Help Me Choose a New Life Plan Book Cover (Round 2)

On Thursday, I posted the first round of new cover designs for Creating Your Personal Life Plan. Some 750 people took the survey. Even better, sixty people left detailed comments, telling me what they liked and disliked.

Second Round Images of Book Cover for Life Plan Book
I have taken all that input into consideration, and would like to get your vote on this second round of book cover comps. If you want to get straight to the survey, just scroll down this page and take it. It will take you less than 60 seconds.

in case you are interested in the process, I thought I’d also provide a little bit of the background. I am changing the format of my ebooks from a horizontal orientation to a vertical one. The reason for this is two-fold:

  1. The horizontal layout didn’t work well on e-readers. The best you could do was convert the PDF and that usually produced ugly results. In some cases the ebook was not readable.
  2. The horizontal layout didn’t work well when printed. The background images on the pages consumed a lot of ink. The design got in the way of usability.

So I am now converting everything from the horizontal format to a vertical one. I plan to do Creating Your Personal Life Plan first, then my Writing a Winning Book Proposal ebooks next.

Okay, so now for some specific comments about this round of cover comps. Here is my rationale for the design of today’s covers:

  • The tree cover received the most votes yesterday. However, several people pointed out that the image was just too close to the Site Organic ad in my sidebar. (Oops!) I agreed. So we picked a different image and then revised the cover to make it a little more modern.
  • The sail cover received the second most votes yesterday. The only thing we changed in this round was the subtitle in order to tie it into the sailing metaphor a little more.
  • The idea for the new GPS cover came from “Dave” in a comment yesterday. He said that the sextant cover was cool, but younger people may not know what the nautical instrument is or what it does. He suggested we use a GPS. We also changed the subtitle to tie into this metaphor.
  • Finally, a few people said that original subtitle—“How to Design the Life You’ve Always Wanted”—reminded them of a construction project. As a result, we tried a few images of blueprints, but, frankly, they seemed too predictable. Instead, we chose some architectural drawing instruments and used them as a metaphor.
So, which of the these new cover comps do you prefer? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Get My New, 3-Part Video Series—FREE! Ready to accomplish more of what matters? 2015 can be your best year ever. In my new video series, I show you exactly how to set goals that work. Click here to get started. It’s free—but only until Monday, December 8th.

Get my FREE video series now!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Michael Williams

    the GPS cover is boss. makes it look fun to read. by far the winner.

  • Charmaine

    The GPS is nice, but I must say that when I look at the cover it seems like the book will contain ‘work’ The Sail with the blue sky background draws the eye because it communicates a feeling of tranquility, yet the sails billowing in the wind gives the idea of progress and direction! I can almost say that it communicate the idea of hope, a plan and a future! 

    • Mischelle007

      I disagree. A GPS does all the work for you (theoretically); sailing requires a lot of work.

      But, the blue does suggest tranquility.

      • TNeal

        So you’re saying the sailing theme is the more accurate one. After all, charting a new course involves more than putting in a new address. :-)

        • Dave Anthold

          The ebook does require a great deal of introspection and thought that I would not necessarily describe as tranquil, and I think the GPS conveys the idea of journey and eventual destination with some re-routing taking place.

    • Ben Lichtenwalner

      I agree. The sails suggest hope and a sense of positive direction, empowered by the wind of your plan. It doesn’t hurt that your colors are blue and white either – among the most popular web design colors for a reason.

  • Jjamesthegaytonkirk

    option one. the book cover doesn’t look too “heavy” – When I see the cover I imagine I could pick option one up and look through it and more easily  find a section I want to read.

  • Denise Hartzler

    I love Option 3, the sail boat. It shows you the vastness of freedom that that comes with creating a life plan and it also gives you the sense that you are reaching for a higher goal in life…which is a better life. While I like the tree yesterday, not so much today. The problem I have are the fallen leaves. I guess it could represent leaving the past behind but the fallen leaves don’t really encourage me to reach a higher ground.  

    • Westley

      When the covers were being described, I had to go back and LOOK at #3 as I hadn’t seen a set of sails, just a geometric shape.

      • Deb

        Agree with Wesley. Didn’t even see a set of sails, just a shape. Glad it was explained that it was sails…although therein lies the problem, no? 

      • Lex

        Me too. Didn’t even notice it was sails until I read it.

  • Ken Bible

    I prefer the tree cover because it is the only one with a natural image with strong biblical overtones.

  • Michelle Porter

    I picked Option 1 by mistake.  I meant Option 2.  Sorry!

  • Intcede

    The tree cover definitely speaks to me of life and therefore would be good for a book about a life plan.

  • Anonymous

    I have used the life plan ebook with a small group and have found it to be very helpful. We had some great discussions and we wrote some good plans. Perhaps that is why I voted for #3 – to keep it familiar. My second choice would be #! – I especially like the subtitle – How to get from Here to Where You Want to Be. Thanks for all your ideas.

    • Michael Hyatt

      It might be possible to use the sail image with the GPS subtitle. I was thinking about that this morning.

      • Amy Riep

        That would be a great combo.  I bet if you post a mock-up for that you’ll get a lot of feedback with that as the first choice!

      • David Manning

        I love, love the sail, but would not mix metaphors.  Keep it clean – simple.  The GPS rocks!  If any thing on the GPS cover – I’d go to a blue based color scheme as it is consistent with your brand (and I believe that folks really like the blue part of the sail cover, it’s a subliminal thing).

    • Marysol

      I agree with the subtitle choice on the GPS

  • Spinach

    I was leaning towards the original blue/sail, but now I vote GPS.

  • Ellen Lambert

    Michael!  Thank you for sharing the process behind the process.  Great stuff.  I still love #3 and the sailing metaphor, and all that goes with our “voyages” through life.  The other three, and I’m trying to be delicate, look, common.  From textbooks to family trees.  The graphic and the partial sails just move me.  Just an opinion, thanks for asking!

  • Bob

    A Life Plan to me implies that I, the planner, have a modicum of control over the plan.  While I find eah of the covers attractive and meaningful in some way, I chose the GPS cover because it symbolizes the ability to change direction if I find a compelling reason to do so of if only on a whim.  The tree cover dew me in immediately because, well quite frankly, Trees are some of my favorite people and signify,to me foremost, stability.  But although trees change from seedlingto maturity, the path is always the same; a maple seed will reproduce a maple tree every time.  The sail cover symboilizes the vagaries of the wind and that my plan is too dependant on outside forces to create change ie; my direction.  And the protractor/ruler cover says to me the plan is cut and dried; follow the staight an narrow from start to finish.  So in the end, the GPS, the more modern of the symbols, says: you’re in control, let’s see where we can go and what we can achieve.

  • Jennifer@SurprisingJoy

    Daniel and I like the GPS cover. It looks current and clear. It’s by far our favorite! 

  • Trent Boyd

    In advertising, as you know, the key is to find something that “pops”.

    Your new GPS cover does just that.  There’s not even a close second. 

    btw – the link to the new sail cover goes to the new tree cover.  Though it really doesn’t matter since GPS rules.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I caught that error myself and fixed it. It should be working now. Thanks.

      • Trent Boyd

        Excellent.  I knew you would want to know if you didn’t.  Sure appreciate all that you do here online.

  • Live with Flair

    I think you’d appeal to a younger demographic with the option 4.  I think the 16-20 crowd needs to read this book, so you don’t want a tree or a sailboat or even the GPS for that matter.  Why not shoot for the younger crowd?  I’ve learned in my neighborhood that whatever our daughters and sons read, we read anyway!  You’d hit both age brackets if you shoot younger. 

  • Deanna

    The GPS cover wasn’t even in my top 2 last time and it got my vote today. Love the simplicity and clearness of the message. 

  • CandaceGH

    GPS.  Just the picture with the words “Life Plan” make me think “it can tell me how to get where I want to go.”

  • SXGraham

    The graphic implications of the tree are that we will grow and bear fruit.  The image is not hard and demanding in the same way that the other three are, and the tree cover looks less like a text book.  The addition of color is significant to its appeal.  The size of the book is undoubtedly 5×8, but it might be even more interesting if it were in a slightly larger format.

    • Michael Hyatt

      it is actually 6″ x 9″. Thanks.

  • C.C. Owens

    The sailboat cover immediately got my attention. I didn’t even realize it was a sailboat at first. It simply appeared to be an arrow pointing a direction to Life Plan. The deep blue background made the sail/arrow pop and drew me to it before I read any of the other covers.

  • Robert Brooks

    I like the architectural drawing instruments cover the best  because the goal is to build a life (it does take work). The GPS infers that we are just on a journey and we just travel; maybe we do need more than just a clear destination, we need a plan on how to get to that destination. The drawing instruments do infer a different level of effort, which might be more realistic, as the GPS infers simple, just turn it on and we are off and going. The GPS is a modern compass so it is still important for direction, so it is important as ‘one’ of our tools, but not the only one.

    The sailing metaphor works for people who sail or boat, but these days, most of us cannot even think in those terms. It infers to me an eastern USA culture; a regional theme. Sailing ships are part of our historical culture, but many no longer have an orientation, unfortunately, in that direction and have limited access to the details of that metaphor. I am a Mayflower descendent, so have taken the time and effort to study that ship and its associated history, but not all go there.

    The tree is important, but does infer; plant the seed and things happen, inferring too much of a dependence on the growing pr0cess alone.

    Another idea is a pile of bricks, based upon the Otis story of ‘What are you doing?’ laying bricks, building a building, building a cathedral.

  • Lissa

    I liked the tree and the sailboat. The other two seemed more masculine. And since there are more women readers (I think I’ve read this statistic several times), I’d opt for one of those two. On the first survey, I voted for the tree design. I like the new colors a little less, so for me the tree desgn is now equal to the sailboat, my previous second choice!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I am actually cross-tabbing these against the gender, so I am collecting that data. Right now the GPS cover is #1 with both men and women. In fact, more women are voting for it than men.

      • David Manning


  • Jhammer1014

    Couldn’t agree more with Chamaine. The sail gives the impression of what I was thinking, I was stalled out without any wind (plan) until your Life Plan was found by accident, immediately I thought of wind filling the sail and thought this could find a sense of direction. The tree cover derives more of a sense of growth, rather than a sense of direction and purpose. Just my humble opinion, ymmv. Thanks Michael for what you do. Jim

  • Paul Coughlin

    Hi Michael – I chose the tree image yesterday – but the GPS cover stands out as the best by far.

    It’s upbeat, modern looking, sharp bold colours reminiscent of the web 2.0 theme. Clean background, and image that we can immediately associate with direction towards destination. Successful completion of a journey…

    My bet is that this image will be a clear winner..  :-)

    Looking forward to the results..

    best of luck with the new cover.

  • Kimberley_hampton

    Hands down, the GPS cover! A favorite quote by Andy Stanley was my first thought…”Direction not intention determines destination!” That cover for me drives home to idea that we need to pay attention to the road we walk. I used to deliver flowers…before we had GPS we used key maps and can I tell u even w/ a key map how many times I wasted hours lost! This book is like a personal roadmap is it not?

  • Bill

    I agree with the commentor who said younger people would identify more with the GPS. After all the younger you are when you start on your life plan the, the more time you have to make it work. But, I’m an over 60 geek who just did his life plan after reading the book and discovered that I still have a lot of good stuff to do yet. So it works for all ages. I vote for the GPS.

  • conniereece

    When I first saw the four thumbnails at the top of the post, my eye was immediately drawn to the GPS cover, even though at that size I couldn’t tell it was a GPS system. I still like it best when looking at the larger images. There is not enough contrast between the text/background on the tree and sailboat covers (and I would not have recognized that as a sailboat). The 4th one looks too technical. BTW, the GPS cover appealed to me and I’m not the younger generation; I’d be in the women 55-64 category. Perhaps it’s the aging eye, but on the GPS cover the title “pops.” That’s what would cause me to pick it up and browse in a bookstore. And here, I speak with decades of experience. :)

  • Steven Hocker

    Although I will forever be a fan of the sailing theme; I have to go with GPS for two reasons. First, the sub-title defines the content better. Second, I believe your readership and prospective users skew to a younger demographic. The design and imagery speak to that audience better than the other designs.

