Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Nook - The Art of Non-Conformity

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

If I had to pick one word to describe this book it would be inspiring.  Author Chris Guillebeau has such a great forward-thinking way of looking at life and work.  Here's a person who has basically been an entrepreneur since his first days of work, and now lives an unconventional life - writing, blogging & doing speaking engagements, all while tackling his personal goal of visiting every country on the planet.  All before he turns 35.

There are a few discussions from the book that really stuck with me.  The first one is about monkeys.  He writes that if we have several monkeys in a cage, and train them gradually to not go after the bananas dangling from the top of the cage, eventually they won't try.  New monkeys replacing existing monkeys are taught to not get the bananas and eventually, none of the monkeys knows why they can't get the bananas, they just know they shouldn't.  Of course, the monkeys in this scenario are your 9-to-5-workers.  Throughout the book, Guillebeau offers encouragement for us to get those bananas!

I also loved the self-directed graduate program he suggests.  Guillebeau doesn't sugar-coat his college and graduate school experiences.  He felt like most of it was a waste of time and money.  So, he suggests his own "course," which includes things like a round the world trip, joining a toastmasters club and reading a bunch of classics.  He asks: are you looking for a piece of paper in the end, or are you looking for an education?

I was also taken with the notions of being proactive about your own destiny, don't allow a company to drive your bus.  When times are hard, shouldn't we rely on our own resources, not the whims of a corporation?  I also really enjoyed his discussion about laying the foundation for your own legacy, starting today.  It got me thinking about what I want to leave behind one day, and what I want to be remembered for.  Don't wait until you're too old to do anything about it - now is the time.

Page after page I was nodding my head, and reading ideas out loud to my DH.  I wouldn't say it's a real hands-on kind of instructional book, and realistically, many people could not live the kind of life the author does.  But if you want to be in charge of your life - maybe through being an entrepreneur or pursuing a creative dream, this book is packed full of inspiration that will get you motivated to make a change, and stop "sleepwalking" through life.


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