I have recently finished the book The Art Of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau so I thought I would write a review of it!
Overall I thought the book was pretty good, definitely worth a read. I would recommend it to everyone out there especially anyone who has the nagging feeling that there must be more to life than the normal life that seems to be forced upon you.
There is some common ground with The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss as this book also tackles the idea of living the life you want but instead on focusing on how to reduce your time spent working on stuff you may not enjoy the focus is on doing what you really love, working harder than before but on stuff that you really enjoy…
In other words the book helps you create, or at least helps you realise that it is possible to create, your ideal lifestyle based around something you are really passionate about.
Basis For The Book
Chris suggests that you should challenge the common assumptions about how you should live or work. You will then likely realise that there is nothing to force you to conform, it’s just simpler and less risky to follow that route. The path less travelled can be tricky but can also be a lot more rewarding, and not just with wealth…
The book explains how you can build a life around what you love if you are willing to put in the hours. This gives you more freedom to pursue what is important to you.
There are a lot of real world examples in the book of people who have created their own non-conforming way of life on their own terms and loving every minute of it…
Anyway time for a few quotes from the book. This first one talks about retirement:
The conventional model is still the myth of deferred gratification – spending the most productive years of our lives creating wealth that can only be enjoyed years or decades away in a distant future.
Do we really have to wait until we retire to enjoy life? I don’t think so but if you only get a few days off a year then how can you really make the most of the money you earn?
This next quote really made me think:
All things being equal, we generally resist change until the pain of making a switch becomes less than the pain of remaining in our current situation. This is why incompetent or even hostile employees are allowed to remain in a job far longer than they should, because managers don’t want to deal with finding someone else to replace the bad apple.
To me this suggests that we are constantly dealing with some pain or annoyance as it is just easier than finding a suitable solution. Until the problem becomes unbearable, or at least switching to the alternative is much less painful, then we just live with it…
And finally this last quote shows how you should stand out from the crowd by having a real opinion even though it may be riskier than taking the easy option of covering all the bases:
There’s an old joke about the president who asks for a one-armed economist because he is tired of his advisors giving their opinion and then saying, ‘Well on the other hand’. The point is that refusing to present a real opinion is always the safe road. Instead, take the road of risk by taking a stand.
There are a lot of quotes from other sources scattered throughout the book. One that stood out to me was:
Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. – Anonymous
This is perfect in the context of the book as well as Chris is extremely well travelled. He is on a quest to visit every country in the world before he is 35. He is currently up to about 151/192. Beats me hands down and I thought I was well travelled…
You can also follow Chris on his blog of the same name The Art Of Non-Conformity if you want to find out a bit more about him. This is another of the few blogs that I follow pretty regularly…
So what did I think of the book?
At first I did find it hard to get too excited about the book as it seemed to be rehashing a lot of stuff that I had already read on the blog or in eBooks of his that I had read. After a while though I realised that it was expanding on things and adding some real world examples which really helped show what’s really possible. Everything started to tie together well and by the end of the book I just couldn’t put it down.
So basically I recommend you go check out The Art Of Non-Conformity for some interesting ideas on how to get the most out of life. If you haven’t read any of Chris’s work before then this is the perfect place to start. Even if you have read some of hist stuff though it is still worth a read as it definitely expands on his other works…
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