  • Kay Camenisch

    I like the sail by far. It visually and emotionally moves me to the future. The others I had to stop and think about. Initially, I saw the sail as a road–artistically drawn–into the future. (I did wonder how they came up with that image for a road, but I like it.) The others make sense and are fine, but the sail draws me in and forward.
    If you go with the tree, I’d make it fuller, more alive, maybe with fruit, and without the fallen leaves.

  • Kelly

    I vote for the GPS cover. I would definately pick it up in a bookstore to see what it is about. My least favorite is the design tools (I would pass right over it) and the tree did not appeal to me either. I did like the sails as well as it lends itself to the fact that sometimes God intervenes and changes the course of our well laid plan.  

  • John Lambert

    Number one is fun.  Number three is stately.  Number two is stable.  Nah, on number four.  So, as much as I want to be stately and serious; I think I need fun…so number one it is.

  • Gregory

    I like the Tree it shows growth & life, the GPS is fun but kinda looks busy, the sail gets lost in the cover and from a distantce you can’t tell what it is the last one really looks like a Job and hard work. life is work but we shouls enjoy it not look at it as it’s a job

    • Trent Boyd

      I couldn’t agree more.  I think the Sail gets lost.

  • Phyllis Dolislager

    No. two is very much TODAY. I’m glad to see that you included some new options.
    Although I liked the tree, it’s been used A LOT.
    Good for you for being so open to input.

  • Brian McMillan

    I vote for the GPS, as it implies that the reader may have some control on the destination. Metiphorically however, anyone who has ever used a GPS device and got lost would agree, the device dsigned route can change along the way. The GPS should be used as a guide along with observation and paying attention. Great exercise, thanks for inviting our coments.

  • Will Laohoo

    I like the tree cover the best. I think the colors on it are just right. The GPS and ruler/protractor covers look like too much color contrast, and the sailboat cover looks like not enough. I also like the font better on the tree cover.

    Hope this helps!

  • Kathy Fuller

    First off, this is an excellent book (I’m assuming this is the one that was available for download at one time). Second, I think the tree cover has several things going for it–1) the colors are soothing, it references nature, and it gives the image of growth, which your life plan should help you do, 2) it will appeal to both male and female readers, and  3) it denotes reflection, as opposed to the other covers, which look more like workbooks. Since making a life plan involves a lot of reflection and inner examination, imo the tree cover conveys what’s inside the book. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, this is the same book (with some small revisions). It is still available free to new subscribers. Thanks for your input.

  • Anonymous

    I hang with the GPS crowd that is affirming it to be the best…especially with regard to the subtitle comment.  It’s also cleaner, more intriguing, and says, “Yes!  Let’s go!!  Let’s get into living life in the right directions!!!”

  • Anonymous

    So, the thing about the sail cover is that it isn’t immediately clear what the sails are.  I don’t know that you could necessarily confuse them with anything else, but you might have a “manna” moment since it’s only part of the picture.

    I kind of like the drafting tools, but it doesn’t quite work. I know it’s cliche, but since the arrangement of the tools looks like a “P,” you might have looked into using the tools to make the “P” in “Plan.” Whenever I’ve looked at a “design” subject with a construction metaphor, I’ve usually considered drafting out the letters (with all the guide circles for serifs, etc.).

    My big thing on the tree image is the green background. Just focusing in on the title of #1 and #2 (same fonts, different color), it’s amazing how much difference is made just by the white background and a more engaging color for the titles. At this point, GPS for me.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Great input. Thanks.

  • John Richardson

    Looking at the small icons at the top of your post, the deep blue sail cover stands out and is an instant favorite. When you look at each one individually full size and are able to read the tag lines, I like the GPS cover better. It’s clean, simple, and will resonate with a wider demographic. This might be a good trial for A/B landing page testing.

    Since you are changing formats, what software and layout are you going to use? I really liked your “Keynote” slides in the previous version on my wide screen monitor, but I can see how that would be a problem on e-readers and use a lot of ink while printing. It seems like using “Pages” on a Mac might be a good way to go with the vertical format since it will automatically output in an e-book format. I’m in the process of formatting a book now, so any advice would certainly be appreciated.

    • Michael Hyatt

      John, thanks for your input. The A/B testing might be the next step.

      Yes, I am using Pages with minimal formatting. I plan to create an E-book Publishing Kit that will include step-by-step instructions and several templates, including ones for the cover. (I did those in Keynote.)

      • John Richardson

        Wow, the E-book kit sounds great. It’s interesting, now that I’ve thought about it more, the sail cover reminds me of a financial planning document like you would see from Fidelity or Schwab. This would probably skew this towards an older demographic. The GPS brings it down about 20 years to the 20-30s age group. A/B would be really interesting at this point to see who actually clicks through.

        • Michael Hyatt

          I think you just killed the sail cover for me! I like #1 because it kind of reinvents the whole thing and also positions me in a different way. So much to consider!

          • John Richardson

            As someone working on a couple of e-books, your comments are gold today! Very insightful. If nothing else, the street map type page background would use less ink than the sail would. I think you could use a mapping diagram as chapter headings throughout your book, with each chapter moving along, turning corners, and finally arriving at your destination at the end. Fun stuff!

        • Marysol

          John, you nailed it! That’s exactly what that cover has been reminding me of. I feel like I’m handling Merrill Lynch brochures.

          • Cameron L.

            Incidentally, as a member of a slightly younger demographic (recently turned 30), I see the GPS as already outdated (most of my friends use their smart phones for getting around), if they use anything at all. So there’s that. But also, one of the main problems I have with the GPS is that the device connotes a sense of passivity and possibly mindless submission. After all, with a GPS, you don’t need to know how to get anywhere; just type in your destination and, presto, you’ll get there! Doesn’t seem the GPS requires much intentional planning at all.

          • Joni Hannigan

            I think GPS is being used here as a generic terms. The device on the cover could easily be a Google map on a hand held device. I use Mapquest on my iPhone or Google Map on my Ipad, but the ideas are the same–I think!

          • Joni Hannigan

            I would think a cover that could attract the Merrill Lynch type and the GPS type would be genuis.  Why not try to combine and streamline? Sounds like the principles of the content are applicable across demographics–so perhaps the cover should be as well. I think that’s the stretch here.

  • Tom Tanner

    Love the GPS cover.  Hats off to Dave for the great idea!  Fits perfectly the technology rich environment we now live in.  Prayers for your book.   Tom Tanner

  • Annetta WIlliams

    Prefer the tree cover.  Natural, and reminds me of our need to sink our roots deep into God’s Word to survive any life challenges.

  • Ron

    Yesterday I said “sail”, and still like that one, but today I say GPS. GPS is a pretty universal thing in today’s world – we can all relate to it.   Also, hate to be a critic because I love your work, but I work in the architectural realm and the instruments on that cover are fairly ‘low grade’ like you’d see in a high school. Architects would use much finer drawing instruments than that, and you’d never see the colored translucent type of stuff on their desk.  

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for the input. I picked those instruments because I thought the colors were interesting. Regardless, that cover is losing the poll. It has only received 7 votes out of 173 so far, so it is probably dead. Thanks again.

      • Debteleha

        I like number 4 because of the translucent colors as well as the theme of planning out and building your life.

  • Chris MacKinnon

    The GPS cover is great. Simple. Illustrates the point. I think it appeals to a more than Christian audience.

    As you change all of your covers, are you planning on keeping a similar feel for all three, or just the book proposals? Again, I think the GPS style would be best if you are looking at doing all three with continuity. You could change colors and image, but keep the same feel.

    • Michael Hyatt

      The book proposal ebooks will likely be similar to one another, but different than the life plan one. I also have one written on managing email. It will also be different.

      • Chris MacKinnon

        I thought that might be the case.

        Have you considered adding your MH logo as a brand identifier, kind of like Seth Godin does with the Domino Project books?

  • Angela Buikema

    I voted for the sail yesterday, but today I voted for the GPS.  More modern and more gender neutral.  The subtitle “Life You’ve Always Wanted” reminds me of the title of a John Ortberg book.

  • Mary

    I liked the cover with the architectural drawing tools at first but it made me think of all the times I try to use a formula for life and it just doesn’t work.  Then I was drawn to the tree … a tree grows how it wants but there are things we can control with pruning, good watering, etc. That made me smile and want to open your book to check it out.

    The GPS cover is cool too but it didn’t draw me in the way the first two did.

  • Travis Dommert

    I was a big fan of the original…which drew me immediately to the sail, but the nav is fresh and current, and the colors pop.  #1 or #3.  Nice work!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Those are the two that seem to be winning!

  • Bcole39

    I vote for the GPS cover. It is clean and to the point.

  • Marysol

    You know, I wasn’t over the moon about either of the first round. 

    But that GPS one makes the most sense and would jump out at me on a store shelf. Could we see a round 3? Options on variations of whichever one you choose.

    Thoughts from a mid 20’s woman: 
    – The rulers one looks too “schoolish”
    – The nautical has a “50+ year old men read this book only” or “retirement” feel
    – The tree one comes across too “gardening”

    Sorry if some of that comes across as strong, but hope that helps!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. That is very helpful. I am not sure I will do a round 3. I was hesitant to even do a round 2. I don’t want to wear my readers out.
      However, I am going to test covers for my new Platform book, which is a completely different project. Thanks.

  • Pitch Joseph Arunsuwannakorn

    I vote for the GPS cover..

  • Facinggrace Com

    Spelling error: 
    Help me (Choose) not Chose =D

    I liked option 2. You are a real encouragement, thanks for letting me see that even professionals make mistakes.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Argh. Well, at least it is in the Title where it is obvious to everyone! #Fail.
      I just fixed it. However, I am not changing the URL, because it will mess up a gzillion other things.
      Thanks for pointing this out.

  • Josie Dyck

    I like the sail cover – it seems clean and fresh, like bright prospects are on the horizon.

  • Misty

    Michael, I like #3 because it seems to fit you, your blog and the original book.  The others seem too much like a drawing and not a real image. My 2nd vote would be #1 because it fits the picture fits the title best out of the other 3.  Thanks for giving us the opportunity to give you feedback!

  • Jamie (Lionstand)

    The GPS cover looks great but it doesn’t have the same feel as to who you are. When I think of Michael Hyatt I think of option 3. The blue immediately caught my eye and looks the most professional.

  • Jonathan

    I voted (again) for the top of the mast option. It ties very well to the theme of the book (glad to see it’s going horizontal) but also for a very personal reason. I love sailing, and do it as often as I can because it is wonderful when you’re moving along with only the sound of the wind and the waves. When you look at the sails and you naturally look toward the top of the mast the majesty of it all sinks in. When you stop at the top you realize you are looking straight up at the heavens, and it becomes to me an antenna to God. Many of my life’s decisions have come to fruition as I pray looking at the mast on the top of my boat.

  • Kris Wood

    I am instantly drawn to the GPS cover. The metaphor is quickly understood and the clean lines of the layout are appealing. It *will* get dated in time b/c the “look” of the GPS itself will be “so 2011″ in a very few years. (Think how we now view “brick” mobile phones, old computers, etc.) That said, I still would go for it.  

  • Melisaoliberman

    In my opiniom, the sail cover is the only one that is in line with your brand. The others dont look like a product youve produced. If another choice wins (eg GPS), then I’d recommend changing it to the dark blue background.

  • Dave M

    I voted for the GPS cover.  Not just because I suggested it, but I like the subtitle best.    However…I still like the color pallet of the sail cover best.  It is clean and stands out.  I think the subtitle on the GPS cover should be a bit larger.  It is a key statement.  Also, I noticed you are using different fonts for your name.  I would try and use something that is close to the font on your blog.  Work toward “branding” your name.

    Mike, you should know from my days at Parable,  I will always want to tweek a book cover.  

