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This review is from: The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World (Perigee Book.) (Kindle Edition)
I have a hard time believing I read the same book as the rest of the reviewers.
The first problem I have with this book is that it's not three books. I suspect that if the book were split into three, the result would be much better. An autobiography of the author could be interesting. A book on how to travel well and on the cheap would be useful. A book on the art and virtue of non-conformity could be good. Instead, we get one book that fails at all three.
To me, the author came off as self-congratulatory if not condescending, and offered very little that is new or even interesting. The assumption is that if you're not living the way he is, you're doing something wrong. His chapter on building your "small army" could just have easily been titled "how to put people in categories so you can mooch off of them."
I'm a huge fan of bucking trends and approaching life with a non-conformist view. All assumptions should be challenged. All authority should be questioned. There are many paths to many different goals. However, that's not what this book is about, and there is very little here for someone that doesn't want to make money by taking advantage of a "small army".
The author advocates life-long learning (yay!) but thinks universities are pointless. (boo!) His main argument seems to be that since he was able to pass tests without learning anything, then the system is useless. Really? While it's true that the formal education system isn't for everyone, there are many thousands of people that have managed to take full advantage of the opportunities it presents. College isn't for everyone, and you have to try to use the system, not get around it, if you want to get anything out of it.
There are many paths through life, and many ways to embrace non-conformity. The dreaded cubicle life can be one of soul-sucking boredom, or you can make a lot of friends, litter the office with desktop nerf dart cannons, all while working towards a common goal. Many paths to the same goal.
The worst part is the that book starts off so promising. The first couple of chapters are a brilliantly motivational introduction. Too bad the book never gets around to delivering.
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Showing 1-10 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 26, 2010 2:40:55 PM PDT
Great review. I haven't read the book, but I think your non-conformist review tells me all I need to know about it.
Posted on Sep 30, 2010 12:52:14 AM PDT
I totally agree with the previous comment (by Heather Moss), and, in fact, think it'd be great to read a book by someone like you!
Posted on Oct 10, 2010 12:16:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 10, 2010 12:17:05 PM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 13, 2010 2:55:45 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Feb 20, 2013 11:45:02 AM PST
Alan Smithee says:
Patricia, paragraphs; have you heard of them?
Even non-conformists have rules, guidelines, codes, whatever. You appear to think that an anarchist is a non-conformist; they are not. "Thinking for one's self" is non-conformity? What happens when everyone is doing that? Is it still "non-convormity?"
You of course wrongly assume that everyone else is a sheeple who blithely follow the trail set for them.That is arrogance; no doubt in your mind non-conformity.
Quite frankly your screed makes me wonder about your mental health.
Posted on Oct 19, 2010 8:43:53 PM PDT
Chris Guillebeau says:
Hi G. Hoffman, I'm so sorry to hear you didn't like the book. If there is anything I can do to make the experience better for you, please let me know. From your review it sounds like you're taking a number of things out of context -- I never said universities were pointless (far from it), the point of a small army is not to "mooch" off them, and if you thought the book started off brilliantly, I'm not sure why I ended up with one star at the end.
But nevertheless, I wish you the very best and hope that you find a better resource in your own quest for world domination. -cg
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2010 11:09:57 AM PST
L. Bronte says:
Wow! ML Jackson:
What a hater! So what if Patricia's writing skills are not perfect, she had some comments worth contemplating. I may not agree with everything she said, and perhaps this is not the right forum, but flaming her perspective? Perfectionism is not all it's cracked up to be! Frankly I find questioning someone elses sanity in a very arrogant and public manner, in a public forum to be very emotionally and mentally violent. I didn't get the memo on your "Lordship of appropriateness", and Oh, did you have a comment on G. Hoffmans excellent review?:-
Posted on Dec 10, 2010 11:17:28 AM PST
L. Bronte says:
Thanks for the excellent review. Do you perhaps have some recommendations of good books along this attempt at the topic? I do agree that it is a bit silly to try to define how one should be a free thinker, but books on the art of thinking for yourself, now that might be interesting. Keep articulating those well thought out opinions:)
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2010 6:40:18 PM PST
Nadia Mumida says:
I just wanted to tell you that I appreciated your comment. I did like ML Jacksons comment about paragraphs, though. But parts made me uncomfortable, and I was relieved when you pointed out that it was emotionally and mentally violent.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2010 6:14:45 PM PST
Jacqueline Jolie says:
I would suggest Harry Browne's "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World"
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 24, 2011 3:29:45 PM PST
KatyRose O'Day Baker says:
Good grief, woman, you do crave an audience, don't you? We come here to read book reviews, not to hear about who, what, or why about you. Your own sense of self-esteem is called into question with your in-your-face attitude. (Paragraphs? Doesn't look as though you took time to breathe, much less hit an enter key.) No one is more of a non-comformist than I am, but I definitely do not feel the need to prove that to anyone, or to bore them with the details. Could we now get back to a review of the book?