Some quick thoughts on the Art of Non-Conformity

Chris Guillebeau‘s new book, The Art of Non-Conformity, is clear, concise, and gets straight to the point. Chris tries to eliminate “busy work” from his life, and he’s done an excellent job of eliminating “busy reading” from this book.

This is a book about living the life that you want to live and not the life that someone else wants you to live. And that is what I found most refreshing about the book: Chris isn’t saying be a rebel and do things just because someone else said you couldn’t (or shouldn’t); he’s saying don’t do something just because someone else says you should.

The message is a positive one – figure out what it is that you want from your life and do that. And allow – encourage – others to do the same. This last point, I think, is especially valuable for parents, who should read this book and keep it in mind as they raise their kids and prepare them for their own adventures in the world. (A theme I’ve touched on before.)

If you are not currently a non-conformist, you will think “no way” and “he’s crazy” more than once as you read through this book; but if you make it all the way through you’ll thank him for it in the end. If you think you are already a non-conformist, you will likely realize that you really aren’t; that you are perhaps more rebel and less non-conformist.

A must read for just about everyone.

5 thoughts on “Some quick thoughts on the Art of Non-Conformity

  1. Thanks, Brett. Sounds like a good read, and sort of reminds me of the book REWORK by Jason Fried and David Hansson, the guys at 37 Signals. Their book embraces this nonconformity in the office. It’s bold to go against “how things are usually done” but also refreshing (and in the end, common sense).

    Someone recently pointed out Jason’s TEDx talk to me; it’s worth a few minutes if you have the time. It’ll give you a sense of what REWORK is about (if you haven’t read it already).



  2. Tom,

    I was also reminded of Rework, which I read earlier this year, as well as Seth Godin’s Linchpin, Hugh McLeod’s Ignore Everybody, and the more recent Hacking Work from Bill Jensen and Josh Klein.

    This current crop of books about blazing your own trail is a good example of the “adjacent possible” that Steven Johnson wrote about in Where Good Ideas Come From: all these people are having similar ideas because this idea’s time has come.


  3. Nice review – sounds like a book right up my alley. I spend more time trying to figure out why I am a non-conformist than embracing that fact. W.C.C.


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