    • Michael Hyatt

      I actually don’t want it to look too much like my blog. I think it will get lost. Also, I have many more books coming, so I don’t want to be limited by the blog. I have worked with several authors in the past who tried to stick with the whole branding thing on their books. I initially supported it, but I think it eventually cost them, because readers thought they’d read the book before.
      Thanks for your input!

  • gerrie

    Design 1 is my choice for its simplicity and you don’t have to guess what it is (I’m still battling with the sail image).  The other two are rather everydayish.

  • Louise

    A difficult choice – there’s lots of good points for each design! The drawing instruments were well presented, the sail has a sleek, eye-catching look, the tree speaks of a wholistic result (fruit as opposed to destination), but I thought overall the GPS stood out best – highly recognisable in what it’s for and to the widest possible audience.

  • Jim Shaw

    Option 1-The Tree-Two dogmatic as the image is over used for religious purposes, Option 3-The Sail-Makes me feel someone just won the lottery, Option 4-The Measuring Instruments-Seems VERY masonic, so I vote for Option 2-The G.P.S.-Its’ modern, refreshing, and I like the direction attributes.

  • Diane Stortz

    What matters most of course is getting the book picked up off the “shelf”–not a virtual shelf in this case but one where ALL the books are face out. The GPS cover has the freshest look; I feel like I’ve seen all the others before. Maybe add some text to the map for a bit more realism, or show the app on a phone instead, especially if you’re going for younger adult readers. 

  • kwjones

    I chose the GPS cover for at least two reasons: 1) the cover was more fun and modern, and, more importantly, 2) the sub-title “How to Get From Here to Where You Want to Be” is clear, and applicable to everyone who picks up the book. For me, hands down for the GPS cover……

  • Donna Maria Coles Johnson

    Oh, so definitely the sails. What better picture to depict charting a course than a sail? The smart phone is just too techie, makes me think the content is going to be more shiny bells and whistles than substance. The tree is a nice idea of course, but the colors in the image are a bit on the “eh” side. They just don’t pop. The architectural theme is ho hum. I don’t want to draw, Michael. I want to sail!

  • gerrie

    Design 1 is my choice for its simplicity in depicting life (I am still battling just with properly perceiving the sail image).  The other two are rather everydayish?

  • Veronica Jones-Brown

    I like both Option 2 and Option 3. I selected Option 2 as my final choice because the subtitle “A Strategy for Developing A More Fruitful Life” appealed to me more than the subtitle “Chart the Course to A Better Life”.

  • Michelle

    The sail cover is a beautiful image that really captures the
    “what a great life” feeling for me, It actually feels inspiring! 

  • Lori Tracy Boruff

    I like the GPS option. The subtitle “How to…” suggests a specific route to follow. I would purchase your book to help me get to my destination. I use my GPS all the time!

  • Cameron L.

    There have been a number of books that have come out in the past year or so with trees on the cover, so I’d steer clear of that option myself. My preference is for the cover depicting the sail on the blue background, because 1) it’s more lyrical than the GPS, and 2) it’s more believable in terms of what a book on creating a life plan can deliver. What I mean is that the GPS communicates to me a precision that we can’t necessarily expect from life–even when we’ve done a very good job planning. The winds have a way of blowing where they want to, and so does the Holy Spirit.

  • Bert Webb

    1. I like the tree cover, but I’m not sure how strong the link is between a tree and developing a life plan. It would be more appropriate, I think, if one were “growing” a life plan or “growing into” one. The link, however, is fuzzy with “designing” one. Perhaps a pic of a well-designed orchard would be a better link.

    2. The cover with the GPS is confusing. It makes me wonder if this is a technology-based process that will require tools like smart phones or iPads. One might pass it by because they don’t have these devices simply because of the pic.

    3. I like overall design of this one, but the sailing metaphor is not a strong link to the concept of “designing” as a sail implies being driven by the wind. Perhaps it would be more appropriate in a book about navigating against the prevailing winds of life. That being said, however, the overall composition works. It brings weight to the bottom of the cover design and grabs the eye and, with the perspective view, it moves the eye toward the title and author’s name. (Yeah, artist is one of the many hats I wear and, yes, I have a degree in art)

    4. The metaphor of the graphic artists drawing tools really works for me as it ties in the planning aspect of designing a new life. To me, the concept is the best of the four. The execution, however, is a little simplistic and flat. I’d go with a photograph of a drafting table top with drafting tools strategically placed to allow the copy to fit in the open spaces between them, keeping the rules of good composition in mind to use the drafting tools to grab the viewer’s eye and sweep it toward the title.

    There’s my 2-cents! :)

  • Dave

    Option 1 is very current and almost everyone will identify with a GPS.  It is not just for the younger generation, I am 58. 
    As far as I am concerned, your name sells the book to me, but we know that “Eye Appeal” is critical in marketing and we have very little tie to get the buyer’s attention.

    Dave Gorden
    Certified Speaking Professional
    Member Speakers Hall of Fame
    President, National Speakers Association 1999-2000

  • Anonymous

    Option #1.  It was a much easier decision this time.

    • Anonymous

      BTW, I would love to see the breakdown by gender on the votes.  In publishing, are books ever printed with two different covers for that reason?  

      • Michael Hyatt

        So far, gender doesn’t seem to be impacting the vote. #1 is the clear winner (so far). #3 is second.
        In publishing, we don’t usually print with two covers. Managing the physical inventory would be tough. However, in the digital world, this might possibly change.

  • Steve_karum

    Far and away the best cover is the GPS!

  • Cindy

    I like the tree concept. It’s organic and brings to mind the whole point of life … which is to bear fruit. However, the colors in the second round seem limp to me. Bearing fruit is not for the faint of heart! The others give the impression that we are in control from start to finish, which, as most of us have or will experience, is just not true.

  • Curtis O Fletcher

    My first impression was that the GPS and the Architecture one speak to arriving at a finish line. I use GPS to get somewhere and drawing tools to produce a design that is done. The tree and the sail speak to the growth and the journey. (Yes, GPS is ‘journey’ too but the object is to shorten the journey!)
    Metaphorically I’d lean towards either the tree or the sail then. But I’m an old guy. My guess is that a younger audience would run with the GPS…so it depends on your target market. It seems you’d have larger audience appeal across age ranges with the sail. The tree is ‘growth’ but the sail is ‘journey and experience’. Younger audiences probably don’t tie into growth as much as journey and experience and older audiences are grown  :)  so journey and experience work there too.

  • Rick Womack

    GPS cover is the most attractive in my opinion. The tree looks too “antique-y” – the sail looks to “corporate” – the instruments has your name as the first place my eyes “landed”

    • Michael Hyatt

      Your comment reflects the current consensus. Thanks.

  • Andrew

    I prefer no.3, but the light blue subtitle makes it a bit harder to read

  • pastorbrett

    I started out thinking about aesthetics, but the reality is that they are all excellent aesthetically. So my thinking shifted to theology, and I began focusing on the subtitles. The idea of the fruitful life seems to line up most with God’s desire for our lives:

    “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” – John 15.8, NKJV

  • IDave63

    I like the sail over the tree for your cover because, in today’s world, “roots” are getting increasing more difficult to establish.  You set a course for your life and adjust that course according to the winds that blow.  Thus, the sail, to me, is a better symbol for how you set your course for a “port” and “trim your sails” to tack with the winds that blow so that you still reach your destination.

  • Sherri Lynne Stone

    I really like the tree cover for several reasons. First I like that the picture indicates growth, which is the point of the life plan, and roots, which are necessary to stand firm, stay grounded and strong, and survive during hard times. I also like that the subtitle mentions being fruitful. That for me has personal, spiritual meaning, as  bearing fruit is an indicator of the work of God in every aspect of my life.  Enjoyed the survey. 

  • Pat Y

    I like the sail image best; I think it’s the most visually arresting. 

    • Michael James Murphy

      GPS cover is the strongest, however, I’d recommend using a smartphone screen rather than the generic GPS device. More people use their iPhone or Droid for GPS directions these days. This cover is clean and will pop in thumbnail format or on a retail shelf. The other three look like stereotypical Christian book designs..very old school. Michael, you are a cutting-edge and culturally guy. Your design brand should be a reelection of your personal brand.. Pardon my frank comment, but the other comps look like predictable Christian publisher leadership books…you’re better than that, bro! (I’m grinning) Sorry, just being honest.

      I’m a devoted tribe member, Michael. Refine and rock with the GPS cover.

      Michael James Murphy
      Las Vegas (former Nashvillian)

  • Susan

    I like the GPS cover the best. 

  • Cynthia Herron

    Initially, I leaned more toward Option 2 with the tree because–well, it’s just very pretty visually. But I believe Option 3 with the sail captures the essence your book better and speaks professionalism.

  • Linda Whitlock

    I agree with Robert Brooks. I like the architectural instruments the best because I, too, think the metaphor is a better fit for what you’re actually doing. When you’re the architect, you’re the one in control. When you use a GPS, you plug in the destination and the GPS does the work, putting you, it thinks, on the shortest route. Of course, you can override it, but only if you already know where you’re going. I think the GPS cover is popular with so many people simply because it’s technology and everyone thinks technology is cool. But uncritical acceptance of technology is not such a good thing and letting your life be guided by it could be a very bad thing. Better to maintain control and build your own life and keep the technology as just one of the many tools you use along the way.

  • Jerry

    The sail boat is the most distinctive, eye catching, rich color, and yes, “feels enjoyable.” For me, the other three are predictable compared to the sail boat and its color.

  • Pam Cain

    Love the sail image.  It has a sense of forward movement and progress.  Speaks to my heart more than a GPS.  Creating a life plan should speak to our heart and challenge us!

  • Kelly

    I like the gps, that cover draws my eyes to it. It’s colorful and makes me want to read it

  • David Grissen

    Michael, I like the sail cover.  The tree is “too busy” and makes the cover look cheap.  The sail with the blue looks elegant and something I’d like to have on my book shelf, or laying around the living room, or on my desk.  Besides, having a Navigator background, I like sail boats anyway. :)  So I’d go with sail from design, elegance, and emotion.

  • David Grissen

    Sorry — didn’t see the GPS cover.  I still like the sail among all the three you showed for the same reasons.

  • Agsteward

    Hey Michael,

    I finally downloaded, printed, punched the holes for your e-book which I put in its own three-ring binder — then I actually read and marked it! Thank you for writing it. It was excellent and I really do appreciate you taking such care and investment in a book you’re actually giving away. I’ve done some minor action-task from it but have yet to schedule my 2-day planning time alone.

    As for your new cover, I like two — the Blue one on with an unidentifiable something in the lower half, and the green one with a tree. My guess that more business/professional people and men will pick the Blue #3, and more women, artists and creative non-business types will pick the Green-Tree #2. Sorta depends on the market you wanna target. Question: Why not let the reader pick between the two? If it continues to be a free down-load…why not just let them click on either cover. I didn’t print mine in color anyway. Given that “deep greens and blues are the colors I choose” not sure which I’d have picked. Given the Scriptural-progress imagry of the Tree — probabally the gree-Tree #2…and I’m male! God keep you,

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, David. Because I cross-tabbed the survey, I can see how men are voting compared to women. Right now, both groups have made the same choices, with only slightly different percentages. #1, the GPS cover, is winning, followed by #3, the Sail cover.
      With regard to giving the reader pick, the problem is that I would have to lay out two completely different ebooks, since I intend to use the design elements of the cover inside the book. In addition, all the collateral advertising images, landing pages, etc. would have to change. Not sure how I would manage two sets.
      Thanks for your input.

  • Karen

    Definitely the Sail.  It gives me a feeling of peace but also the idea of progress and moving forward.  I love it.  I don’t like the GPS at all – reminds me too much of work and I already work too many hours a day!   Best regards, Karen

  • Riete Nijdeken

    I love the sail cover, #3. It’s really, really nice and draws your attention immediately. I don’t like the subtitle on #4 … it gives the impression life is makable to perfection and we all know that’s not case :)

  • Shari Brown

    Looking a little ahead, the GPS may be on it’s way out.  In three years I am guessing some people will not recognize the GPS because of mobile devices navigation systems.  Also, because I am a photographer, I believe I enjoy the sail image more, I would much rather see a jpeg than a graphic.  

