Writer’s Wednesday: The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau

the art of nonconformityI recently finished The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World by Chris Guillebeau and it is just amazing. Absolutely blew me away. Chris Guillebeau blogs at The Art of Non-Conformity, and if you’re not already a regular reader I encourage you to check it out, he has some incredible articles and post over there.

If you want to live an unusual life, on your own terms and fulfilling your own dreams, this is the book for you. It is about challenging expectations and standards. Waking up from your sleepwalk and figuring out what you want to do with your life. How you will make a difference and live the life of your dreams.

Do you want to do these things? Live your life to the fullest? Well:

  • You must be open to new ideas
  • You must be dissatisfied with the status quo
  • You must be willing to take personal responsibility
  • You must be willing to work hard

If you can say yes to the four principles above, a good starting point would be to then reverse the 11 Ways to be Unremarkably Average:

  1. Accept what people tell you at face value.
  2. Don’t question authority.
  3. Go to college because you’re supposed to, not because you want to learn something.
  4. Go overseas once or twice in your life, to somewhere safe like England.
  5. Don’t try to learn another language; everyone else will eventually learn English.
  6. Think about starting your own business, but never do it.
  7. Think about writing a book, but never do it.
  8. Get the largest mortgage you qualify for and spend 30 years paying for it.
  9. Sit at a desk 40 hours a week for an average of 10 hours of productive work.
  10. Don’t stand out or draw attention to yourself.
  11. Jump through hoops. Check off boxes.

Although The Art of Non-Conformity is easy to read, and only just over 200 pages long, I would recommend that you don’t just speed-read through and then think, great, and move on to the next book. Take your time, read one chapter a day or every few days. Try to really take in the message, think about it, and how you could use it in your own life. After all, you only get one life, make it count.

In addition, Chris Guillebeau recently released The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future, my copy has just arrived and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Do you have any suggestions for books I should read?


  1. LK

    You’ve been recommending some great books lately. My wishlist is getting so full LOL Keep it up!


    • Haha, I know that problem too well! I have my 10-page list of books to read 😉


  2. Very very interesting! I’m currently dealing with the topic of conformity from a scientific persepective, because it is closely related to the topic I prepare for my upcoming exam. Conformity is such a wide-spread phenomenon, and people aren’t even aware that and how much they subject themselves to the pressure of conformity exerted by the mere presence (actual or imagined) of others. It’s a fascinating topic!

    Loved the 11 points list. Made me laugh. 😉 But yeah, so true …


    • Ooh that sounds really interesting! And yes, conformity is definitely wide-spread. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with conformity in and of itself, for me, it is when you don’t think critically about it. It would be impossible to completely avoid conforming, we just need to pay attention to how and when we choose to conform.

      Yeah the 11 point list is great!



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