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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
1.You Must Be Open to New Ideas
2.You Must Be Dissatisfied with Status Quo
3.You Must Be Willing to Take Personal Responsibility
4.You Must Be Willing to Work Hard
If you read these four points and think "I am not that person", then this book probably isn't for you. For the rest of us, it's a must read. I am a mother of two young children, have my own business and plan to relocate the entire family within a year so our kids can have the experience of growing up in a culture so different from the United States. I encounter lots of questions or sometimes objections when I tell others about my goal, such as "What about your husband's job?" "Why would you leave this (wonderful/comfortable) life here in the U.S.?" "Isn't it risky?" "Aren't you worried?" At times I do think that I might be "crazy" for wanting this, but reading his book gave me a renewed sense of commitment towards my goal. Lastly, it's an enjoyable read as his writing style is very personal, yet direct. He doesn't sugar-code the truth but he also backs up the truth with his own experience and examples. If you have read this review this far, I highly recommend you give it a try.
I spend my days reading about and studying the gatekeepers and vampires that Guillebeau discusses and I am aware of even more devious and negative forces than he identifies. As a sociologist, however, one of the things that pleases me most about the book is the acknowledgment that other people exist. Far too many books in this genre forget the context in which one has to live an unconventional life. Guillebeau does not. He not only understands the need for dealing with those who would pressure a person to conform, but the need for a social structure to succeed (a "Small Army" he calls it) and the understanding of how one's actions affect the lives of others ("world domination"). We do not live our lives in a vacuum and Guillebeau's approach meets this context head on.
The thing that saddens me most about the book is that Guillebeau is not really that unconventional. Much of his advice and approach can be found in basic common sense and old fashioned understandings of how human beings should value their life, their time and other people. Most of what I read in this book I've heard before in other places. (Of course, I've lead a fairly unconventional life up to now and I share an influence in Barbara Sher, most notably her classic book, Wishcraft).
This saddens me because in our society this has become radical. It is radical now for a young person to ask themselves questions about their values, their talents, their desires, their legacy. It is radical to live apart from a centralized social and economic structure that is designed to encourage conformity and consumption. It is radical to question and create. It is radical to explore and discover.
Guillebeau is correct. It is radical and it will be met with resistance.
At community college I meet adult students of all ages who often are in school as an effort to change their lives. Unlike university settings, many of these students have already experienced some of their life and have already experienced disappointments. They have children. They have jobs. They struggle.
And as a sociology professor I have more bad news. I have to tell them that it is not the truth that education and a degree are magic entry into the middle class. I have to tell them that they are competing with other workers who have head starts on them because of social class structures and that the data connecting "a good education" with "a good paying job" is spurious because young people from middle and upper-middle class families with economic and social connections already in place get educations and degrees too, and then rely upon their parent's business connections to find the good paying job. In other words, the conventional life that Guillebeau so eloquently describes is often an illusion, available only to the few and the game is rigged in favor of that few.
But I remind them that there is good news in sociology as well. The good news is that the world in which we live is of our own making collectively. Most of what we perceive to be set in stone is merely the sum total of decisions made by individuals who are accepting scripts about life that can be questioned. In the questioning there is power. There is power to resist, power to drop out, power to change, power to be something different. The answers do lie in the unconventional and the nonconformity.
This book will not make you rich in the conventional sense. It is not a "10-easy steps" to life satisfaction. It is an honest account of a life well lived with some excellent pointers on how to get started living such a life. But in the end we must all live our lives as we choose within the context of everyone else living their lives as they choose.
So I am grateful for this book as a teacher and as a fellow traveler. It is a primer that I think anyone who is considering the question "What do I do?" should read. It is a book that I will be recommending a lot, as I have Guillebeau's website since finding it last year. It is a book that has helped me in making some decisions about my own path. It is a book that is needed in this time and this place.
--Pattie Thomas, Ph.D.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brain says ... need 5-year-plan and at least $400k to even think about starting.
Chris says ...I dare ya! Go for it!!!!