  • Sue Steege

    Tree, for sure!

  • Amy in MT

    The sail jumped out at me. The dark blue with the sail flowing upward toward the heavens is a beautiful metaphor even without words. Maybe make it a bit more obvious they are sails? I knew it, but will everyone??
    The GPS cover is my second choice. Because of it’s obvious mapping image. I did like the tree at first glance, but seeing the larger image just didn’t do it for me. I wouldn’t pick it up off the shelf to peruse it further, wheeze I definitely would pick up the sails, and I would most likely purchase it.

  • levittmike

    The GPS cover is growing on me.  I liked the tree cover yesterday, but mostly due to the roots of the tree, which symbolizes the need for a strong foundation, to provide growth.

    Thanks for letting us choose your book cover!  

    Have a blessed weekend!

  • Beth West

    The tree cover is just fine, but in the thumbnail I’m looking at, it looks like there are apples on the ground and in my middle-aged stage of life, that reminds me too much of autumn and things coming to an end.  Maybe because I’m an artist, the GPS and architectural covers just don’t appeal to me.  The sail boat cover however makes me think of wind in my sails, fresh air and open expanses.  If I were faced with 4 life plan books on a shelf, the one with the boat is the one I would pick up!

  • Kim Blanchette

    Looking at the four choices side-by-side, my eye is drawn to #3 because of the intense blue background, and blue is such a calming color.  I like the idea of the GPS, and its subtitle better though.  “How to get from here” would apply to anybody, wherever they are in their life journey.  I just wish it wasn’t against a stark white background.  I voted for #1.

  • Maria holderdavis

    I love the GPS cover #1. On the 1st round of voting I chose the cover with the sail but this time I changed my mind because the GPS is current and more people can understand the message of the book. The GPS simply explains your message….getting from here to there.

  • Wes Comer

    As a graphic designer, I have to say that the most popular choice scares me. It’s looks dated already and too much like every other “let’s capitalize on the iDevice-and-technology-look craze” cover on the shelves. If Borders were still alive (God rest her soul) I’d fully expect to see that cover with a red discount sticker on it, sitting lonely and sad on the shelves in the lobby, begging someone to put it out of its misery…

    But I digress…

    Covers #2 & #3 are nice. I think #3 fits with the content better, and feels more sure. The GPS seems like you’re saying, “Here’s the latest gimmick to fix up your life.” Cover #3 says, “For thousands of years, ships have kept their course correct by using simple tools such as a compass and accurate charts.” I feel like I can trust its content more.

    Cover #4 is just horrible (no offense to the designer).

    Don’t cheapen the content with a bubblegum cover. Think John Maxwell.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your input. If there’s one thing I have learned through this process is that people have strong opinions! The cool thing about a digital cover is that it doesn’t have to last forever. It can be changed whenever it starts to get dated. Just a thought.

  • Alvin S

    I work in the book distribution industry. My company both distributes and merchandises inspirational books in retail outlets. As a general rule of thumb, covers that catch the eye, and have a lighter color palette tend to to better. In my opinion, covers #1 & #4 do the best at this. #3 is dark, but handsome. It probably would get passed over by younger readers. #2 is the least attractive, due to the color palette and graphical styling. But I can see how some would see it as “funky attractive”. #1 is definitely my favorite.

  • Laurapolk

    I like the GPS cover BY FAR. The others seem to target an older crowd, whereas the GPS could target any age group. Also, the tree image (or images like it) seem overused to me. Since the “Purpose Driven Life” series a few years ago, I’m completely over this whole tree thing. It would actually lead me to believe that what was inside was more of the same. I vote GPS. Modern. Cool. Appeals to a broader group. :)

  • Kim

    Prefer the tree cover–makes me think of the “tree of life”; GPS requires too much thought to make the connection, the sails aren’t immediately clear what they are; and the math tools make it look like too much work

  • Tony

    The Tree, without question –   for me as a Christian it signifys good fruits. Start off right the first time.

  • Brent

    I liked the tree cover the most. It makes me think of planning so that I can be rooted and produce good fruit. The Sail is always good. One can think of planning for the good and bad sailing weather. The ocean, like life, is a dangerous place. The GPS caught my attention, but personally I use one so I don’t have to plan. This seemed incongruous to me. The Ruler just reminded me of school, which doesn’t make me think of planning, just reacting to someone else’s plans for me.

  • Chris

    At first I was torn because I like the color scheme of #3 – it’s clean.  However, in looking at the GPS cover, I love the clean separation of the Maxwell quote, the title/subtitle, and your name.  It is just much better that way and much crisper.

    Wonder what it would look like if you used the blue for the background of the Maxwell quote and your name – and matching blue for the arrow in the GPS – if that is easily possible?

    Of the 4 today – the GPS is clearly the best due to that separation.


  • James

    The sail cover for me. Good analogy for life the wind changes but you keep tacking or running to your destination!!

  • Lauren

    I love #1! It is so contemporary and speaks to our modern, tech-filled environment. I also really connect to the tagline more than I do to the sailing language. Thanks for creating the updated eBook—I really wanted to print a hard copy but the amount of ink required definitely discouraged me from doing so. I appreciate all your insights!

  • Lynn

    I liked both the GPS and the Sail. Overall the Sail version is my favorite because it conveys a feeling of aspiration and freedom.   At first I liked the GPS but decided it felt too much like ‘another’ self help.

  • Nelson Keener

    All the covers are well designed from a layout standpoint. The problem I have with the GPS is that the instrument design will be out of date in 18 months or less. Plus cars and smart phones have GPS; so the need for the separate device is wanning.

    The architect instruments are too angular. The sail version feels rather corporate and executive oriented although the sculpturesqe sweep of the sail is intriguing and holds my attention to figure it out.

    The tree is the most organic and warm. I don’t have a problem with the failing leaves because they are part of a renewable cycle; a reality of life; feels/looks more intergenerational and graceful.

    • Nelson Keener

      Oh, and I wanted to note that the ruler/protractor give me the impression that the process of planning is technical and scientific

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks Nelson. I actually took the leaves on the ground to be fruit. ;-)

  • Edi Balian

    Without a doubt the GPS cover stands out.
    It pops out to you and the other ones don’t even come close.

    The tree reminds of an organic food promo/ad – overused!

    The blue cover reminds me of oldschool ’03 powerpoints for people who don’t
    know how to use PowerPoint. They would jump to the blue background.
    Seen way too many of those.

    The last one is just confusing and hard to make out.
    No clarity or first glance attention grabbing.

    It might help to ask someone’s age group and interests.
    I’m in my late 30’s and a bit of a media–magazine-book- Internet junkie!!!

  • Rsr777

    I like the image of the Sail best…BUT…I think what’s missing is MORE LIFE  in the colors you are using…The color of the book seems a little to0 conservative…since the book is about LIFE…could we bring more LIFE into the color of the book and still use the Sail image?    Nothing special about the tree…have  seen it used too many times.

    –Sharon Roam

  • Dan

    I really liked the cover with the tree.  Rather than a quick “how do I get there?” to me it speaks to longevity, healthiness, change of seasons (maybe that’s where I am).  Seems clearer and more direct.  I didn’t like the GPS – maybe caters to youth too much.  To me it says “I need to get there, what’s the quickest way?”  

    I think the content of the book has more to do with getting it right than getting there quickly.  The architectural tools makes it seem more complicated.  

    If I were to choose this book by it’s cover I would pick up and look at either a tree (tree of life) or the sail (getting to my destination doing what I enjoy).  

    Michael, thanks for asking.  

  • Melissa Wiechmann

    Visually, the tree cover is the least jumbled looking, although the fallen leaves do not represent what the book is about, dead leaves are not good.  Perhaps a more vibrant, full tree with no dead leaves on the ground (or some flowers below the tree showing that what dropped from the tree bloomed and the tree is fertile, like your life will be if you create this life plan) would be a better illustration.  Also, the green in the title does not “pop” enough.
    The GPS cover comes in second for me, but I feel that a small GPS like that will be dated in a year or so, but at that point you could update the cover.  The spacing of the type and the use of colors is the best out of all the books.
    The type on the blue book does not look “expensive” enough (sorry, I am a Penguin Classics design fan, etc.), but perhaps if the title were all in white and the quote and your name in the blue, I could get over it.  The proportions seem off as well.  I think my eye is looking for the words and images to be divided in 1/3’s
    The “neon” cover has too much white space and the colors are not vibrant enough for that color scheme.  For what you are trying to portray, I think the cover should really “pop”

  • Kel

    The first thing that came to my mind the other day was a picture of an old sailing ship, something along these lines: still prefer the sailing metaphor, but if you’re going to go with the construction project metaphor, move the ruler from the top to the bottom and you get LP.  Considering all the stories about people following GPSs into swamps and onto logging roads in the middle of winter never to be seen again, I’m not sure that’s the metaphor you’re looking for – my $0.02.

  • Erica McNeal

    I voted for number 3, because I want to buy a boat and in order to buy a boat, I need a plan! Ok, maybe I am a creature of habit and this one reminds me of the first one. I like the continuity!

  • Daguirrem

    I do love option 1 if I think in younger generation as the wide target audience. The No. 3 is beautiful but not many new gen readers will identified  with sailing.

  • Mike

    I imagine the GPS cover will resonate with many consumers today . The metaphor promises a step by step guide. The cover invites a sense of immediate and quick when it comes to plans. This cover emphasizes “plan.”

    The sail and tree covers might emphasize “life” over “plan.” Life is something seasonal, cultivated (interesting that it looks like early fall – midlife – that the tree represents). Life requires a faithfulness over time, pruning, watering, fertilizing…

    Sailing to is an art. A sailboat is not a rowboat – meaning harnessing the wind takes us farther than just our own controlled paddling. Sailing is about reading the signs of the present to move one forward.

    Bottomline: The GPS will probably be the most popular cover. The tree and sail probably more metaphorically honest. 

  • Angie Ward

    I love the GPS cover. It is clean and immediately evokes emotion that it will provide clear direction. In my opinion, the other three are too “big picture.” I understand that the purpose of a life plan IS to provide big-picture clarity, but the GPS to me symbolizes more tangible, immediate steps leading me to where I want to go — i.e., the “plan” and not the “destination.” I’m concerned many readers would think the big-picture stuff is too…well, big-picture or abstract and therefore unattainable. The tree image is too common, the design a little too “busy,” the colors not as appealing. The boat is too masculine and doesn’t evoke clarity. The architectural tools look more like my elementary-aged son’s pencil box.

    Thanks for the opportunity to provide feedback!

  • Renee

    The GPS got my vote today . . . and I’d like to see a picture of a real GPS, rather than clip art. Even tho the tree represents stability and being grounded, it also says slooow growth.

  • Anonymous

    The GPS is my fave. It’s the best metaphor of the options and best communicates what you’re going for.  The sail just doesn’t connect, even though I love the blue.  The ruler option is a bit busy and the colors don’t read well.  Plus, your name is lost in the design due to the color and competition with other elements. To be blunt, you’re Michael Hyatt. Your brand name is going to sell many copies alone.  Play it up!  I like the tree/seed-taking-root idea but I don’t think it’s the best metaphor for “life plan.”  To me, a plan is akin to a map, while a tree is a better metaphor for growth. 

  • Amy Riep

    The GPS cover is my top pick.  I can think of several books with a similar tree image and it just feels overdone (starting back with Purpose Driven Life). The GPS design is relevant, fresh and eye catching.  I’m in my mid 30’s – and this cover would get my attention!

  • Jerry

    GPS it is! I liked the sextant, but not the colors with it. It tells me were are going some where. I don’t want to put down roots where I am. There are places I still want to go.

  • Bruce Hamsher

    I like the blue sail cover…it gives a directional lean without a rigid, specific roadmap feel.

