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The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World Paperback – Sep 7 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee (Sept. 7 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399536108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399536106
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.7 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #59,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"This is a direct, honest and truly scary book. I hope you have the guts to listen to what Chris has to say, and not become one of the monkeys he warns you about."
-Seth Godin, author of Linchpin

"Chris Guillebeau is the Indiana Jones of career experts."
-Gretchen Rubin author of The Happiness Project

"The Art of Non-Conformity is like a lightning bolt to the head. Read it and your brain will spark and sizzle."
- Neil Pasricha, author of The Book of Awesome

"The conventional world order has blown up, much to the relief of students, cubicle dwellers, artists and activists who knew there was a better way. This brilliant book will wake you up and inspire you as it guides you to create a new life on your own terms, earn a great living and positively impact your corner of the world."
-Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation

"Some people are content to report on others' success. Not Chris. He lives and breathes what others dare to dream, pushes the envelope of possibility, then shares his experiences, lessons, tools, ideas and strategies in a way that makes it all seem not just doable...but imperative. Go! Read this book now!"
- Jonathan Fields, author of Career Renegade

"Chris Guillebeau's delightfully rebellious book, The Art of Non- Conformity, teaches us how to live with gusto, on our own terms, and bring excitement into our lives. His encouraging and witty tone will inspire even the least courageous person to make bold steps. I love this book!"
-Barbara Sher, author of I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was

"Here's the way to find your own path, set your own rules and find your own purpose-and all with courage and grace, resilience and style."
-Michael Bungay Stanier, author of Do More Great Work

"Chris Guillebeau is an inspiration. Many people talk about living their dreams, and here's a young person who has actually done it- traveling around the world, giving back to the community, and getting paid to work on his own terms. The Art of Non-Conformity tackles the toughest problems associated with following your passion, and Chris supports the provided viewpoints with eye-opening statistics and anecdotes. He derives valuable life lessons from all of his experiences, and we have been privileged to go along for the ride."
-Alexandra Levit, author of New Job, New You

"Do not be surprised if you start noticing the guy next to you in the coffee shop or the woman seated across the aisle on your plane intently reading a battered copy of The Art of Non-Conformity. It's not just a book, after all, it's a beloved companion for those who know that life is an adventure worth exploring."
-Barbara J. Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job

About the Author

Chris Guillebeau is a writer, world traveler, entrepreneur, and lifelong learner. Self-employed for his entire adult life, he currently writes for an army of remarkable people at and is a regular contributor to, Bloomberg Businessweek, the Huffington Post, and other outlets.

Dan John Miller has earned multiple Audie Award nominations, winning for The Wrecking Crew by Kent Hartman; has twice been named a Best Voice by AudioFile magazine; and has received several AudioFile Earphones Awards. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Bought this as a last minute impulse, wasn't too sure what it was about but maybe I was unfortunately pulled in by the front cover (which I hear you should never judge a book by). The start was interesting talking about how everyone does the same and you don't have to, but then it turns into a story of a guy that hated working for others and stopped doing it as soon as possible and followed personal goals like travelling to every country in the world. Now it is not in the normal sense where he started a little business and started making millions a year so that he had this freedom, no, he simply makes enough to support his lifestyle (why should you make more). Then it turns into a how to start a blog manual which was unexpected. Still eyeopening, it reminded me of my brother who has worked less than a quarter of the time since he graduated university then he's been unemployed for the other quarter and travelled the world the other half (it's been about 5 years) - so maybe that's why it wasn't too shocking. One part I didn't like was the evidence for his ideas or outlooks is a story of a friend or a someone he has heard of. It feels a little bit like the book is being written 1. to get the ideas out to the world (as stated in the book) but also 2. so that he can make a form of passive income while he travels (missing a lot of meat for what I'm used to)
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Format: Paperback
It's hard not to LIKE Guillebeau; he's just so damn earnest. But this book suffers from the same dynamic that motivational speakers engender; post-talk letdown. Some meals consist of a number of tasty morsels, but not much actual nutrition. You're hungry almost immediately afterward. So it is here.

First the positive stuff: Yup, this will get you in the proper mindset for examining your priorities, needs and goals. (But, what self-help book doesn't?) It's encouraging to hear how the author has "made do" (and then some, apparently) with an unconventional approach to "making a living", while actually managing to have some fun. He's perhaps the ultimate paradigm for getting paid for play. An inspiration or model for others? Perhaps.

The book starts out as if it will really lead up to something, but peters out; a promising "let's get our thinking in order" platform kind of trails off into a series of vignettes concerning his quest to visit every country on earth, ramblings on "world domination" (his rather loose construct for living live on your own terms) and numerous appropriations from a number of other self-help guide authors (Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Chris Brogan, etc.) If cheer-leading is what you're looking for, this book never relents. If you want more, you'll be disappointed.

In sum, this is what I call a 'booklet' - a couple of core ideas that have been expanded and expounded on enough to fill several hundred pages. (Seth Godin is a master of churning out an endless series of flabby brochures of this kind.) EVERYTHING in this book is available for free on Gillebeau's blog. As much as I like Guillebeau and admire his feisty way of making a living, I can't avoid observing that a BIG part of this book is pure filler. On the other hand, if you want to get a (quick) handle on why Guillebeau's blog is so damn popular, this is probably as good a way as any. (Just don't expect to start issuing world orders right away.)
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By ATC123 TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 7 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Based upon the MBTI, I am a INTJ, which is normally classified as "life's independent thinker", so I was looking for insight into why being "independent" is ok or how this approach to life provides innovative insights. Also I know that non-conformity is not about having a bunch of body piercings like the rest of your friends, to show how different you are, while all the time fitting into your group. Rather non-conformity should be about have the capacity to reason through different topics and not necessarily arrive at the same conclusion as the group - Galileo, Copernicus, Newton were all non-conformists and their insights changed the way the world worked - and changed it for the better. This book is a rather shallow read and it seems like a condensed version of a PowerPoint slide presentation. It is about the author and largely does not address any intellectual concepts that might support the thesis that non-conformity is a positive trait and reminds me more of an info-mercial than anything else. While it is a quick read, I would not spend time reading it.
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Format: Paperback
I absolutely loved this book. The first time I read the sentence "you don't have to live your life the way that people expect you to" marked the beginning of a serious paradigm shift. If you are looking for a really accessible guide to living a meaningful life that doesn't conform to the expectations of the people around you, then you should buy this book.

I loved the 4 Hour Workweek, but Tim Ferriss always strikes me as superhuman somehow - one of those ridiculously energetic, motivated people who is completely relentless. I find Chris Guillebeau's writing to be more accessible, not because he is any less amazing, but because he comes across as ridiculously humble, and primarily focused on helping other people be extraordinary. In this book he strikes me as a normal guy doing extraordinary things. I find myself referring back to this book whenever I feel pressured to expend energy conforming to standards that I don't buy into. The Art of Non-Conformity is very much about asking questions and challenging the status quo.

If you need a book to help you start taking your own dreams seriously, buy this one.
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