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Publisher's Summary

The world is working exactly as designed. The combustion engine which is destroying our planet’s atmosphere and rapidly making it inhospitable is working exactly as we designed it. Guns, which lead to so much death, work exactly as they’re designed to work. And every time we “improve” their design, they get better at killing. Facebook’s privacy settings, which have outed gay teens to their conservative parents, are working exactly as designed. Their “real names” initiative, which makes it easier for stalkers to re-find their victims, is working exactly as designed. Twitter’s toxicity and lack of civil discourse is working exactly as it’s designed to work.

The world is working exactly as designed. And it’s not working very well. Which means, we need to do a better job of designing it. Design is a craft with an amazing amount of power. The power to choose. The power to influence. As designers, we need to see ourselves as gatekeepers of what we are bringing into the world and what we choose not to bring into the world.

Design is a craft with responsibility. The responsibility to help create a better world for all. Design is also a craft with a lot of blood on its hands. Every cigarette advertisement is on us. Every gun is on us. Every ballot that a voter cannot understand is on us. Every time social network’s interface allows a stalker to find their victim, that’s on us. The monsters we unleash into the world will carry your name. 

This audiobook will make you see that design is a political act. What we choose to design is a political act. Who we choose to work for is a political act. Who we choose to work with is a political act. And, most importantly, the people we’ve excluded from these decisions is the biggest (and stupidest) political act we’ve made as a society. 

If you’re a designer, this book might make you angry. It should make you angry. But it will also give you the tools you need to make better decisions. You will learn how to evaluate the potential benefits and harm of what you’re working on. You’ll also learn how to present your concerns, the importance of building and working with diverse teams who can approach problems from multiple points of view, and how to make a case using data and good storytelling. Most of all, you’ll learn to say "no" in a way that’ll make people listen. This audiobook will fill you with the confidence to do the job the way you always wanted to be able to do it. It will help you understand your responsibilities.

©2019 Mike Monteiro (P)2019 Mike Monteiro

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What listeners say about Ruined by Design

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A bunch of woke garbage with a dash of truth

Monteiro rightly points out that design comes with ethical responsibility....and then advocated using the power of design to destroy people’s freedoms like the first amendment protection of free speech.

Designers have a duty to be ethically and morally right. Cancel culture both unethical and immoral.

Demonizing people for their skin color is immoral. Monteiro spends a lot of time throwing rocks at white people. This is in vogue today. If you inserted any other skin color, there would be mass outrage. I respect his right to hold whatever racist position he likes, but I also have a right to switch off this nonsense.

Going for a refund on this steaming pile.

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Not insightful

Big disappointment. I was expecting some insights on how all these ruined designs the book rages about could be replaced with something better. But I learned nothing, because the book does not teach anything of value. The book is just a long rant against capitalism and the patriarchy, and not a very intelligent one. A waste of time.

2 people found this helpful

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Brilliantly angry

I love this book and I think I will listen to it again again and again. You should too. Because we need Mike’s anger, we need his brutal honestly because we have been pampered for too long and it’s time to stop.

2 people found this helpful

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Incredible insight

Mike's perspective on how designers 'fit' into our world. I see the workforce of designers as a potent force for change because our influence is so vast. It hits every industry. Except, we don't see our own worth–I didn't see my worth. This book has helped me understand my role as a business owner, an influencer, a force to help create enduring change.
Thank you Mike.

1 person found this helpful

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Doesn't Teach Anything. About Politics, Not Design

As others have said, this book doesn't actually teach anything. It is just a rant. This book is not about design, it's about politics. I'm pretty left leaning myself, but the whole first half of this book was pretty much about how anyone that disagrees with the author should be censored. If that's the book you want, you won't be disappointed. I just thought this book would be about design.

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Good content but not the best execution

Kind of a long disorganised rant. But a good tool to get your wheels spinning on how impactful design is and the roles of designers.

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Why is this author so angry?

I get the point of this book, we are all responsible for our design and should include ethical aspects when designing.

