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Ruined by Design

How Designers Destroyed the World, and What We Can Do to Fix It
Narrated by: Mike Monteiro
Length: 7 hrs and 37 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Politics
4.5 out of 5 stars (54 ratings)

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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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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.

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Great book!

Best book I've read in quite a while. Probably applicable so several business areas!
I've recommended it to several friends before even finishing it because I saw value in it extremely fast.

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  • S. 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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  • Anonymous User
  • 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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  • 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.