  • Bill Roberson

    I voted for the sextant in round one but I do like the GPS idea. The one thing that seems to be missing is a humanizing element. It feels a bit technical with just a GPS. I think you could add some humanity either in the type for “Life Plan”(a more organic typeface?) or by introducing an image of a person somewhere. Maybe within the destination marker of the GPS – like it shows up on an iPhone.

  • Carla

    I chose option # 1 because I have learned that image is recognizable to my age group who are learning to use more technology and to my college student’s group who can’t imagine life without it. I think the tree reminded me of our elementary school logo and just didn’t catch my eye. Until you said what it was, I didn’t recognize the sail (all in personal frame of reference I think). I liked option #4 but think it looked too much like “work” and I want to get drawn into the “work” of creating my life plan but don’t think enough people will recognize even these tools…..our schools just don’t have enough hands on learning any more. So I voted! best wishes!

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    I would go with option 2. That was awesome. 

  • Sharonalavy

    I do like the tree, but it seems to be something I have seen before. But it is soothing. I am 66 years old, after all.

    The GPS one is much more up to date. This is my choice. (GPS where would we be without that irritating voice? We can actually hear out English lady sighing when we don’t go where she wants us too.)

  • Annag

    I would go with the tree.  It conveys an organic, hopeful image and the soft green background looks welcoming.  The other three images strike me as loud, discordant — more of a “you must do this NOW and do it MY WAY” than “take a walk with me and let’s talk about choosing the right path”.

  • Ryan K

    I voted for the GPS because of it’s bright, clean, and simple design. Also, the technology and message resonates better with me.

    Improved Architectural Idea:

    I do like the idea of the architectural tools in design 4 but I don’t like the execution. It comes across as more feminine – probably due to the colors – and the layout doesn’t really excite me. I’d recommend changing that to more of an architectural sketch that starts out in one corner as a blueprint and fades to the other corner as an actual picture or colored drawing (or fade left to right). In the background you can have a house or family or something that represented a full life and have it be part of the fade from blueprint to complete.

  • Chris

    I like the sail cover, but it needs a bit more POP.  Gps cover second w/ your name at the bottom in orange instead of green is second.  

  • Sibylw

    I love the blue background with the white sail.  It’s the only one that jumped out at me and made me want to take another look.  To me it speaks of adventure, freedom and the feeling of going somewhere.  When you’re sailing there are times you can go fast or time you slow down and enjoy what’s around you.  Love it!

  • Mischelle007

    I first voted for the tree, but did not like the changes.

    I do like the GPS – it seems to meet the times we are in for navigating through life. However, I think it should be a little larger.

    btw – I  voted GPS

  • Craig

    For me…
    GPS cover has too much white space
    Tree cover…I like the idea but the colors seems too bland and not vibrant enough
    Construction tools civer looks a little too cartoonish
    Sail cover is my favorite. It grabs my artention, pleasing colors, well laid out.

  • Chase Adams

    My only issue with the GPS is that when we use them, we set it and forget it and let it do all the grunt work…So I’m not sure it really captures what I think the book is trying to convey. But I could be totally off on that.

  • Gottry

    I would vote for the tree design (of the four), but it seems a bit too much like THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIFE cover. I would suggest taking a fresh look.

  • Anonymous

    I voted for Option #1, but liked the concept of #4 as well.  However, Option 4 looks cluttered in the top left corner.  The drafting tools would look better laid out simply in another format.  Too busy as is.

    As a life coach I can say that #1 is very much a coaching concept. It’s very contemporary, concise and will appeal to all age groups.  It’s simple and clear in it’s message.

  • Mike

    Number 1 Thoughts:
    It’s to youthful. I think youth should read your book they just probably aren’t the ones buying it. It will be a mentor that gets it for them to do with them. If I passed by it in the Leadership section of Powell’s here in Portland I probably wouldn’t pick it up….The GPS ends up being to much of the cover.

    Number 2:
    It’s to organic….and I am saying that coming from “Portland” (which is really just another word for Organic). I don’t think the concept is as strong and don’t clearly communicate the book.

    Number 3:
    This is your best option. It’s clean, speaks to the consumer and the cover catches my eye. I would pick this up if I walked by it and it looks like the person that wrote it “could” help me with my life plan. If I’m going to read a book like this I want it to come from someone mature and who has lived more life than I have. This book cover says that…

    Number 4:
    I like the Idea, I just don’t think it was put to gather with as much thought as the others. The colors could be more “Architecture” like and not “grade 6 math”. With a little work that could be fixed and the Concept is strong.

    Just thoughts….

  • Benoit Philippe

    The general issue with the covers in the first round was the “stock photo” feel for most of them, except the compass cover. This is gone with the 4 new covers. Here is my first impression and my order of preference:

    – Satnav Cover is by far the cleanest, modern and effective design. The symbolism is clear, the cover uncluttered, the title in red stands out and the author’s name easy to read, even as an icon on a small laptop screen.

    – The tree cover would be my #2.: peaceful. The image (tree of life) works. It’s a shame to loose the image and symbol of the roots (discover what’s deeply inside you), but the concern with the Organic ad is fully justified.

    – The sail cover: The image is too obvious, too cliche. It’s better with the close cropping on the sail but still reminds me of PowerPoint presentation choice of image…

    – The architect’s drawing tools: The idea is good, but both the title (in light blue) and the author’s name are hard to read on screen. The same cover with the title in red and the author’s name in black (or a dark colour) could work.



  • Sonja

    I still like the tree – One has roots, one grows, and one  bears fruit. I think the tree best metphorically symbolizes our life journey.

  • reJoyce

    I really liked the roots part of the tree yesterday. The GPS didn’t work as an option for me b/c my GPS often doesn’t know where the roads are located or directs me to stores that aren’t there anymore. (Even with the latest updates.)

    So, today after thinking about it, I voted for the sail option. (I don’t know what the current wisdom is about changing a cover, but it seems in some ways to make the most sense to leave it the same but say “updated” or something so people will know it’s the same material, just tweaked.)

  • Derek Barney

    Option #1 is the wrong messaging. 

  • Chuck

    the tree

  • Matt Lossau

    I like the original tree cover the best, with the new tree a close second.  The original tree has a more modern feel, and I appreciate that the strong roots are shown, which I feel is a reflection of the work involved with your life plan–getting the roots right, is what produces the desired results.  The new tree has a more classic feel, which I also like, but I prefer the more modern look of the original tree.  One more thing I like about the original tree, is that it was full of green leaves, and rich fruit–that’s where I want to be.  The newer tree had fruit on it, but the leaves were also falling off of the trees.  I know that leaves falling are part of life, but I want to focus on getting to the rich fruit, and not the more ‘painful’ parts of the cycle of life.

    I also like the GPS, but I run contrary to some of the other comments, in that I think the de-emphasis on the work involved is a disservice to the reader.

    As far as the sailing is concerned–I’m just not a fan of sailing, so I don’t feel any emotional connection to that one.

    I like the construction idea, but the rulers and protractor made me think of junior high.

  • Patti

    In the first survey I chose the tree because of the root system. The large root system made me think about the necessity of having a strong plan to create a strong life. In the second tree cover the roots were gone, so I chose instead the GPS cover as the best of the current choices. I’m not quite satisfied with it; in my mind maps and plans are not quite the same. When I think of plans I think of Gantt charts or flow charts (I’m a Programmer/Analyst and those are the tools I use in my projects) but many young people might not recognize those either.

  • Al Getler

    While shopping for a book, a NEW book on a subject that interests me, the cover needs to pop. The cover needs to sum up the book by providing me an pertinent image that captures my imagination and gives me answers as to what is inside. The GPS cover does this. The GPS and mapping on my smart phones get me where I need to be. I would love to create a life plan that does the same thing.  Just to take it a step further; when shopping for a book I check the table of contents then the index. BTW – I am seeing a lot of books without indexes lately…I don’t like it. The index gives me the meat and the lettuce of what is between the book’s sandwich.

    last, I sure do hope you give us smart phone apps to use with the book. I would love to have my goals available for daily, weekly and monthly checking in my pocket at all times.

  • Bette Hamby

    Love the GPS cover!!! Trendy, fresh and eye catching!!

  • Roy Wallen

    For the Life Plan book: While my pesonal preference is for the tree design, the sail cover (and related subtitle) maintains the connection with the first eidtion and establishes a kind of “brand” for this book.  The GPS cover seems too cute and a bit stark.  The architecture tools and their alignment made me wonder about the significance of “P”.

  • Susan

    I prefer the GPS link.  It seems more relevant and up to date than the others.  You would reach a larger demographic in my opinion.

  • Zkopchuk

    I prefer the sail because it denotes adventure, fun, relaxation, challenge etc. It covers a broad spectrum. The tree is nice but overused. You see trees on covers everywhere. I am middle age. The GPS doesn’t speak to me and mine actually frustrates me to no end because the route is not always the best one. The last one looks like it involves math and would be complicated so it does not appeal to me at all. That’s just my 2 cents. Good luck and I look forward to the book.

  • Dw150

    Sail Boat Cover has my vote. Thanks

  • Anonymous

    I understand updating the graphic to a gps device, but in a year or two, who knows what device we’ll be using to ‘chart our course.’ I think the sailing image is more timeless. I think the idea of the tree implies the idea that it must grow over time (which is true) and that especially younger generations are too impatient to ‘wait.’ Would they pass over the book (or ideas in it) without giving them a ‘chance’ because they think it will ‘take too long.’ 

  • Heatherls

    The tree is my favorite.  It’s simple and grabs me, but is warm, contemplative and friendly.  It connotes the tree planted by streams of living water…etc.  Great background green.  

  • Krissi

    Tree! I’ll admit, it’s just b/c I like that design in particular. I love the sail, but the tree design is beautiful. I might like GPS & Tools more if the colors were more muted…

  • Khubbard

    I really like the tree design because  of the significance of growing and life… also wanted to know if you have any thoughts about creating a life plan specifically for twenty year olds … who are trying tofigure out their futures… I “adapted” parts of your plan to fit them…. (just an idea!)

  • Ginamurrow

    I vote for the GPS cover

  • Roland

    I love the GPS metaphor–evocative and contemporary–except that it implies more of a “map”  or a “journey” rather than a “plan.” If the title were “Life Map” the GPS would be great. To me, the tree and the sail are just too ordinary. So I chose the drawing implements–although the words Life Plan need more punch and need to be more of the visual focus. 

  • Kaye

    I really prefer the pic of the sailboat, aesthetically, but I think the byline & pic of the GPS works best. The architectural instruments make it look too much like a textbook, to me, and the tree has been done everywhere for various Christian things.

  • Dave

    The tree presents an idea of life but I think few people associate planning with the growth of a tree which is more automatic/organic, if you do decide to go with it I’d look for something more exuberant (the current art reminds me of dried flowers). :-)

    Although a designer myself, the architectural instruments on the cover have become old school substituted by CAD programs – so they may also preclude your cover from connecting with younger generations.

    On  the sail I initially didn’t recognize it due to the near vertical angle of the shot and that may also be the case of those who, like me, don’t live by the sea.

    I agree with the GPS being the best, BUT GPS s recommendations can place you in dangerous parts of large cities and it is wise to first consult a map, so my suggestion would be to place a map and perhaps a small pad with handwritten notes in the background with the GPS screen in foreground. FWIW, the same would also apply to the sail if you go with that idea (placing a waterway map and compass in the background) since, in both cases, the maps will convey the planning concept over against just the sail/GPS since these could be employed with no planning at all (just jump in, take-off  and adjust as per circumstances dictate) :-).

    Hope this helps.


  • Robb

    I like the sailboat cover. The GPS seems too 2009.

  • SharonW

    I love the first tree image, but since that’s out, I’d have to go with the GPS cover. It seems a little too simple though….I’m not sure what you should change on it, perhaps some background colors? Maybe blue? The blue sail cover seems “old person” to me (and I am one!) The GPS feels modern and up to date, and I love maps….I love knowing where I’m at.

