What a Design Researcher Can Teach You About the Art of Effective Listening

An interview with Ximena Vengoechea, author of ‘Listen Like You Mean It’

Jake Knapp

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Not long ago, I received an advance copy of a new book called Listen Like You Mean It. I quickly judged it by its cover (intriguing, fun), flipped through a few random pages (amazing illustrations, witty writing), then decided to actually read it. It was great, and also not what I expected.

The author, Ximena Vengoechea, is a design researcher as well as a writer. I’m a designer and writer. I don’t often get to talk to designers who write books, so I went out on a limb and emailed Ximena to see if I could ask her a few questions for an interview, and she said yes, so here it is:

Jake: I love Listen Like You Mean It. But I did not expect it to be such a personally useful book. I mean, I expected a business book — and it is a really good business book! — but I’ve found the ideas helpful for life in general. Like when I’m having conversations with my friends and family, not just at work, I’ll think “What would Ximena do?” So… how did the book turn out this way?

Ximena: Thank you! I love hearing that because that was exactly the goal; it was important to me that the book’s lessons be applicable across the many types of…

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Jake Knapp

Writer, designer, person. Author of SPRINT and MAKE TIME. Co-founder of character.vc. More at jakeknapp.com.