed to acknowledge.

Birsel guides the reader in the process of deconstruction, point of view, reconstruction, and expression. These are very detailed steps which you should do with focus and determination. However, it still invites you to be playful and creative to bring out your real, true self.

The way this book flows is unconventional. Feel free to draw and write on the pages of this book. Do not mince any words in expressing what you feel and what you think. Draw even if you're not an artist. It doesn't matter if you're not a writer or a journalist, just write. This book is as playful as the rabbit that constantly reminds the reader to be creative, to think beyond what tradition mandates, and just be totally free to express yourself.

Nowhere in any book shelf can you find a book that directs you to examine your life in a serious, playful, creative way.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book makes you want to think, doodle, write and draw about your life! And that’s no easy feat for an adult. It made me —the skeptic, busy and sometimes-way-too-serious adult— give a chance to be playful for 20 minutes at a time about my life, without judgement and any serious commitment other than having a pen, this book and a cup of coffee. And it’s with this ease, you get to learn new concepts (you mean I can “deconstruct” my life in two pages and see all its pieces?!) and new ways/tools to think to solve problems of all kinds.

It’s a beautifully designed book, endorsed by not just me but also my 6-year old who loves this book and so attracted to the illustrations. Any book that is attractive to both of us is worth writing a review about.

Buy it, read it, draw on it, put it away, read it again, share it with people who care about you and your life. You’re going to remember this book.
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Format: Paperback
Design The Life You Love is a graphic novel-like workbook on figuring out your past and present, while planning your future. In other words, it is a book that teaches you to take stock of your life, remove the undesirables, and add your would-be desirables.

Ayse Birsel lays the book’s foundation by saying that there are times we have to look forward and seek something more than what we already have in our lives. She advises that living a life true to our convictions does not happen while living autopilot, hoping things would work itself out. She explains that we have to think and map out our desires and take steps to fulfil them.

The author claims that there are times when we, as humans, do not know what we need until we settle down and take stock of our feelings. She said it is this kind of moment that our innermost feelings start pouring out.

The book has some light drawings that give out such playfulness, freedom and lightheartedness. Most importantly, you can sense a lack of judgement in the writing and doodles in the book – the author tells you to be free to write or draw anything you want, no matter how horrible it looks. Design The Life You Love by Ayse Birsel is like a workbook where you can be a kid again, writing and drawing out secrets lodged in your soul.

The only downside with this book is its superficiality. Personally, I think that if you want to achieve your dreams, there is a bit far to go than just writing or “designing” the life you love on a piece of paper. However, this is a great place to start and an acknowledgement of the fact that where you presently are might not be exactly the place you want to be is a good thing.
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Format: Paperback


A step-by-step guide to building a meaningful future

By Ayse Birsel

Let me start off by saying that I’m usually pretty jaded when it comes to self-help books. Not that they aren’t good for you. Most of them usually are. But very few present anything that’s really different. And there’s nothing wrong with picking up a new one, especially if it’s January and you’re brimming with expectations about the year to come.

This book pleasantly surprised me.

First. It’s beautifully illustrated by the author. Maybe that’s not important except in children’s books or graphic novels, but it really worked for me in this book. The illustrations make the book a little more meaningful, more personal and a lot more approachable.

As someone’s who’s been in the advertising business for more years than I want to admit, I also loved Ayse’s approach to examining and coming up with creative solutions.

To me that’s part of the worth of the book. Not only to give yourself a ‘life makeover’ but to apply her principles for anything in life you come across. Her formula of 1. DECONSTRUCTION 2. POV. 3. RECONSTRUCTION 4. EXPRESSION can apply to anything you want to do. Want to redecorate a room? Just adapt and follow the steps. Decide on whether to buy a new car or keep your old one? Ayse’s steps can work for this as well.

Another thing I love about the book is the author’s use of simple encouragements along the way, especially about drawing. Most of us, unless we’re a trained or gifted artist, struggle with drawing, feeling like it’s too childlike. Ayse encourages you to simply go ahead and draw, regardless of your skills. After all, it’s your book.

Here’s another example.
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