Book Review: The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau

Reading The Art of Non-Conformity completed my goal to read 6 Non-Fiction books this year. It won’t be my last Non-Fiction book if I read more that are as inspiring as this one.

My husband, Daniel, has been dying for me to read this book since he read it two years ago. He would often ask me where I was at in the book and want to know my thoughts.

I was surprised by how much I already knew about the points in the book, because of what Daniel has told me about it. We have already put much of the book into practice. Some of Guillebeau’s points were reaffirming while others were inspiring us to take the next step.

The book is easy to read, but the thesis of the book is mind-blowing:

Set your own rules, live the life you want, and change the world.

I am going to highlight a few points that stood out to me in each chapter.

Chapter 1: Sleepwalkers and the Living World

  • Be open to new ideas
  • Don’t be satisfied with the status quo
  • Be willing to take personal responsibility
  • Be willing to work hard.

Check. Check. Check and Check.

Chapter 2: Setting the Terms of Your Unconventional Life

  • Set your goals for your ideal world that leaves an impact on others
  • Don’t apologize for pursuing your dreams
  • Not everyone will understand. (This is huge!)
  • Choose abundance, not scarcity.

Chapter 3: Smashing Through the Brick Wall of Fear

“All things being equal, we generally resist change until the pain of making a switch becomes less than the pain of remaining in our current situation.”

YES! For our family, the pain of switching to a product based business became less painful than having a client based business. You will regret not taking the leap of faith. You can read more about this switch at

Chapter 4: How to Fight Authority and Win

This chapter started to lose me a bit, because I don’t believe all gatekeepers are evil. I think the main point is to question the way things have always been done and see if there is a new way of doing things.

Chapter 5: Competence is Your Security

Guillebeau outlines a few ways of working to earn a living. We largely identified with the section on self-employment and the characteristic of a good vs. bad business.

We’ve made the first step to be location independent. Daniel can work anywhere there is an internet connection. Now we are working on “creating assets that sell on their own” versus “trading time for money.”

Chapter 6: Graduate School vs. The Blogosphere

Daniel and I already agree that college and graduate school isn’t necessary unless you want to have a career like being a doctor or a lawyer that specifically requires college. It made me reflect on my own college experience.  Did I learn more applicable life lessons from my experience as a leader in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship than my classes to earn a degree in Human Resource Management?

Chapter 7: The Power of Your Own Small Army

I thought this chapter wasn’t going to be useful, boy was I wrong. This paragraph got me:

“When I first decided to create a website to chronicle my journey to every country in the world, I showed the initial concept to a few friends. All of them thought is was interesting, but one of them immediately applied the ‘reason why’ thinking. ‘It sounds fun,’ he said. ‘But what does it do for someone like me?’ “

Daniel and I recently bought the domain to write about our slow travels as a family, but something about the site has never settled with me. Then I had the epiphany that our website needs to be more than a travelogue. It needs to help people. This past week Daniel and I wrote a new mission statement for a new project that will do just that: help and inspire people. We bought the new domain for the project yesterday. More details will be coming soon, but we are over the moon excited about it and can’t wait to tell you more.

Chapter 8: The Personal Finance Journey

We are already pursuing becoming debt free through Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. We got it.

Chapter 9: Radical Exclusion and the Quest for Abundance

  • Eliminating the Unnecessary  (Check)
  • Minimizing possessions (Check)
  • Saying no to obligations (Check)
  • Limiting meetings, tv, phone, email, or social media(Check – This reaffirmed my decision to quit Facebook)
  • Have a Sabbath (Check)

“Fair warning: when you choose to limit inputs and withdraw from social requests, not everyone will understand this behavior.”

We have found this to be true!

Chapter 10: Contrarian Adventures

This chapter explains Guillebeau’s experience as a traveler. He began as a kid to travel as an unaccompanied minor. My hope is that our kids will be comfortable traveling on their own as young adults, because we taught them how as children through our slow travel lifestyle.

Chapter 11: Your Legacy Starts Now

Don’t keep reliving your glory days. Create new glory days.
Gulliebeau outlines points to consider when starting a legacy project.

Change the world!

Daniel and I both loved reading this book. I read it at the same time that a conference launched by the author called “World Domination Summit” was happening. I followed along through Twitter and blogs.

Changing the world is great, but it made me think how about how we believe that Jesus is the hope of the world.

How can Daniel and I share Jesus through our own legacy project?  This is what we have been chewing on this past week. I can’t wait to share how God is showing us how to meld our passion for Him and our desire to live unconventional lives together.