These are some of the books that have influenced my approach to life design. Other types of works have also played a role. Books are listed on this page because they can be valuable secondary sources of information that are (ideally) comprehensive and understandable to non-specialists.
On this page, I quickly mention what each book is about and who might be interested in reading/listening to it. Some books include a link to a post with a longer review.
This page will be continually updated.
Disclosure: Some of the book links on this page are affiliate links. This means that if you choose to purchase a book using one of the links below, I earn a commission at no cost to you. [Full Affiliate Disclosure]
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Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived Joyful Life by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans is the book that started life design as we know it.
Check out this book if: you’re interested in learning about life design
Designing Your Work Life: How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness at Work by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans uses the ‘designing your life’ framework and applies it to work.
Check out this book if: you want to learn how to apply the designing your life framework to your work/job/career
Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need (open access version) by Sasha Costanza-Chock examines design, power, and social justice with major themes including design led by marginalized communities, dismantling structural inequality, collective liberation, and ecological survival.
Check out this book if: you want to explore and implement intersectional and inclusive design frameworks
Designing Resiliency: Products for Mental Health by Rebecca Erde walks readers through the author’s design process for creating products that center mental health and people with mental illnesses.
Check out this book if: you want to an step-by-step walk through of a design process rooted in empathy
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi details the author’s research into optimal experience (‘flow’) and practices to harness that experience.
Check out this book if: you want to learn more about research and tools on flow, deep enjoyment, and aspects of creativity
Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein presents behavioral economics research on choice architecture and how small changes can impact decision making.
Check out this book if: you want to learn more about research on behavioral economics and decision making
The Design Thinking Playbook by Michael Lewrick, Patrick Link, and Larry Leifer is an actionable guide filled with design thinking case studies and activities.
Check out this book if: you have a decent grasp of design thinking and want some inspiration for activities based on business examples
The Inclusion Nudges Guidebook by Lisa Kepinski and Tinna Nielsen is a practical guide to inclusive co-creation.
Check out this book if: you want examples and ideas of how to implement activities aimed at fostering an inclusive environment.
Doing Good Better by William MacAskill makes the case for effective altruism in helping readers help others, doing work that matters, and make choices in how to give back.
Check out this book if: you want to explore a framework in how to make an impact through your philanthropic and career choices
Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches by John Creswell and David Creswell compares qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research design.
Check out this book if: you want a handy and accessible text to refer to about qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research
Social Science Methodology: A Unified Framework by John Gerring covers social science methodologies that are relevant to disciplines like anthropology, economics, psychology, etc.
Check out this book if: you want a social science reference text, especially surrounding conceptualization
Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling by Matthew Dicks shares stories and techniques to develop engaging oratory storytelling skills.
Check out this book if: you want to improve your oral storytelling communication skills
Blog Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community by Joy Deangdeelert Cho shares insights and tips on developing a blog from her own experiences as well as other successful bloggers.
Check out this book if: you are thinking about starting a blog or looking to developing an existing one
Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon details 10 tips on showing your work with a focus on social media.
Check out this book if: you want to build a social media presence
Academia & Alt-Ac
The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide To Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job by Karen Kelsky offers advice on how to get a job in academia
Check out this book if: are considering going into a doctoral program and/or want an academic job
Putting the Humanities PhD to Work by Katina Rogers provides an overview of the current state of graduate professional development for humanities PhDs and offers suggestions for improvement
Check out this book if: you want to understand the state of graduate professional development and explore ideas for a more inclusive approach
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is written as a letter to his adolescent son about his reflections on being Black in the USA.
Check out this book if: you want to start gaining an understanding of black, male perspectives in the USA
What books are you reading or have read that could be applied to life design? Let me know in the comments.