Book Review: Design The Life You Love

I’ve had this book since January and  wanted to take my time with it.   You know how it is, the year starts and we want to work on our lives, make it better, make positive changes.  I wasn’t sure what expect from “Design The Life You Love”; I hoped it was not going to be trite and unrealistic and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

The author,  Ayse Birsel, used the skills she’s known for — design — to cement the idea that our lives are worthy of looking at introspectively and creatively so we can live them to the fullest.  She likens life to a design project and encourages the reader to deconstruct,  look at his/her life from a different perspective, reconstruct, then give whatever positive changes we develop expression or form.  These concepts were not foreign at all, that’s exactly how we makers tackle knit and other fiber arts projects.  She uses drawing and design to explain her theories/ideas, but although I absolutely suck at drawing, as a yarn/fiber artist, the concepts were still easy to grasp.  For the exercises, anything I couldn’t draw, I crafted with yarn or pictures cut out from a magazine.  😀

I know others who have used this book didn’t like the fact that the author used her specific creative medium to share the concepts and I can see how that is limiting.  However, I believe everyone has creativity in them and all readers should use whatever mediums they have at their disposal to assess the principles shared.

The layout of the book is clear and very easy to use.  The author recommends spending 20 minutes a day with the content/exercises and your life’s design and I agree.  The content provides enough interaction and food for thought in that amount of time.  Plus the structured time limit allows you to pace yourself and really savor the experience of each session instead of barreling through the book.  The typography used provides many opportunities to do some coloring and I really enjoy doing that.  That in itself allows for even more creative expression.

Let me say however, this book is not a fix-it all book.  Although it encourages us to look at our lives as design projects, to embrace the constraints and limitations as opportunities to change our perception, it’s not a magic pill or a substitute for anyone needing clinical therapy.  It provides a starting point, encouragement to explore, a different perspective and some good ole common sense.

I am enjoying reading/using it and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it as a starting point for anyone who’s willing to look at designing a life he/she loves a little differently, a little more creatively, with just the right amount of playfulness.

Disclaimer: this review was done through my affiliation with Blogging For Books.  Although I received a copy for review, the thoughts expressed are entirely my own.

14 thoughts on “Book Review: Design The Life You Love

  1. savethestationery March 28, 2016 / 7:54 am

    Interesting book! I like the idea of designing life, because with intention we can make a real difference in the outcome! 🙂 I can’t really draw either but I don’t think I would like that stop me. I was hoping you were going to post a few pictures of the exercises that you did! 🙂

    • Nicky April 9, 2016 / 6:16 pm

      Definitely. It’s been great to work through and actually think about things instead of trying to get solutions now.

      I was thinking of posting some of the exercises but I’ve written all over that book, some of the stuff too private to share.

  2. Andi March 20, 2016 / 12:07 pm

    Great review. I agree with you in that you should use any “step-by-step” guides as a stepping stone and create it around your needs.
    I think I need to get that book.

    • Nicky March 26, 2016 / 4:07 pm

      I think you’d love it! It’s not a planner you have to use every day and it reinforces a lot of what you and I have discussed. 🙂

  3. Syd March 20, 2016 / 11:20 am

    What an interesting book. Though I may not always agree or follow them, I really enjoy reading about how other people model their lives and find their happiness.

    P.S. – I can’t draw either, no matter how much I try haha, so I really like the idea of modifying with yarn or magazine cutouts.

    • Nicky March 26, 2016 / 4:09 pm

      Agreed! Some of them are … O.M.G. I can’t even begin to talk about some of the crap that’s out there. 😀

      I like this one because it makes sense to me; it’s not off the wall at all.

      • Nicky March 26, 2016 / 4:09 pm

        p.s. you know we makers find a way around everything! Yarn and mag pics were obvious substitutes. 😀

  4. Alina March 20, 2016 / 10:26 am

    Sounds like a great book, Nicky! Thank you you so much for the review! I do believe that we are cable of designing our own future and we are the ones responsible what is happening in our lives!

    • Nicky March 26, 2016 / 4:11 pm

      I’m with you; even if I can’t control everything, I can control my response and how I let things impact my life, growth, creativity etc.

  5. Creatively Motivated March 20, 2016 / 9:53 am

    Great, thorough review. For many years I’ve been a journaler and I can appreciate a book that let’s me go beyond just words into another medium for self expression. I can draw either, but sometimes I dabble to try to learn a few things.

      • Nicky March 26, 2016 / 4:12 pm

        Yesssssssss! I think that’s why I enjoy the planner so much; the content isn’t stuff we don’t know, but I love the presentation of it in a manner us creatives can really connect with.

  6. Tracey Jernigan Tims March 20, 2016 / 9:08 am

    What an interesting book Nicky, I’ve never heard of it.
    While I don’t sit down and use drawing exercises, over the last few years I have
    slowly been reconstructing my days, my life, to what I want it to be. Most days I am quite pleased with how my life is unfolding, now if I could just control outside forces ;), No seriously, I am working on dealing with situations beyond my control, that’s the hard part!
    Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Nicky March 26, 2016 / 4:15 pm

      No seriously, I am working on dealing with situations beyond my control, that’s the hard part!

      LOLOL! You, me and the rest of the world!!! It truly is hard, but I love the way you live your life intentionally and quietly. I’m looking forward to the day when i can do so in all aspects of my living. You’re such a great model for intentional living. ❤

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