Monday 3 September 2012

The Art of Non-conformity

I was delighted to win a copy of Chris Guillebeau's book The Art of Non-conformity in a competition over on The Clear Minded Creative.

The subtitle of the book is: "Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life you Want and Change the World" and in a brief 200 or so pages that's what Guillebeau aims to empower the reader to do.

The book is written in a chatty, accessible, no-nonsense style, which makes it very readable. It also feels quite practical and many readers will think 'I could do that!".

I am already, I think, quite a non-conformist, so a lot of what Guillebeau says didn't come as a great surprise to me. However, he offers excellent advice, for example, to help free up your time to become more non-conformist by eliminating the unneccesary (I particularly like the idea of a 'stop doing list' as an alternative to the 'To Do List') and for finding alternative routes to education. There's a lot of focus on personal finances, deciding how much you really need and finding alternative sources of income. He also is clear that doing the things you really want to do needs to go alongside making a clear commitment to giving back to society.

Guillebeau's personal thing he really wants to do is to visit every country in the world. He admits that not everyone might want to travel that much (though he seems a bit patronising about why people might not want to do so). This sort of annoyed me and I'll be writing a blog post in the near future about why extensive travel may not be a good idea from an environmental point of view - thinking about carbon footprint but also ideas around localism. 

The book also includes several case studies, to show the reader a variety of ways that individuals have opted to live a less conformist lifestyle.

So this is an inspiring and readable book for anyone who wants to live a more interesting life, just be clear that not all the ideas may suit you!

In the same competition, I also won a copy of Chris Guillebeau's other book The $100 Start Up, which I will review in due course over on my website.


Bill said...

at the end
of her to-do list:
stop doing this

Crafty Green Poet said...

excellent, Bill, thanks!

Rachel Fox said...

It almost seems like a spoof book... wouldn't most people who tended to non-conformism get to their own ideas in their own ways? But like most things I'm sure there's some good in it too!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Rachel, I know exactly what you mean and that thought had crossed my mind and is in fact part of the reason I was so annoyed with what he said about travelling a lot. It felt like he thinks to be non-conformist you have to agree with his interpretation...

The Weaver of Grass said...

The extensive travel idea is a debatable one I agree Juliet. I have travelled much in my life and have many happy memories but now I am less mobile and have had to curb a lot of my travel, I find looking at the old photographs, reading the diaries and reading travel books fills the need quite nicely.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

A "stop doing things" list is certainly very alluring. In the 80's I was in a group connected to Gurdjieff in which this practise was predominant and very, very difficult.

Dr. Cheryl Carvajal said...

I'd LOVE the "Stop Doing" list... I need to start thinking that one up... especially the time-consuming stuff I keep doing when I should be tackling better stuff.

(Suddenly I sound like a Snapple commercial!)

EG CameraGirl said...

Sounds like an interesting book. Your point about not traveling the entire world sounds reasonable to me. But I imagine many people might think they deserve to. ;)

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Juliet,

Sounds like an interesting book and I like the sound of the 'stop doing list'. Thanks for sharing.

Happy week

Ms Sparrow said...

Is travel for it's own sake a worthy goal? That sounds quite conformist to me.

RG said...

Damnable non-conformists - keep tossing grit in the wheels of progress .... don't spend and buy and consume - what good is that for the economy ... don't give their kids trophys for being on the soccer team - ruin their self-esteem. Shall I continue????

Milo said...

Hi Juliet, was interesting to read your review and the comments here.

I also didn't agree 100% with everything in the book but I can see why his emphasis on travelling didn't sit well with you for obvious reasons.

In Chris Guillebeau's defence, he has spent some of his time overseas as a volunteer and is also a big supporter of Charity:Water so he is not necessarily just promoting travel "for the sake of it" but is definitely keen to promote awareness of global issues. He has also made the point that he doesn't drive and is a vegetarian for environnmental reasons which perhaps offsets his travels to some extent.

Anyway I'm glad you got some positives out of the book too - I'm impressed with how quickly you read and reviewed it!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Milo I have to admit when reviewing a book like The Art of Non-conformity I hone in on the environmental issues in it, because that's the raison d'etre of my blog and because it can stimulate relevant discussion. It can sometimes though lead to a slightly lop-sided review!