Customer Reviews for

The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Inspiring Book to Help You Plan an Unconventional Life

Chris Guillebeau has a popular blog also called the Art of Non-Conformity, and he's taken is honest, thoughtful style to inspire even more people (offline) to pursue their goals and dreams with a realistic, practical approach to work, school and freedom.

Chris is a d...
Chris Guillebeau has a popular blog also called the Art of Non-Conformity, and he's taken is honest, thoughtful style to inspire even more people (offline) to pursue their goals and dreams with a realistic, practical approach to work, school and freedom.

Chris is a down-to-earth guy who surprised people like myself when he "snuck" on the online blog scene with his excellent manifestos like "A Brief Guide to World Domination" isn't some fake guru-esque model with unrealistic plans or generic information.

Chris is a good example of someone who walks the talk, who helps you be your better self -- to make a real impact on the world.

Roxanne of Unruly Guides

posted by UnrulyGuides on September 6, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Inspiring Advice, But Sometimes Contradictory with Little Strategy

The subtitle, the blurbs on the cover, and the quotes on the inside of the book do an excellent job marketing Chris Guillebeau's The Art of Non-Conformity. It is about time that someone set forth to write a common sense guide to establishing one's own priorities not ba...
The subtitle, the blurbs on the cover, and the quotes on the inside of the book do an excellent job marketing Chris Guillebeau's The Art of Non-Conformity. It is about time that someone set forth to write a common sense guide to establishing one's own priorities not based on a blinded society's rules as to what life "should" be.

Educated at a traditional institution, Chris Guillebeau quickly realized that he wanted to live by his own rules, establishing his own terms and determining to make a difference in the world by setting his own priorities. In straightforward, non-nonsense language, he explains how he set out to visit every single country in the world and dispelled common myths along the way about how life should be lived. Admittedly, Guillebeau retained little useful information from his academic education and firmly believes that life experience is by far the better education.

What keeps most people from achieving their potential is fear, and most fears are baseless, taught to us by an ignorant society. Guillebeau explains that while fear is normal and rational, one can overcome fears in order to achieve a higher purpose and break through society's expectations. Another challenge to achieving goals is overcoming authority. Clearly, Guillebeau is against established authority, and without directly saying so, he actually appears to condone law-breaking in defiance of authority while praising activist Tim DeChristopher's illegal intervention in outbidding oil companies in the purchasing of land. While it's fine to challenge authority, suggesting one break the law in order to get ahead in life hardly seems like logical advice. After all, how much can you really accomplish in life and change the world from behind bars?

At times, Guillebeau directly contradicts himself. He states, "Entertainment and publishing firms establish a cartel that promotes mediocrity and hinders independent artists." Yet Guillebeau himself is published by Perigee, a division of The Penguin Group, one of the largest publishing houses in the world. If we are to expect that Guillebeau really lives by his principles, why would he not have chosen an independent publishing house or merely self-published? Is he another sell-out toting advice that he, himself, does not follow?

Key to Guillebeau's insight are concepts such as self-belief and the importance of travel. Overall, The Art of Non-Conformity is full of motivation and mind-set, but it is very lean on strategy as to concrete actions someone can take to begin living the life they want. One strategy that Guillebeau does explain in detail is the importance of being debt-free. He has chosen what many might call a minimalist existence, ridding himself of the need for unnecessary material things and wasted time.

Overall, The Art of Non-Conformity is motivational and inspiring. When combined with a more strategic book like Barbara Sher's Wishcraft (which Guillebeau acknowledges in his book), it can be part of a useful armory of tools to help one achieve one's greatest desires.

posted by Richard_Szponder on January 22, 2011

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