I’m a big fan of Danielle LaPorte’s and when I found out she was launching The Desire Map in December, I was very excited. I knew from the trailers that her beliefs mesh closely with mine; we get what we focus on, and what we feel is our best indication of the direction we’re moving in. So a “goal setting” (and that’s really the wrong phrase to describe The Desire Map, as you’ll see) book based on those concepts is the perfect tool for me. And in keeping with my own focus on not just buying the next shiny object but actually implementing what I learn, I thought going through the Desire Map process in public would keep me accountable and give you a better idea of whether it would be something you would use too.
Disclosure – Do I Know Danielle LaPorte?
Oh I wish! Wouldn’t she be an amazing BFF? But no, I’ve never met her or had any contact with her except as a happy purchaser of The Fire Starter Sessions and the Big Beautiful Book Plan. I *am* an affiliate for the Desire Map, so if you decide to buy it and choose to go through a link on this site, Danielle will pay me a commission for sending you along. Note that I’m not recommending it yet because I haven’t been through it in detail myself – that’s the point of doing this review.
Let’s Start with the Sales Page
Danielle’s site is at daniellelaporte.com/thedesiremap – she does have a separate site for the Desire Map, but the URL redirects back to her main site. When you land on site, top and center is a trailer video for the Desire Map, although that’s not obvious when it starts. It doesn’t auto-start, thank goodness! One of my pet peeves. There are no controls and no indication of how long it is – it’s less than 2 minutes in fact and one of her tone poems set to music. It’s a good taster of who she is. It ends with the URL thedesiremap.com but there’s also a link to it in the top navigation bar.
The sales page isn’t the kind of sales page you’re probably used to. The short video is there again, with an image of the physical book (looking as if the back cover was printed upside down!), an iPad and a smartphone – does that mean there’s an app as well? And underneath a short paragraph followed by her main concept: “You’re not chasing the goal itself, you’re actually chasing a feeling.” What she’s telling us is that it makes no sense to produce a list of goals if you don’t first decide how you want to feel, and then let those feelings inform your intentions.
There are some testimonials and an audio excerpt of the introduction to the book. Then some more about putting feelings first and bullet points on what the Desire Map is for: primarily to help you use your core desired feelings as a guidance system for making choices. She says it covers five key areas of your life: livelihood and lifestyle, body and wellness, creativity and learning, relationships and society, essence and spirituality.
She’s completely upfront about the price, which I like. No hiding it at the bottom of the page or making you click through to find out what it is. It’s $170 and $5 of that goes to charity (decided by a public vote twice a year). And she offers payment in 3 instalments upfront on the sales page – none of this fake “hundreds of you asked so I created a payment plan” nonsense a few days later. No scarcity, false or otherwise.
The program consists of a physical book which is mailed free anywhere in the world; a digital version of the book for reading online or on ebook readers; an audio version of the book read by Danielle; 3 months of email inspiration; 9 audio contemplations and motivationals, which she describes as “a new twist on meditation audios and pep talks”; worksheets and action sheets; a web app; how-to videos and 4 music playlists. She says everything except the print books is housed in an online portal that can be access from anywhere. The book is divided into two parts – Book 1 is the theory and Book 2 is the workbook.
Below the order button there’s some more back story of how the Desire Map evolved, all written in her distinctive rhythmic, almost hypnotic style. She’s strong on sacredness, on “soul practicality” and contribution, but she’s also a pragmatist. She claims the Desire Map helps you create your life more intentionally.
At the bottom of the page there’s another order button and a link to a free sample chapter, a Facebook group, an audio contemplation. Nothing hard-sell about this page at all. It’s effective, it really makes me want the program but I don’t feel under pressure in any way.
The Buying Process
When I click the order button, I’m sent to a clearly laid-out page that emphasises that the physical book is delivered free, that I can pay in three monthly instalments of $56.66 and that I get full access on the first payment. You fill in your billing and shipping information, choose single payment or the payment plan and scroll down to complete your credit card details. There it says, for the first time that I can remember, “Sales are final and non-refundable.”
After placing my order, I’m sent to a registration page where I choose a user name and password. (What? No OTO? No upsell? I may never recover from the shock!) I also received an email immediately confirming my order and giving me the registration page link, in case I missed it or closed my browser by mistake. (When I bought my copy she used to use InfusionSoft to process orders and in my experience it worked perfectly. I’m not sure who her processor is now, but I’m sure it works just as well.) I go straight into the portal without needing to wait to confirm my email address, and details of my user name and password are emailed to me at the same time.
Inside the Member Portal
The Portal of Desire as it’s called is a WordPress installation, so you get the familiar log in page. Across the top are links to The Full Book, Book 1/ Theory, Book 2/ Workbook, Enotes and Audios etc. Below the introductory paragraph are image links to the two parts of the book, enotes, audios, videos and playlists. There are other links in the left sidebar (Contact & FAQ, Affiliate resources etc).
I couldn’t wait and had to check out the book! It got a bit confusing here. I clicked on the Book 1 link in the top navigation bar and was given the choice of “View one page at a time” or “View two pages at a time.” But when I clicked on them, they both looked exactly the same to me! They’re both PDF files and served by Amazon S3, which is a bit slow. I’d like to download them but I’m not sure if I can at the moment. I choose the “one page at a time” option and a PDF file loads. It tells me it has 142 pages – I guess I could download it by clicking on File > Save Page As but it seems a slightly clumsy way of doing it. I’m looking for a download link in the portal but don’t see see one yet. I want to read it on my Kindle so I want to find the Kindle version if there is one; otherwise I’ll need to send the downloaded file to my Kindle email address and have Amazon convert it, which doesn’t give such a good result.
Ok, I’m trying the “Full Book” link and here it tells me that the worksheets are typable PDF files, so I can type my answers into them and save them on my computer. It also reminds me that I’m getting a printed book in the mail that I can write in as well. Then it says (and this confused me again) that I can download the full book “below” or the individual parts from the other links. And “below” are two PDF files, the single page and two-page spread, of the full book and below them is the book in a Scribd frame. I’m wondering if I can download through Scribd but apparently I can’t. I guess I have to right click on one of the PDF files and download it that way. If I was new to all this, it would be very confusing because nowhere does it tell you how to download the books. Nor do I see a warning that I must download the workbook if I want to type directly in it. [Edit: There is a warning under the Book 2 link - but not where the full book is]
Let’s explore the portal a bit more, maybe I’m missing something that’s staring me in the face. Ok, “enotes” is the web app, it lets me create graphics to print out, use as wallpaper or pin to Pinterest. There’s a short tutorial on how to create a vision board on Pinterest as well. The “Audios etc” link leads to the audiobook; contemplations, blessings and poems (I’ll come back to those later); playlists; and 8 short videos, including the trailer one again. The videos – and audios of the videos – are downloadable. The Book 2 link does have the warning that was missing on the full book page and also has the individual worksheets listed for download.
So after a bit of faffing around, I have the full book plus both parts of the book downloaded to my PC, plus the worksheets. What I don’t have unfortunately is a Kindle version of either – that’s a real shame. I know I can use the Amazon “convert” feature but it never works as well as having a properly formatted ebook version. I don’t understand why this very fundamental option wasn’t included.
That niggle aside (and I’m going to contact Danielle about it), so far I’m happy with my purchase. Tomorrow I’m going to start digging in to Book 1.