  • Paula Lee

    My choice is the Tree.  It symbolizes all there is to life-establishing roots, growing, weathering life’s storms, providing shade for others, and most importantly, bearing fruit.  The sub-title nailed it for me.  I didn’t like the other sub-titles, they were too myopic.

  • Anonymous

    I like the tree cover – Can you make LIFE PLAN a little larger? If it is in a bookstore we need to see it from far away. And even you name a little larger?
    And I didn’t like the GPS as I couldn’t really see what it was.

  • Bill

    I like the sail cover best. The colors and font appeal to me, seems more elegant and dignified. However I’m 55 and other designs might appeal to younger readers.

  • Lilibet King

    I personally like the tree cover better, as it makes me think of growth while being part of the family tree.  However, my vote went to the GPS, because I think it better descibes both the book and the author.  GPS can take you via different routes depending on how you program it.  And you are a leader in exploring the latest technology.  By using the GPS to represent this, you invite the reader to check out your web site and blog, where they will in turn find information on leadership, life planning, and using the latest technology for both.

  • ClayofCO

    First round: SAIL COVER. Strong symbol, color, design. Old school image, but good.

    Second round: GPS COVER. Hands down favorite.  Contemporary, clean, clear, fun, personal. Visual bullseye for the 20s/30s demographic that is most concerned about life planning. Love the new subtitle. Suggestion: Use a GPS image that is more 3D, like a road narrowing toward an infinite point, perhaps even with lines extending beyond the GPS device image for effect.

    Others: The tree image just does not fit with life planning, is frankly overused and cliche in Christian circles, and the colors are far too muted and dull. The sailboat image, in hindsight, suggests old wealth (yacht) and might not connect with a younger demo (no movies about sailing). The architecture image is just too impersonal and technical.

  • Richard

    Add another vote for the tree cover. It caught my eye immediately (before reading the discussion) and drew me in.

  • Roxywiley

    I voted for the tree yesterday, but the new one with subtitle just isn’t as interesting. I really like the GPS image and subtitle. It feels like it might have a broader audience appeal. I’m guessing more of us are familiar with the GPS than sailing.

  • Nigelh

    The tree has a far more organic feel to it. Those of us outside North America can immediately relate to it.

  • BethMcKamy

    Love #3, but wish it had the statement that “Design the Life you have always wanted” that is on bottom of #4

  • Dave Baldwin

    Okay so what do you think!?! I voted for the sail cover. I think guys my age would go for that more. Perhaps another piece of data to collect for the voting is age categories.
    Now I’m 61 and you may not want to market it to me, more to the GPS generation. Perhaps putting the GPS as an AP on an iPhone is the way to go.
    I’m just rambling. I enjoy reading the reasoning behind the covers, etc.

  • David Sluka

    I think a more religious reader is going to go for #2 due to the theme of being fruitful. #1 is more broad appealing to a larger audience.

  • Chuck

    I voted for the tree a couple of hours ago, but just saw the cover of a relatively new John Piper book “Suffering and the Sovereignty of God,” which has a very similar tree scene on it. So, I’m leaning toward the GPS now.

  • RLM

    GPS cover…it is balanced and stands out and the application wass immediately clear to me.

  • ThatGuyKC

    I really like the GPS cover because the “personal” part of the title matches with the personal mobile device and a plan has direction. Also, if I get off course a GPS (or Life Plan) will get me back on track.

  • Steve Brown

    I really like the GPS cover.  You have to have an idea of where you want to end up to know how to get there.  The sail could work but it gives me more an image of moving wherever the wind takes you instead of a more purposeful movement.

  • James Pinnick

    # 1 for sure Mike.

    It just looks more modern and in line visually. We interact with electronics everday. It will be a familiar piece to people to connect with. The GPS is awesome.

    Good luck! I look forward to reading it.

    Author-The Last Seven Pages

  • Brent Fielder


    The GPS cover makes me think of the fidelity commercials.  Same idea, just not green on the book cover.  Looks good and I do like it but I think it will be irrelevant when GPS devises change format from being a separate devise from phone.

    The tree has been done – A lot.  The tree outline, the roots in the ground, etc. have all been done.  

    The sail is good.  A sail is timeless.  People like it, it is refreshing, and it speaks to the subject matter through the metaphor.  Also, I would argue you have some equity in the sail branding as thousands of people have downloaded and read this with the sail look already.  

    The architect tools design looks too much like a text book to me.  Judging a book by its cover would not appeal to me.

  • Anonymous

    The GPS (updated from the sextant) is modern, but it seems to imply a single or best path to get where you’re headed. The fruitful tree recalls biblical themes, but doesn’t seem sufficiently interactive to me. I like the concept of the architectural tools as it stresses purposefulness yet options and creativity. However, the sail image just seems to capture for me the fluidity and adaptability necessary in a life plan.

  • Giselle Aguiar

    I like the GPS one because God should be our GPS not our spare tire. 

  • Neal

    Sail cover is great but color selection makes it easily be lost on the shelf. I know everyone seems to be using orange so maybe avoid that but what color will help this stand out?

  • nancy marco

    At first glance, without reading the words, I went to the blue cover because it reminded me of dreams, heaven, destiny, wide open ideas. The blue.

  • Ben Pacheco

    Hello Mr. Hyatt,
    I really love the concept of the Sailboat. I love the color scheme and the font, but not to crazy about the picture of the sails. Wish this was revisited with a different picture, but same colors. I love the thought that although we plan, we must make changes as we navigate according to the many changes manifested in the wind or life brings.

    Anyways, Can’t wait for the book!

  • Naedww

    cover 4 looks like a textbook: thumbs down
    cover 3 looks like something Bill Hybels or John Maxwell would use for a cover: thumbs down
    cover 1 is techno and cool, my second choice: one thumb up
    cover 2 is the best. it says organic/growth/new life – attractive to both genders: both thumbs up!

  • Harmony LaBeff

    Hi Michael,

    This is my 1st time commenting though I’ve been subscribed for half a year or so.  No offense at all to my elders here, I am blessed by your experiences
    & insights & have much to learn, but I’d be curious to know the age ranges of who’s picking which covers.  I’m a 31 year old male in the Midwest & if you’re looking to influence my generation (& younger) then, as you’ve previously written, the book cover matters.   I downloaded “Life Plan” months ago & have shared it with others so I’m only saying this as someone who wishes to see your influence grow– I suspect that the sailboat theme won’t connect with younger people.

    My first choice was the tree, my second would be the design tools because the cover tells a more interesting story, the designs are modern, & the colors are captivating.  While it’s true that the tree theme has probably been used a lot, that theme is timeless–it endures because it’s immediate & it’s also transcendent, it’s obvious but it also has layers of depth.  Option 4 is attractive to me largely because of the vibrant colors– this would be a hit with the serious high school-er/college kid.

    The GPS design is also modern but it’s just not that interesting to me, too “corporate.”  I don’t know what else to say about it, it’s just “eh.”

    The sailboat theme is too elitist– too specific in it’s geography, economic status & even historical era.  Even though I’m from the Midwest, I’ve actually had a small connection to the sailing/boating theme.  I grew up on the Mississippi river in Wisconsin, went to college in Minneapolis, MN (many lakes) & now live 25 minutes from Lake Michigan beaches in Chicago, but in my experience, only the super rich have the luxury of sailing.  The serene sails & blue sky also evoke more of a nostalgic thing or a hobby for retired people who’re looking back on all the successes of their lives, rather than pioneering, trailblazing & embarking on adventure.  That may be my ignorance of sailing talking, but that further illustrates the disconnect in my opinion.

    Whatever you decide, I’m really glad you’re updating the layout to make it an easier read on electronic devices/screens.  I hope many more of my friends will start thinking strategically about their lives & your book is just the tool to help them!

    • Nelson Keener

      In response to “The Sail” I thought it was an abstract sculpture until I looked at the enlarged version.  On a 6 by 9 book, it will be obvious it is a sail. For an over 60 male, the sail cover is very attractive to me. 

      Having said that, our 30 something, Harmoney LaBeff here, has related some very good thoughts regarding “the luxury of sailing” and why it’s probably not the right cover for the younger market.  It is probably the first design that should be eliminated.

      GPS isn’t my first choice, but the reasoning and responses from others is making a lot of sense. 

  • jonathan Kim

    Hi Michael,  The tree design is the only one representing life.  The other 3 are just tools to get us maybe somewhere.  

  • Wayne Anson

    My choice was option 2 [currently running 3rd place]; however, the subtitle seems so cliche and the image communicate the metaphor without reinforcement within the subtitle.  Option 1 made me think of finding my life plan not creating something. The sailing option with charting a course was fine but I do not care for so much dark blue.  At first I did not even notice it was a sail.  The construction one has a subtitle that is so cliche nowadays.  I know it was suggested by several people but I’m tired of the take offs on “your best life now” and personally I associate it with a theology of self-help not one of working on God’s inspired thoughts about your life. 

  • Rmerpi

    I like the GPS cover best.  I think you will get more people buying or at least looking at this book with this cover.

  • Kathryn

    When I looked at the covers in the emailing, I thought that I would like the tree image.  But when I looked at the larger image, it just didn’t resonate with me.  My eye went to the blue color of the sail cover.  It evokes a sense of peace and hopefulness in me.  If I was in a book store, looking at all four covers on the shelf, I think the blue cover would attract my attention more than the others.  By the way, I work in a bookstore and see lots and lots of book covers!

  • David Manning

    OK… I voted for tree last time, but don’t like the new look this time.  The previous “roots” part of the tree image communicated a primary requirement in the metaphor.   I also commented that the blue sail cover was my second choice.  It still is and I do like the subtile much better.

    I’m 49 years old and the sail & tree covers resonate for me.  But I actively mentor 20-30 year olds.  They need this book (as do I) and the GPS will communicate to them much better.  Thus, the GPS is my #1 pick this time.  It’s clean, its contemporary, the subtitle is on target, the Maxwell quote rounds it out.

    I was referencing your Life Plan ebook just this morning.  This is an awesome tool.  I wish & pray this project all the best!!

    David (not “Dave”)

  • Kurt Huffman

    Unfortunately, the GPS cover is the only one that will connect with most of the audience and will likely generate more sales for you.  The others are generation(s) behind.  Sad, but true. 

    p.s.  I find it odd to identify a cover without reading the book first.  I guess that is modern day marketing.  The content doesn’t matter.  Just pick a great cover and sell as many as you can.

    • Michael Hyatt

      How will people ever get into the book if the cover doesn’t invite them? The content really does matter, that’s why I want a cover that draws them in.

  • Colin

    I am still liking the tree cover, very simple look and should appeal to any age.

  • Kbcollege09

    I chose option 1 (GPS) because at first glance, I could not tell what option 3 (sailing) was referring to – until I read the explanations and comments. Option 1 also has a really good attractive color choice and the subtitle is great!!
    Option 2 (tree) is very predictable, and the subtitle (“A Strategy for Developing a Fruitful Life”) immediately isolates the readers to those who are searching or interested in being more fruitful – which is a very specific metaphor.
    Option 4 – Love the colors, but it seems very sterile and structured.

  • Erin

    Option 3, is the most visually appealing. The concept and visual all tie together nicely. Option 1 feels more disjointed, however, I chose it because the concept is more relatable than a sailing theme with the sailing lingo. I agree option 3 might go over better with option 1’s subtitle. However, I think it would be best to go with the Option 1 concept, but make the graphic bigger and not so lonely looking.

  • Terrilynn2009

    I agree with Michael.  The GPS is today’s new version of the map.  When I see the tree I think organic or family tree.  Look forward to reading it and discovering is my life is on course or if my GPS is off! :)

  • Shannon

    I voted for #1 but have some comments. For me, the green and black bands at the top and bottom make the cover look to “boxy” and heavy. The red type in makes me there is an emergency. While I think this is great on your button to signup to get the book, I am not sure that is the intent of the book. I like the GPS idea, but I feel the current placement feels like an afterthought. What about blowing up the GPS screen shoot, bleeding it off the edge. You could also consider making your own map and labeling the streets with something tied to your content and general life experiences. And I would also consider moving your subtitle closer to the title of your book. 