But this book could fit in a blog post.
And listening to the really angry and frustrated writer loose credibility after short while. I lost patience, gave up.
There are better things to spend time on.

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Amazing and necessary book

Everyone should read it, but designers definitely have an obligation to reading it. Mike Monteiro wrote in this book all my concerns about the design field and, in spite of how (reasonably) angry it is, he brought solutions. Or at least the first steps to take.

He shows in this book how so many big products, like social media and everything produced by war industries, are f*cking up the world... because they were designed to do exactly that. Everything is working well, the big problems are what and why we are creating those things. It's a very good start for a further discussion on how design can make the world a better place.

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best design book I've ever read

a marvelously blunt read of a cluttered industry. should be required reading for all designers and design teams

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Essential reading for anyone in design or development

Mike Monteiro did an incredible job making the case for how designers have contributed to our downfall and how we (yes still us designers) must pick up and work together to fix it. Big props for his constant awareness throughout the book of his privilege, our collective privilege, and all that we are fighting for. Well done. And big props for thanking Gritty at the end.

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  • Waxmagenta
  • 02-17-21

Brutally honest

Brutally honest, straight to the point. Facts, facts, facts. Not for soft hearted. Mike focus a lot on Twitter and Facebook, perhaps a few more large company examples would enrich this story, yet it's very passionate, real, and does make you think.

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  • Tanya
  • 11-02-20

Brilliant

Loved this! Well written, thought provoking, demanding of action and passionately delivered! Worth the time to listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-08-20

excellent book on why ethics in design is importan

If you are thinking about reading/listening to this book, do it. because the topic is either known to you, or you must get to know it. I wish this had been in my curriculum, during my design education.
Mike is also an entertaining author and gives an excelent performance.

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  • Stew Dean
  • 01-27-20

Passionate but unfocused.

The call to arms for designs is worthy. The highlighting of the issues of diversity is vital. But the idea that design is something to certify is as vague as the boundaries of design. When we become manager is unionisation really realistic?

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  • NININO
  • 12-24-19

Great book poorly narrate

This is the book everybody should read, but especially young designers and/or students. It is a great "starter kit" with valuable guidelines. And it is great for everybody else just to remind ourselves and to get in touch with the industry today. Ethics and morality of design are systematically ignored, not only by designers but the systems designers are working for. Papanek is a beautiful reference.
What I hated was narrating. I literally couldn't listen for more than 30 minutes that theatrical and overly frustrated voice. Mike, I know you are angry, we all are, but words are heavy enough, you don't need to shout. We can hear you.

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  • Nupur Aggarwal
  • 10-05-21

Good insights, but far too long

I really appreciated the facts and the structure laid out but it got too loud in the end.

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  • Thomas Shillingford
  • 06-23-20

Powerful. Informative. Inspirational. A must read.

A very passionate, compelling, well-articulated argument for ethics within design, as well as those companies that do not believe in ethics. Ruined by Design, has serious overtones that Mike Monteiro complements with sharp, cutting, humorous undertones in places.

Every designer, from graduate to seasoned vet should have this in their library. Absolutely critical listening.

There’s still time to make a change, it should start here - get it! Don’t think for a further second, should you buy it? Buy it. Absorb it. Use it.

Thank you, Mike Monteiro, for writing such a powerful and much-needed book.

This should be on the best sellers list.

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  • Matthias Schreck
  • 10-15-19

repetitive rant that's trying to sick

most people buying this book will know its author. it will not surprise them that there is unnecessary swearing, lots of ranting, and just a lot of personal opinion being thrown about. as an audio experience, however, it quickly becomes unbearable. I listened to the book on my commute, and it felt as if every bus trip, and drunk was sitting next to me, shouting stuff into my ear. I made it to 6 hours eventually, and then decided that the last 90 minutes would probably just be further repetition of the same two or three points. don't get me wrong, these are good, valid points to make! but that's three blog posts max! and not a book that is trying to just balloon them...
it left the impression with me that it was more important for Monteiro to write down a cathartic rant, than to actually convince people to join his cause. because you don't convince more people by being louder and more repetitive.