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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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Top customer reviews
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!
Absolutely, stunningly inspiring. Anything I write here is just a small snapshot of the elegance in prose that is Chris Guillebeau's writing. I am so inspired by his clarity in personal vision. It's hard to find people who have distilled the basic tenants of life into such (seemingly) simple ideas and questions.
The book makes me want to burst out of the office and start painting humongous signs on it with my personal vision and life manifesto.
For those of you who don't know: Chris is a traveler, writer, and fearless entrepreneur whose missions are, among others: to travel to every country in the world, live an unconventional life, and give away as much knowledge as he can - for free. Two of his manifestos are A Brief Guide to World Domination and 279 Days to Overnight Success. I highly encourage you to take a look at them. And be prepared to take steps towards becoming awesome.
Chris reminds us to take our dreams seriously and to challenge the conventional by asking what it is we truly want out of life. You can't make something out of your life, he says, unless you know where it is you want to go. So: what do you want from your life?
The brilliance of Chris's writing is how easily he puts into words the most essential of life questions. The book is not long. The ideas are not in themselves hard. And, he's refreshingly honest: the hard work is up to you. If you have figured out what you want (This may take some time, too - most people have not stopped to ask themselves this first fundamental question), you must be prepared to work hard and be exceptionally determined in order to get what you want.
Chris takes a minor tangent in Chapter 10, "Contrarian Adventures," that perhaps would be better suited as the launching point for a different sort of book; I would have preferred to go straight from "Radical Exclusion" on to "Your Legacy Starts Now," because the momentum of the finish was diverted for a few pages.
Possibly my favorite passage from his book:
"... the world needs people who fail to conform and refuse to settle. Without the determined efforts of unreasonable people, most of the rest of us (including the "reasonable" people) would be much worse off. Martin Luther King Jr. was quite unreasonable to suggest that all free men and women in America should be treated equally. Gandhi was quite unreasonable to suggest that India should shake off the chains of colonialism from Britain.
Innovation comes from entrepreneurs and others who are willing to accept risk and try new things. Improvements in social justice come from those who question authority. Being unreasonable or impractical, in other words, doesn't sound that bad to me." (Dangerous ideas, page 222)
In the end, Chris defines World Domination as "The convergence between getting what you really want while also helping others in a unique way." His manifesto to you? Decide to be remarkable. The best part about figuring out what you want? Your talents are probably helping other people in a unique, outstanding way.
Because the 'Art of Nonconformity' is simple: "You don't have to live your life the way other people expect you to." And when you live your life unconventionally, chances are, you'll be a lot more inspirational. Because you'll be yourself, at your best.