    Thank you for all the great posts you provide. And thank you for allowing your readers to weigh in. And all the best in finding in solution you are content with.

  • Mariana

    GPS. Modern, fun, simple, colorful, suggests a sure arrival at the destination you choose!

  • Kendall Sterling

    The GPS cover is the best. Immediately recognizable as a “life map.”  I looked at all four covers, and the GPS cover was the only one that would entice me to even pick up the book and look at it.  And I’m not a “young” person – I am 54 (and for what it’s worth, I’ve spent a good bit of time in the book industry as an editor).  I like the idea of a book that provides a map for me to get from Point A to Point B.

    • Kendall Sterling

      Also, with the GPS map, the idea is that there’s more than one way to get to your destination. I like that analogy too.

  • Tyson Tate

    don’t love any of them honestly. But the tree is definitely the best, except the sea-foam bride’s maid dress color on top is killing me softly. Such a great book with a wide potential audience, but all these kind of remind me of business books which is a total turn-off.

  • Anonymous

    I really like the cover with the architectural instruments. It’s clean, but still vibrant. And I prefer the original subtitle that goes along with it.

  • Melinda

    From a designers perspective – I like the tree cover. Not only does it relate to the subject matter, but from seeing them for the first time today – this one stands out most to me.

    Though I like the abstract cover too, purely because of my design background, but I am not sure how a general audience would relate it to the content of your book. So the Tree cover is my choice.

    Go with your gut Micheal, it’s always right.


  • Josh Wagner

    I like the GPS image.  For me, it’s not that I don’t know where I want to get to, but I don’t quite know how.  So, the GPS plus the subtitle really hooks me in.

  • RachTurner

    The GPS cover is perfect!!  Love the colors, love the design and the GPS is an excellent icon to represent what the book is all about.  One of the commenters feels that it implies “work,” but creating a life plan is work, isn’t it?  I think you’ve landed on a winner with the GPS cover.

  • Anonymous

    I love the GPS! thanks for the revote. 

  • Mike4him

    I chose the GPS because it does represent today’s preferred way of
    guidance–especially in unknown territory. Another reason is that while a
    GPS offers guidance as to where to go, we still have to make the trip!

    Here’s what may be more subtle, specifically for GPS usage: it assumes
    accurate mapping by the company that made it. Us readers of this book
    (which I haven’t done yet), assumes your expertise to guide along the
    journey of mapping a future that is mostly uncertain and unknown. A GPS
    shows us the way while we plot and move.

    I hope that helps.

    Mike Hansen

    Parker, CO

  • Wes Coffey

    I really like the image of the sail. It reminds me that I have the power to chart my course, but also the ability to adjust the sail to catch the wind when life throws you a curve.

  • martha

    number 1 is CLEAN… open… easy to read title!

  • Andrew Inge

    I like the tree. Especially when minimized as in this post (and probably in, etc.).  The GPS doesn’t pack enough of a visual punch.  The sails don’t really look like sails.  When the tops of masts get that close to each other, it’s time to man the lifeboats.  (And what’s a sail without a boat?) The instruments attract the eye before the title or author.  The tree is clear, clean, and in a contemporary style.  It doesn’t detract from the title or author, but  compliments them.

  • Patti Schieringa

    I chose the tree. At first glance, it seemed like be a tree planted at the water.
    After reading the other good covers, I went back to the tree. If we are Christian or not, we want to have our life be fruitful.
    Only God can design our life.  How to get from here to there is another do it yourself idea. And also the chart your course suggests you take the  control.
    If you want to appeal to” pull yourself up by your bootstraps” people, any of the others will do.
    It will be like getting the kids to VBS by advertising games, and cookies to give them God’s plan of leadership. There, now I might have given another take on choosing. May God bless it.
      But the tree will fit everybody. If it is too close to the site-organic side bar tree, fit it on the page a little away.  

  • Derek Johnson

    Tree cover hands down.  Not even a question.

    • Michael Hyatt

      It is currently in third place.

  • Edt

    Sailboat for sure! The sailing metaphor captures freedom with hard work, a journey with direction and life with purpose. I think the blue backdrop captures the eye and the attention of people perusing books. I love the look and feel of the cover.

  • Lex

    I voted GPS, but the tree is a close second. I think the blue and white looks really corporate, and probably wouldn’t look at it long enough to even read the subtitle if I saw it in a store. 

    I like the concept of the tools in the fourth one, but the bright colors make it look like a pre-teen advert. Some old-fashioned wooden rulers, or metal design tools might make it look a little more grown-up.

  • Laura Hamm

    I agree that the cover looks familiar but if i saw it on a book table I would pick it up to see what it was all about –   I think the GPS one would appeal to men and this one would appeal more to women. 

  • Lindsay

    Hello Michael!  I like how clean and sharp the boat cover is! I know you’re not asking for feedback on the front cover text, but Maxwell’s quote sounds a lot like Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life Book and the quote underneath the title sounds a lot like Ortberg’s book, “The Life You’ve Always Wanted.”  What sets your book apart from these?  Best to you!

  • Lindsay

    Oh, clarification re:  text underneath the title.  I’m referring to the quote “Designing the life you’ve always wanted.”  I didn’t realize you had multiple text options.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. Got it.

  • Dave Anthold

    A quick question – will the inside design be adopt the cover characteristics or will it still hold to the nautical theme if another cover is chosen?

    Also, the cover art for #4 seemed way too busy with all of the rulers and protractors.  The other three had a simplistic less is more vibe going on.  From a cover art perspective, I would most like pick up option 1 or 3 first as the colors grab me.  I’m not sure about the subtitle for #1 but I think you are in great shape.

    I hope these thoughts help you.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    One caution on the GPS cover: many young people see GPS as outdated, since many phones (especially Androids) have nice navigation tools. A GPS is kind of like a Blackberry and feels a little outdated. What if you tried showing a Google map-type picture that’s on a phone instead a GPS device? That would combine a device (phone) that also functions as a calendar, note taker, and many, many other apps that indicate “plan.”

  • Travis Brown

    I really liked the new 4th cover. I’m sad it didn’t get more votes. It’s really fresh and gives the idea that anyone can create a life plan. I originally voted for the organic tree cover (now #2), but I feel that that concept is a little overused. Either way…your e-book is great for the content. Some of the best books I have don’t have attractive covers.

  • Joyvirtue

    option 1. Simple, straight to the point, and conveys the seriousness about the topic. It says- Take me serious! I do like the one with the sail boat though, i printed it when i printed the e- book! it just made it attractive for me to read

  • Nancy Wall

    I really like the tree.  I love trees.  They represent life and growth and shelter to me.  They are beautiful, provide shade and sometimes fruits and nuts, and eventually can provide warmth in the cold.  They have a plan to be useful in every way possible as long as they live.  Go with the tree.

  • Teresita Glasgow

    Loved the GPS!

  • Dustin James

    Hey Michael, I like the sail because the hidden message in a sailboat and sail is that life is altogether exciting, dangerous, dynamic, and unpredictable. As we say at our church we leave room for the wind of the Holy Spirit to “fill our sails.” GPS and drafting instruments may give the impression that our greatest goal is to control the outcome of our lives rather than make our lives obedient to God and God’s plan/will. I love your blog btw. 

  • Amy Clairmont

    GPS: Looks dynamic, yet I am dissatified with the implication. Life Plan does not work like a GPS. I cannot type in my parameters and have a device simply deliver up perfectly ordered results without extra effort on my part.
    Tree: Lovely cover, nice fruitful life analogy. I wonder is it a bit slanted to female sensibilities?
    Design Tools: Great design, appealing colors and balance yet… does anyone use these design tools anymore? Design tools are primarily software now, even though the tactile side of me misses the pen and rule in hand.
    Sail: My winning choice. With sailing as in life planning you do make decisions along the way and need to adjust course as necessary. You use tools yet must use your head and deal with the unexpected. A suggestion I offer is to make your subtitle red for that small still-nautical highlight.

    Kudos to your design team for being such great sports under so much scrutiny.

  • Eric S. Mueller

    As a former sailor, I like the nautical themes. I find them a good metaphor for life planning. Navigating at sea can be very hard. You don’t have reference points. You have to rely on instruments and measurements to things like stars.

    I should have left a comment on the last survey. The original tree design looked (to me) too much like The Purpose Driven Life. It’s a great book; probably one of the most Christian books I’ve ever read. But I doubt you’re going for that. The new tree theme seems to separate itself from Rick Warren’s book more.

  • Karen Royer

    I really like the tree cover best…in my opinion, the sail idea has been overused when talking about life direction. The architectural instrument design looks too much like a book for a course in academia. Definitely the tree.

    Thanks for all you do for your readers!

  • Brad Hill

    Hi Michael-

    Of course here at SiteOrganic we’re a big fan of the tree image–but we didn’t invent it. :) For us it makes a lot of sense in the context of “producing fruit” for your online ministry. We officially hold no grudge if you wind up using the tree image!

    I can also see the value of the tree motif in your context: bearing fruit, growth, changing your family tree, etc.

    All that said, I actually prefer the sailing image over the other 3. To me, the “chart the course” language connotates both a short-term tactical plan as well as a long-term final destination. I also agree with other commenters who said that the blue color suggests tranquility.

    I’m a big fan of the Life Plan book and have recommended it to several. I look forward to seeing it in its newly revised format!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your input, Brad. I love the tree imagery, too. However, it placed third. The sail cover placed second. Personally, it is my favorite.

  • Pingback: Which of These Two Cover Finalists Do You Prefer? | Michael Hyatt()

  • Linda Goodman

    I vote the Tree design – it reminds me of new life and growth. 

  • Gloria Maxx

    I like the GPS cover the most. It is topical, hip, cool and informative, and tells you directly where to go – much like you, Michael.

    Just a thought from an over-worked mind … Why not have the ingredients and implements to make something like an apple pie? The apple is symbolic of creation, and making the right choices in life,the tools can be measurements, the recipes for you life plan. It’s warm and inviting …  and I think I am very hungry as I write this.

    Seriously, the GPS is my fav.

  • Michael

    I prefer the sail … it’s a metaphor for how we rely on the Spirit of God to blow into our lives and guide us along the way
    In a sense, we do manipulate the rudder (by what we say, think and do), which choses which path we take, however, that path can be corrected when needed
    As much as the GPS is more modern and accessible to a younger audience, I think that it also refers to how our culture has become too reliant on technology and seeks out a quick and easy option in life.
    The sail refers to something which is labor intensive and time consuming.  This requires time, patience, dedication and faith.
    If you prefer the look and feel of option 1, then maybe consider creating a version of the sail (or sailboat?) in that style and see what reaction you get to it?
    Otherwise, option 3 is clean, crisp and could work well as an ebook too?

  • Mlandry

    I prefer the blue sail cover.  It’s much more appealing initially and I like the “freedom” motif to go along with a Life Plan.

  • Wendyrcochrane

    I like option #1 the best.

  • David Ruess

    I do not like ANY of these. 
    – The rulers look like a grade-school book and comes across like it won’t be an engaging read – the color scheme won’t really appeal to men either.
    – The tree just seems to Christian-eese and the colors are too bland together. 
    –  The bold colors and design of the GPS is probably the best you have up there, but a GPS device? Really? What year are you writing this book in 1998? GPS is old school technology, put a pic of a smart phone up there with the google maps if you’re going to go the GPS route, but I don’t know if the smart-phone would look good either. 
    – This sailboat picture is completely un-engaging compared to the full picture you have on the e-book I downloaded (seeing the horizon gives people the feeling like there’s hope and they can head to where they want to go, while this book is just looking up into the sky someplace we will never go cause we are not astronauts but we’ve all looked at a horizon and then driven or gotten there at some point).
    This is my 4 cents. I’d combine the stark contrast of the GPS cover – bold colors and hard lines, with the horizon-esk sailing open waters cover and theme you’ve already built up a base with.

