A remarkable guide to the quests that give our lives meaning—and how to find your own—from the New York Times bestselling author of The $100 Startup and 100 Side Hustles
“If you like complacency and mediocrity, do not read this book. It’s dangerously inspiring.”—A. J. Jacobs, author of The Know-It-All
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. These quests are as diverse as humanity itself, involving exploration, the pursuit of athletic or artistic excellence, or battling against injustice and poverty. Everywhere that Chris visited he found ordinary people working toward extraordinary goals, making daily down payments on their dreams. 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 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, and he was compelled to complete a comprehensive study of the phenomenon. 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’s examination of questing’s other side. 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.
“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 Daring Greatly
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About the Author
Chris Guillebeau is the author of The Art of Non-Conformity, The $100 Startup, The Happiness of Pursuit, Born for This, Side Hustle, and 100 Side Hustles. During a lifetime of self-employment that included a four-year commitment as a volunteer executive in West Africa, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his thirty-fifth birthday. His daily podcast, Side Hustle School, is downloaded more than two million times a month. He is also the founder of the World Domination Summit, an event for cultural creatives that attracts thousands of attendees to Portland, Oregon, every summer.
Table of Contents
Prologue: On the Road 3
Chapter 1 Awakening 13
Chapter 2 The Great Discontent 26
Chapter 3 The Calling 39
'Dispatch: Courage 51
Chapter 4 Defining Moments 54
Chapter 5 Self-Reliance 71
Chapter 6 Everyday Adventure 87
Dispatch: Routine 101
Chapter 7 Time and Money 105
Chapter 8 Life Listing 122
Chapter 9 Forward Motion 137
Chapter 10 The Love of the Craft 151
Chapter 11 Joining Forces 165
Dispatch: Struggle 176
Chapter 12 Rebel for a Cause 179
Chapter 13 The Long Road 193
Chapter 14 Misadventures 212
Chapter 15 Transformation 225
Dispatch: Community 237
Chapter 16 Homecomings 240
Chapter 17 Finale 257
Appendix 1 Lessons from the Journey 267
Appendix 2 Cast of Characters 271
Appendix 3 A Quest for Everyone 279
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
If you're looking to get motivated and looking for great ideas on things to do I think this book is right for you
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.