I was so excited by Chris Guillebeau’s book The Happiness of Pursuit, which I reviewed two weeks ago, that I immediately got his earlier book, The Art of Non-Conformity. In some ways, I found it even more interesting. I also think there are at least four* more fascinating books somewhere inside the author that deserve to be written, any one of which could stand alone and make his reputation as a thought leader, if he hadn’t built that reputation already.
I think I may have seen The Art of Non-Conformity at some point and shrugged it off as a book I didn’t need to read, because I could probably write it myself. Past Self, you imbecile, what were you thinking?
Guillebeau spends single chapters addressing topics that others have made the centerpiece of their careers. He uses the term ‘convergence’ for pulling all the threads of life together and making them balance. Personal finance (Your Money or Your Life fans, he got to Chapter 9 a few decades early); ‘radical exclusion’ (for the minimalist/de-cluttering crowd); location-independent work (4-Hour Workweek fans); adventure travel; epic-level volunteerism… He basically presents all the radical things he did in just a few years, demonstrates how it can be done by anyone who wants it enough, and then waves it off at the end by saying he doesn’t want to get caught up replaying his glory days and that he’s still planning more cool stuff. Meanwhile, the rest of us are still staring at our staplers and tape dispensers and boggling at the idea that maybe we don’t have to spend another 30 years in a cubicle… ?
Okay, I’m excited. Guillebeau’s books are nice and short and you can blast right through them, and I hope you do. How many quests will burst into being due to his inspiration?
* One on how he hacked his education, one on traveling to 197 countries, one on his four years doing charity work in Africa, and another on the genesis of the World Domination Summit. That would maybe just about get him caught up.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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