    Good luck Michael! I hope you sell a billion copies!

  • Sanorth

    Both the tree and the GPS look very good. I’d lean toward the GPS as your target market should skew younger (guys like me in our mid 50’s need help too, but the under 40 crowd is more moldable). Either one looks great and catches my eye. 
    Thanks again for all your “mentoring” from a long distance. I love your insights and transparency. Thanks for your ministry to us.

  • Scoti Springfield Domeij

    The tree cover reminds me of decorating in a
    country theme—nothing new, passé. It feels feminine. And the Martha Stewart
    green may be calming, but rather blah. It feels cliché-ish like I’ve seen the
    tree image used before on other covers. The GPS cover feels empty and doesn’t
    really point my eye anywhere. Too much air. The title color red felt matchy to
    the GPS, but something felt off. Black top band. Green bottom band. Red title. Here
    a color. There a color. Loved the creativity of the architectural tools creating
    a P. The colors on the architecture cover feel trendy: Here today, gone
    tomorrow. The boxy font used for the title for these three covers—ordinary. They
    don’t jump to grab my eye. The color of the title and your name on these three covers
    don’t pull my eye anywhere. These three covers feel like—just another book on
    the shelf.


    The sailboat cover and color grabbed my heart and
    my eye. It feels powerful, exhilarating, uplifting. Love the upward angle of
    the shot. The photograph supports the title, especially the subtitle, plus
    points your eye to the title. The word “Chart” in the subtitle is stronger than
    “How to,” “A Strategy,” or “Design.” The design elements on the other three
    covers don’t point my eye to the title. The color contrast and elegance of the
    font on the sailboat cover draws my eye straight to the title and your name. Love the design, color
    contrast, and especially the balance of the title, subtitle, and author name. The placement of
    all the cover copy and design elements is like BAM! I grasp all the info in one
    look without my eye wandering around the cover to find the information like the
    other three covers.


  •ämer/100001481863376 Laura Krämer

    I like the tree cover the best. Symbolizes life and growth…

  •ämer/100001481863376 Laura Krämer

    I know you said you changed the tree to look different than the ad on your site. But I just looked again and it is still way to close. The hues even the shades need to be altogether different. Just a thought.

    I did scroll down to read some other comments and there was one that struck me about the sailing cover…key word to be about direction which is what your ebook is meant for to give direction, but we still have to do the work (make the choices) which another commenter mentioned as well. I might be leaning toward the sailboat being #2 and tree #1

  • MJack

    I don’t like the tree simply because a tree is over used.
    I don’t like the ruler, protractor, etc. Looks like math and I stink at math. I’d feel like a failure before I even opened the book, if I’d open the book.
    I like the look of the sail.
    I like the GPS best. A GPS knows where I want to go and helps me navigate through the turns to get there. It gives me the big picture but it also gives me step by step, so I know I can get to the end but I also know what to do next.

  • Oscar Varghese

    GPS cover kills it. Its relevant plus the older and younger generation gets it!

  • Joe Lalonde

    I still like option 3 the best… The tree design has improved and grown on me.

  • Colleen Coble

    I don’t think your name is big enough on any of these covers though, Mike. You’re selling YOUR life plan. You are a known commodity so play that up! :)

    Initially I liked the GPS cover but it’s got so much white in it, I was concerned it might not show well at online sites.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Colleen. I appreciate the input!

  • TMcoursen

    The Sail cover has the most potential right now–it is crisp and optimistic.  I wish the sail image was more recognizable.  The GPS cover has too much white space.  That plus the orange-red lettering gives an alarming first impression.  The tree cover is GREAT, but that green background is unsettling.  

  • okjedi

    As far as graphics go…
    I think they all look a little ‘i-stocky’. I like the idea of the GPS.Maybe have an illustration or photo of a hand reaching up touching the screen demonstrating the person actually taking action to make something happen.Tagline…
    Maybe tweak it to read:
    Turn by turn instructions to where you want to go…

    Step by step instructions to get where you want to be

  • Mike Mullican

    The GPS cover grabs my attention hands-down to the others.

  • K Dolder

    The GPS cover seems a little ‘grindy’ to me – doesn’t inspire in any way. This isn’t helped by the stark block colours of the cover. Tree emblem should work for me – but this cover seems a little too inactive – almost depicting the ‘cycle of life’ will do it’s own thing anyway. So I’m left with the sail or the instruments. Both are okay, though not stunning. I would most likely pick the blue one off the shelf as it is the most dynamic, ‘taking control’ cover and implies more journey and adventure than pure techy instrumentation…..

  • Lauren

    If I had to pick from the four on a book shelf, my eye goes immediately to the sailing cover. The blue just pops and the idea of sailing implies speed and ease of transition. Since it’s an ebook cover, that’s not as much of an issue and the GPS becomes a more modern look which is probably what you want for cutting edge eReaders (of course, I haven’t found GPS to be so accurate ; )

  • Vonabell

    I chose the Sail, although at first glance I did not see the Sail but a geometric shape.. but just visually I like the Sail….  The first option reminds me a a “family” book…the tree and the soft tones….

  • sunshine flowers

    I love the tree book cover. It appeals to the nature lover in me and it gives me a peaceful feeling.  I am one to judge a book by its cover and I would buy that book based on the cover.

  • Anonymous

    To me the sail appears more professional and a picture that represents a journey while at the same time a destination (if that makes sense).  This picture also instills a feeling of accomplishment.  The tree also has great connotations such as roots, growth, etc.  My vote is the sails :)

  • Sheba Muchabaiwa

    I prefer the GPS  cover. it provokes action for one to follow ones life plan which gives direction.

  • Elaine

    I’m rather surprised that these book covers are so boring, colorless, and lifeless. None of them represent the things that leaders, business people, ministry, speakers, life-changers, etc. use to create a biblical/workable life plan. Where is the computer, Bible, daytimer, vacation planner, world map, platform, powerpoint, cell phone, techie tools of this century –you know, our tools of the trade. Sure, your name will sell books, but as far as a catchy colorful upscale book cover, these rate about a D. Sorry. I know you have the tools at your disposal do come up with much better! I’d suggest a do-over…

  • Deborah

    I think the GPS has become predictable, plus it indicates putting a couple of bits of information in and relying on something else to do all the work. Okay, so maybe if you fail to follow the charted route you’ll receive an agitated “recalculating” and adjustments can be made. Yet, personal input and decision-making seems to lacking.

    The sail cover feels fresh, clean, and hopeful. But may also imply a casual approach. Although, the subtitle helps combat that.

    The tree cover does have a retro-modern feel. It just doesn’t grab me.

    So, surprising myself, my pick would be cover 4, with the graphing tools. It suggests tools are needed; we don’t do this alone. It suggests a work in progress, a project. The layout is clean, but the protractor’s placement highlights the P in plan. Subtle, but fun.

  • David Michels

    I really like the GPS one.  It’s clean and fresh, which is a current trend but I think it will stand out.  The tree and sail ones seem a little cliche for me.  The sail one in particular looks like it would be lost on the shelf.

  • Davidmichaelking

    The GPS cover is modern and effective and shows the journey that life is my favorite certainly

  • Jesse_thomas

    There are positive aspects of each of them but the blue one is by far the best choice. The serif-font and blue sky has a calmness to it that none of the others have. I’ve never even considered sailing but the imagery of sailing feels like “the good life”. It also seems much more timeless and long-standing than the rest. 

    I was first attracted to the one with the tablet on the front but that was just because the title popped so well (you can’t go wrong with red on white in that regard). But it looks very trendy and more like a latest gadget book. The green one looks like Starbucks and poetry. The ruler and triangle one looks like a book on drafting.

  • Linda Kennedy

    I will give you the opinion of a senior female…a growing sector of the human race finding themselves looking for a new life plan. I didn’t know what the sail was until I read it. The GPS looks to techie, even though we seniors are getting more involved in the electronic world. I have a GPS for traveling across country. I like the tree…it demonstrates growth, roots and a nice place to go. I think I would like a different color though. Something cheerful and uplifting.

  • Lyndieb

    I like the clean appeal of the architecture cover. 

  • Marty Nellius

    I like the Tree and Sail for different reasons.  The Tree gives a “work in progress” theme as it is alive, growing, changing, and even shedding.  Perfect for a Life Plan.  The sail represents adventure and freedom.  While the sail cover is cool, I give the edge to the Tree.

  • J.R. Ramos

    Sailboat represents unlimited possibilities. The blue sky is inviting to dreams/goals.

  • Wyatt

    The sailboat is the best choice. Though it’s not a critical factor on which you’d base your decision, it’s a very pretty design. The blue and white is clean and neat with plenty of contrast, but it’s also striking. A more worthy reason for this choice, however, is the message it implies. We should always have our sail up, looking for the best wind to move us forward. 

  • Derek Monjure

    I like the tree the most.  Hard to beat the biblical imagery and it also conveys a generational aspect to life planning.  The GPS cover does have “pop.”  Really don’t like the architectural cover, seems very dated and too academic.  The sailboat makes me think of “Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey.”

  • anita

    The GPS cover is your only option. I viewed the thumbnails all together at once, and my first reactwas, to be frank, was surprise at how conventional they were. I applaud the move to vertical, BTW.

  • David Adeola

    I have to go for the Cover with the GPS as this is self explanatory for a book that guides or shows the way! And the colours and design is simple and light (not heavy).

  • Anonymous

    This is probably one of those things: Ask 1,000 people…get 1,000 different answers. But, here are my suggestions. 

    1. My favorite is the fruit tree. But, I don’t love the subtitle. I’d steal from #4 and say: 

    “Cultivate the life you’ve always wanted.” 

    I think that subtitle makes more sense and still strikes a personal cord with a purchaser browsing the book aisle.

    If you go with the GPS (which is my # 2)…

     I’d say something like:

    “Positioning you for Success.”  or “A strategy for pointing you in the right direction.” or if you really wanted to be funny you could say “Strategies for the directionally challenged.” This resonates with someone like me who can’t read a physical map, but could laugh at the correlation. 

    #3 looks too much like a John Ortberg book and seems like a guy’s book.
    #4 looks like a teachers guide. 

    My two cents. Enjoy! I suppose your next book should be on time management (as I should be paying my bills but am helping you design your book cover). I love book covers. :)

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. Great subtitle suggestions!

  • Samuel Eatmon

    I think the 2nd option with the tree.  And I think it stands without the line, “a strategy….”

    Also, the fruit on the ground (is that fruit?) makes the design (in my opinion) look not as clean.

  • Joni Hannigan

    I liked the sail cover the best, mostly because of the color and the layout. It drew my eye as a more serious read, with more serious application–not something gimmicky and thrown together. Darker colors seem to do that. But on the other hand, the GPS, I concede, will relate more to a younger audience. So I chose that. Optimally, I would like to see #1 and #3 combined. #2 is aged. #4 turned me off immediately since I’m not a math, science person.

  • Ellaspeakes

    I like the Sail cover. Having sailed the Caribbean on a 55 ft boat, plotting the plan for our vacation was exciting and joyful. I loved watching the crisp sails, with the belief each one was headed for an adventure. The blue cover with white sail draws my eye and communicates a clear path to creating a life and mission on course.

  • Betsy S

    GPS cover hands down!  Visibly the one most eye catching.  Makes me want to pass the others by and pick it up.  I won’t consider buying it if I’m not even compelled to pick it up.  I really would… at least consider picking it up.  

  • Lindsay Terry

    The sail cover offers a possibility of ADVENTURE in addition to a chartered course. 

    The GPS cover looks too dry and predictable. You could doze off as you advance toward your goals. No excitement anticipated in this cover. 

  • James Michael

    I liked the sailing cover. There is adventure and even romance in sailing. I am coming in late. I would rather have seen “Charting your course”, with a subtitle of “Your destination is by design.”   Life Planning Possibilities by Michael Hyatt

  • Pingback: 7 Ways a Life Plan Is Like a GPS System | Michael Hyatt()