The art of of non-conformity {#readxp}

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

Author(s): Chris Guillebeau, who has traveled to 193 countries!


ServicefromHeart book review on The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau
The Indiana Jones-alike cover of The Art of Non-Conformity.



Chris introduced that many people are trapped in life situations (relationships, jobs, environments) that we are not entirely happy with. However, we conform to the situations (instead of exploring the alternatives) because of the following reasons:

1. ignorance of other choices

2. fear of uncertainty & change

3. fear of disappointing our loved ones

4. attachment (to people, money)

In friendly and energizing tones, Chris suggested ideas to create our desirable lives and circumstances through doing different or extraordinary things.

Some of us may find that not all ideas suggested are practical for our circumstances, especially if we have dependents (elderly parents, spouse, and children to take care), employees, subordinates who rely on us. To me, as long as I can learn an idea that is inspiring and worth sharing with others, I am happy and grateful.

ServicefromHeart book review on The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau table  of contents

Ideas / Inspirations:

We can have unlimited ideas and dreams, but not unlimited priorities. We can do anything, but not everything (simultaneously).

♥ To prioritize, we can create stop-doing list / not-to-do list for things that consume a lot of our resources (physical energy, brain, time and money) but bring no or little happiness to ourselves and others.

“We tend to overestimate what we can complete in a single day and
underestimate what we can complete over longer periods of time”


Some people may not be fortunate to have the opportunities to pursue a formal education. I personally know few of them and they are highly envious of others who are lucky enough to go school.

Some people may have enrolled themselves in a discipline (and subsequently a career) that they do not enjoy. It is okay, everything that happens to us has a reason that we can grasp only after the events.

The good news is as long as we are living, we can choose to consciously learn things that we love, knowledge and skills / crafts can bring happiness to ourselves and others through services or creations.

Lives are dynamic. No matter where we are in our personal and professional journeys, it is always a good idea to constantly learn, adapt, create and innovate.

Learning allows us to build our competence, commitment and character. These attributes are critical sources of our security and #innerstrength.

♥ How is about designing a one-year, self-directed syllabus which is an alternative to attending a graduate school (as suggested by Chris)?

Among Chris’ recommendations, I jot down the following ideas (with few adaptations):

1. read The Economist, National Geographic, Nature, Science regularly (weekly / fortnightly / monthly) / religiously in Chris’ word.

2. read a book a week (so total 52 books in a year). Consider both no-fictions and classic novels / fictions. For the latter, my favorites include The Little Prince, Little Women, The Alchemist. How’s about you?

3. communicate / speak to public / tell stories to a wider audience.

4. learn a language (perhaps Arabic) through podcasts

5. learn computer programming language(s) and be functionally proficient

Since we design our own syllabus, we tend to take more personal responsibilities to pursue it with passion and enthusiasms.

Dream! Pursue your dreams. Set goals, including scary goals.

♥ Risks are not that scary once we take them. Undertaking a courageous endeavor and achieving a success can greatly boost our confidence and motivate us to try more. As long as what we dream of being, doing, and having, cause no harm to others, or even better – spread goodness to others, just do it!


1. “How can we make things better?”

2. What can we (uniquely) offer and serve the world?

3. Chris suggested that “the time to leave the best job is right before you get tired of it,” but how would we predict when we are tired of it? A friend Xiang argues that it is only when we experience the feeling of being tired, then we realize that we are tired.


♥ “The toughest obstacles most of us have to overcome are the direct result of our own fears and insecurities.” ~ Chris Guillebeau

♥ “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ~ Dale Carnegie

Other reviews that I appreciate:

♥ Khaled Allen’s book review @ Warrior Spirit

♥ Janelle’s book review@ the20what

Visit also other #readxp posts.

Happy reading!

With love,


One comment

  1. Wow. Thorough review! My favorite quote from the whole book was the one about having everything, just likely not everything at the same time.

    This is definitely a book that I will come back to time and time again.

    Do you subscribe to Chris’ emails? It’s a regular dose of inspiration and information as well!


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