The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life

The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life

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by Chris Guillebeau

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A remarkable book that will both guide and inspire, The Happiness of Pursuit reveals how anyone can bring meaning into their life by undertaking a quest.
When he set out to visit all of the planet’s countries by age thirty-five, compulsive goal seeker Chris Guillebeau never imagined that his journey’s biggest revelation would…  See more details below


A remarkable book that will both guide and inspire, The Happiness of Pursuit reveals how anyone can bring meaning into their life by undertaking a quest.
When he set out to visit all of the planet’s countries by age thirty-five, compulsive goal seeker Chris Guillebeau never imagined that his journey’s biggest revelation would be how many people like himself exist – each pursuing a challenging quest.  And, interestingly, these quests aren’t just travel-oriented.  On the contrary, they’re as diverse as humanity itself.  Some involve exploration; others the pursuit of athletic or artistic excellence; still others a battle against injustice or poverty or threats to the environment.
Everywhere that Chris visited he found ordinary people working toward extraordinary goals, making daily down payments on their dream.  These “questers” included a suburban mom pursuing a wildly ambitious culinary project, a DJ producing the world’s largest symphony, a young widower completing the tasks his wife would never accomplish, and a teenager crossing an entire ocean alone - as well as a do-it-yourselfer tackling M.I.T.’s computer-science course, a nerd turning himself into real-life James Bond, and scores of others writing themselves into the record books.
The more Chris spoke with these strivers, the more he began to appreciate the direct link between questing and long-term happiness -- how going after something in a methodical way enriches our lives -- and he was compelled to complete a comprehensive study of the phenomenon and extract the best advice.  In The Happiness of Pursuit he draws on interviews with hundreds of questers, revealing their secret motivations, their selection criteria, the role played by friends and family, their tricks for solving logistics, and the importance of documentation.
Equally fascinating is Chris’ examination of questing’s other side, including questers’ acute awareness of mortality, their struggle against monotony, and their wistful feelings once a quest has succeeded. What happens after the summit is climbed, the painting hung, the endurance record broken, the “at risk” community saved? 
A book that challenges each of us to take control – to make our lives be about something while at the same time remaining clear-eyed about the commitment -- The Happiness of Pursuit will inspire readers of every age and aspiration.  It’s a playbook for making your life count.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Chris Guillebeau is a rare combination of sage and adventurer, and The Happiness of Pursuit is both a distillation of his wisdom and and a demonstration of his -- and others’-- passion for the questing life.  The passion Chris chronicles is infectious, and it becomes even more so as we read about life-focusing action delivering deep meaning.  Even if you prefer never to leave your armchair, this book will inspire you to to take a beautiful voyage – one that can be either physical or mental as you chase the thrill of steady accomplishment.”
—Susan Cain, Quiet Revolution co-founder and New York Times best-selling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
"If you like complacency and mediocrity, do not read this book. It's dangerously inspiring. It will make you want to do amazing things with your life. You may not end up visiting every country on Earth or directing a global protest from the top of a tree (I certainly won't), but Chris made me want to dive into an adventure. The Happiness of Pursuit is a how-to guide for avoiding a boring life."
--A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically
The Happiness of Pursuit is smart, honest, and dangerous. Why dangerous? Because it is as practical as it is inspiring. You won't just be daydreaming about your quest -- you'll be packing for it!”
 --Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Daring Greatly
“It’s not easy to dream big—and it’s not easy to turn that dream into reality. The brilliant Chris Guillebeau provides the essential blueprint for those of us for whom the happiness of pursuit—such as Chris’s successful quest to visit every country in the world—is a key part of the pursuit of happiness.”
--Gretchen Ruben, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project
The incredible quests Chris Guillebeau explores in The Happiness of Pursuit, including his own to visit every country, left me feeling exhausted. Of course, as a person who works from home, I limit my quests most days to taking a shower. Bottom line: these stories are inspiring--and very, very entertaining.”
--Joel Stein, columnist, Time magazine and author of Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity
“Passion is the quickest route to joy -- the kind that gets your heart beating and your soul smiling. It involves committing to something bigger than yourself, taking risks, trusting; there’s no passion in your comfort zone. Guillebeau’s route to happiness is taking on a quest -- something that will get you up in the morning, impatient to begin your day. His stories, biographies, observations, and personal insights will get you thinking about a greater purpose. And there’s a lot of how-to in here. If you’ve been wondering ‘what it’s all about?’ this book could change your life.”
--Rita Golden Gelman, author of Tales of a Female Nomad, Living at Large in the World
 “When a quest is a journey or a sought-after goal, it can be satisfying, fun, even paradigm-shifting. But when a quest begins with an inner yearning and transforms into a calling, it becomes medicine for the soul, and this changes everythingThe Happiness of Pursuit is an invitation to listen to the part of oneself that craves purpose.  It says. "Hey! Wake up! Your unique adventure awaits you." 
-Lissa Rankin, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine

From the Hardcover edition.

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Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony
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The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're looking to get motivated and looking for great ideas on things to do I think this book is right for you
Just_Tony More than 1 year ago
Many people are looking for ways to create a meaningful life.  These same people know that they are worth more than they are right now.   Sure, these people could go to life changing events, but they need something more---something that they can take with them.  I would like to introduce you, the reader, to this masterpiece called "The Happiness of Pursuit." This book is about the art of finding your Quest.  What is a Quest?  Many people have different meanings about of what a Quest is, but Chris Guillebeau stated the definition of a Quest, beautifully and expertly. A Quest is a goal that has a specific end point.  It is something that is meaningful to you and it is something you would die for.  A Quest is something that consumes you that you will do just about anything, to make it a reality in your life.  If you read this book, it will cause you to raise your standards.  This book will also force you to want to do more with your life.  Do not read this review any further.  Just go ahead and buy this book.  You will not regret it.
jeverettmorton More than 1 year ago
This is a fun read if you've ever thought of doing something a little different. I'm just cynical enough to not let the words of one person set the rules for my own quests and ambitions, but hopeful and quirky enough to to let it act as a good guideline. I've read Chris Guillebeau's previous two books, The Art of Non-Conformity and The $100 Start-Up. This one shares some parallels with the Art of Non-Conformity, yet still stands alone. The Happiness of Pursuit looks at a number of people who have completed what the author calls quests. The quests all have a specific criteria, but range widely. One woman was determined to cook a meal from every country for her family, one guy studied and passed the entire MIT curriculum in a year, one guy walked across the entire United States, and one guy is working on taking one million quality photographs. These aren't spoilers, more like teasers. From these various quests the reader learns about the rewards and obstacles each quester faced and gains insights on how to identify his or her own quest. I was an easy sell on this book because I was a fan of his earlier works and I subscribe to similar thoughts as the author. I'm a fan of tests of endurance (I once sang "This is the song that doesn't end" for an hour just to see if I could), working on something that seems impossible, and I've toyed with the idea of breaking a world record just to say I did. I'm inspired by artists that have accomplished unusual feats and thought, "There is no reason I can't do something remarkable, too." I'd never thought of my life goals as quests before, but this book has got me to reexamine some of the things I want to do and see how they might be quests. I've got a couple ideas already and I'm both scared and excited when I really consider them.