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The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World (Perigee Book.) Paperback – September 7, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
The underlying message of Guillebeau's book, based on his popular blog, is that "You don't have to live your life the way other people expect you to." Those who are open-minded, ready to challenge the status-quo, hard-working, and personally responsible can lead lives of rare authenticity through radical goal-setting, the author counsels, rewriting motivational standards in edgier prose: "The pathway to world domination, or whatever it is you want to do, begins with clearly understanding what you want to get out of life." Although directed at readers of all ages, his message is likely to appeal most to those without dependents. Although he believes that "competence is your security," many readers may feel a need for more of a safety net than that, such as a retirement plan. The ideas presented here are interesting, the advice grounded in logic and common sense, and, ironically, the outlook based in the same outside-the-box thinking that corporations are coming to adopt. The author challenges the status quo on college degrees, spending and saving, employment, collecting, and other issues, and coaches for success with a likeable, energetic voice. Peppered throughout with stories from his own life, Guillebeau's intriguing guide will motivate readers to listen to their impulses and realize their goals. (Sept.) (c)
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"Chris Guillebeau is the Indiana Jones of career experts. With his signature insight and humor, he tackles a critical question: How do we forge the life of our dreams in the face of overwhelming pressure to conform and avoid risks? In The Art of Non-Conformity, Chris adds a fresh perspective, drawn from his non-conforming adventures, to the lively debate. Those who follow Chris’s wildly popular blog will welcome these ideas in the more comprehensive book form—or give it as a gift to people who need it."
-Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project
"This is a direct, honest and truly scary book. I hope you have the guts to listen to what Chris has to say, and not become one of the monkeys he warns you about."
-Seth Godin, author of Linchpin
"The Art of Non-Conformity is like a lightning bolt to the head. Read it and your brain will spark and sizzle."
- Neil Pasricha, author of The Book of Awesome
"The conventional world order has blown up, much to the relief of students, cubicle dwellers, artists and activists who knew there was a better way. This brilliant book will wake you up and inspire you as it guides you to create a new life on your own terms, earn a great living and positively impact your corner of the world."
-Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation
"Some people are content to report on others' success. Not Chris. He lives and breathes what others dare to dream, pushes the envelope of possibility, then shares his experiences, lessons, tools, ideas and strategies in a way that makes it all seem not just doable...but imperative. Go! Read this book now!"
- Jonathan Fields, author of Career Renegade
"Chris Guillebeau's delightfully rebellious book, The Art of Non- Conformity, teaches us how to live with gusto, on our own terms, and bring excitement into our lives. His encouraging and witty tone will inspire even the least courageous person to make bold steps. I love this book!"
-Barbara Sher, author of I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was
"Here's the way to find your own path, set your own rules and find your own purpose-and all with courage and grace, resilience and style."
-Michael Bungay Stanier, author of Do More Great Work
"Chris Guillebeau is an inspiration. Many people talk about living their dreams, and here's a young person who has actually done it- traveling around the world, giving back to the community, and getting paid to work on his own terms. The Art of Non-Conformity tackles the toughest problems associated with following your passion, and Chris supports the provided viewpoints with eye-opening statistics and anecdotes. He derives valuable life lessons from all of his experiences, and we have been privileged to go along for the ride."
-Alexandra Levit, author of New Job, New You
"Do not be surprised if you start noticing the guy next to you in the coffee shop or the woman seated across the aisle on your plane intently reading a battered copy of The Art of Non-Conformity. It's not just a book, after all, it's a beloved companion for those who know that life is an adventure worth exploring."
-Barbara J. Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job
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It is definitely geared towards folks who want to work enough to fund traveling around the world so if you're that flavor of non-conformist, this will really speak to you. Guillebeau is a champion of the side-hustles, which is great, but definitely not for everyone. If you're looking for a book to help you find purpose or direction in life, this is not the best one, BUT this one may give you to leverage your skillset, step out of the box, and try something crazy.
This is a really great gift for HS graduates, kids in college, and really, adventurers of all ages looking for more.
One of the very first points Guillebeau makes in The Art of Non-Conformity is that you don’t have to live your life to fulfill the expectations of others. He goes on to write that when you do things that people don’t expect, understand, or find “normal” they will inevitably marginalize you and your decisions and make it their responsibility to bring all of your potential mistakes to your attention. They want to punish you for “escaping” from the expected ways of life. They want to punish you for having the guts and the courage to do something they themselves could never do.
If you question the status quo, if you are forging your own path, if you are going against the tide, you are going to come up against a tremendous amount of resistance. “Instead of being easy, the most memorable times in our lives are often the most challenging. Overcoming the challenge is worth it in the end, but the challenge itself is also worth pursuing,” says Guillebeau. “As a general rule, it’s usually better to do something than not do it. We tend to regret what we haven’t done more than what we have.”
Guillebeau emphasizes setting your own rules and living the life you want. If that means pursuing your dream of being a writer, having a child, staying single forever or moving across the country on a whim, these are your choices and the opinions of others should not be reflected in your decisions.
As Henry David Thoreau once said, “most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with their song still in them.” Don’t go to the grave with your sting still in you. Belt out those notes, sing at the top of your lungs, create the life you dream about and ignore the naysayers. Live your legacy and embrace life as the adventure it should be. ”The tragedy of life is not so much what we suffer, but rather what we miss.” – Thomas Carlyle
I highly recommend picking up Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity!
- Underdogs can win using unconventional strategy (statistics on page 79 based from Malcolm Gladwell article in NY Times on 5-11-09
- Create a peer network (LifeRemix)
- Set goals even on a weekly basis.
- Set up an alternative graduate school experience (of things to read and do, like read Bible, read Economist, etc, publish on a time schedule)
- Ralph Nader: "I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers"
- Education is fine but inspiration and personal component is even bigger. Why should someone care about what you are doing? That is the point. He says, people don't necessarily care that Guillebeau travels around the world to every country. So he had to do more than just write about his travels around the world. So he focused on "achieving big goals" and "creating a life of personal freedom". There needs to be a good answer to the "reason why".
- What is the single, most important thing I can do today? How much time did I spend creating today? Did I move closer to achieving a big goal?
- Measure your work in output, not hours. Create.
- Create a metric for your work. 1,000 words a day is 300,000 words per year or about 100 blog posts, 20 newspaper columns, 20 guest articles, 3 information products, 1 book.
- Focus on deliverables and metrics.
- Process (journey) is more important than the final destination. Time is needed but make the work count.
- Original goal: accumulate enough wealth to live off the interest. Now: create financial security through an income-based strategy. Self-created income. Increase and diversify your income.
- Win-win: you enjoy your life and at the same time make the world a better place
- Define what we want and then find a way to make it happen. Take your dreams more seriously.
- Life list (of goals)
- Be prepared to work for it though.