Design for a Better World

Design for a Better World: How to Create a Meaningful, Sustainable, and Humanity-Centered Future[1]

Human behavior brought our world to the brink, human behavior can save us.

The world is a mess. Our dire predicament, from collapsing social structures to the climate crisis, has been millennia in the making and can be traced back to the erroneous belief that the earth's resources are infinite. The key to change, says Don Norman, is human behavior, covered in the book's three major themes: meaning, sustainability, and humanity-centeredness. Emphasize quality of life, not monetary rewards; restructure how we live to better protect the environment; and focus on all of humanity. The book presents an eye-opening diagnosis of where we've gone wrong and a clear prescription for making things better.

Norman proposes a new way of thinking, one that recognizes our place in a complex global system where even simple behaviors affect the entire world. He identifies the economic metrics that contribute to the harmful effects of commerce and manufacturing and proposes a recalibration of what we consider important in life. His experience as both a scientist and business executive gives him the perspective to show how to make these changes while maintaining a thriving economy. Let the change begin with this book before it's too late.

Table of Contents

    (subject to change)

Part A. Almost Everything I See Is Artificial

Chapter 1 Almost Everything Artificial Has Been Designed
Chapter 2 Our Artificial Way of Life Is Unsustainable
Chapter 3 Why History Matters
Chapter 4 Precise – but Artificial -- Measurements
Chapter 5 If it Was Technology that Got us into  Today’s Situation, Maybe It Is Technology that Can Get Us Out
Chapter 6 This Book: Meaningful, Sustainable, and Humanity-Centered

Part B: Meaningful

Chapter 7 The Need for Meaning
Chapter 8 Measurement in the Physical Sciences
Chapter 9 Measuring What Is Important to People
Chapter 10 The Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Chapter 11 What Measures Are Truly Important to People?
Chapter 12 Adding Real Human Behavior to  Economics: Behavior Plus Narratives

Part C: Sustainable

Chapter 13 We Live in the Age of Waste
Chapter 14 How Did the World Get into Today’s Quandary?
Chapter 15 Sustainability Has Multiple Components and Implications
Chapter 16 Design, Products, Sustainability, and the Circular Economy
Chapter 17 The Practical Difficulties of Implementing Circular Design
Chapter 18 Sustainable, Robust, and Resilient Systems
Chapter 19 People’s Understanding of Systems
Chapter 20 Working With Complex Sociotechnical Systems
Chapter 21 It Is Not Too Late

Part D: Humanity-Centered Design

Chapter 22 Moving from Humans to Humanity
Chapter 23 Democratizing Design and Development
Chapter 24 People Designing for Themselves
Chapter 25 Design X: An Approach to Large, Complex Systems
Chapter 26 Where Incrementalism  (Muddling Through) Fails
Chapter 27 Incremental Modular Design
Chapter 28 When Large, Multidisciplinary Projects Are Necessary
Chapter 29 Design: Necessary but not Sufficient

Part E: The Challenge

Chapter 30 Many Things Must Change
Chapter 31 Why Change Is Difficult
Chapter 32 People Will Mobilize for a Common Goal
Chapter 33 What Must change?
Chapter 34 The Dominance of Technology.
Chapter 35 The Future of Technology
Chapter 36 Dealing With Scale

Part F: What Needs to Be Done?

Chapter 37 What Can Be Done?
Chapter 38 What Can We Do?
Chapter 39 Complex Sociotechnical Systems: What Is the Answer?
Chapter 40 The Major Lessons of this Book

[1] © 2022 Don Norman