Review: The Art of Non-Conformity

In the past two years I’ve been inspired by Chris Guillebeau. I wrote about Chris before, and he is famous in the blogging world. But for those of you who don’t know about Chris, he runs a website called The Art of Non-Conformity where he posts articles on unconventional lifestyle, entrepreneurship and traveling. He also wrote a free e-book A Brief Guide to World Domination, which I translated into Japanese with Etsuko. (If you have Japanese friends, please refer them to this page for the Japanese version of the brief guide.)

Chris recently published his first book – it has the same name as his website, but with a n extra subtitle: The Art of Non-Conformity — Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World.

I finally got a copy of his book and read the whole thing straight after. What you’ll read below is my biased, subjective review of the book. (I believe there are some good, objective reviews outthere if you prefer. Check its Amazon page for example.)

What I like about the AONC book

  • His message is strong and his style calm and passionate. It doesn’t have a cheesy, motivational-speaker-type, in-your-face vibe. It’s perhaps because of his guru-free way of thinking, which I like love.
  • It’s like the best of the AONC website. There are a number of posts on his website, and one could get lost in it. This book puts together essences of his posts and thoughts in one place and organizes them in a neat way. I was already familiar with the way Chris goes about things and the content of the book itself didn’t surprise much. However, it was refreshing to see his thoughts running a straight line and connecting with one another.
  • He does give you practical tips on living an unconventional life. He tells you how by sharing his own stories as well as stories of other unconventional catalysts. (Since Chris lists their websites and twitter accounts on the book’s bonus webpage, you can connect with those unconventional catalysts as well. They are real people and not someone’s inventions!)
  • When it comes to the book’s content, I especially liked the chapter where he compares his graduate school experiences and his writing career. He wrote a master’s thesis and it was read by three people. His manifesto was read by more than 100000 people, and it changed and influenced many of them. That inspires me. Really. And that makes me think as well. In a good way.

The AONC book is like a developed version of his manifesto. So, if you’re curious about the book, you should check his manifesto as well as his articles.

How do you want to live your life? Do you want to live a remarkable life, or an average life? You don’t need to be modest about your answer, because it’s your life and you don’t need to make others comfortable by how you answer this question. Perhaps you are already living a remarkable life and that’s great. Perhaps you are actually pretty happy with living an average life. If you feel like living an average life at the moment, but you want to live a remarkable life, the kind of life that is purposeful and meaningful (by your own definition), then this book can be helpful for you to take the first step towards the life you want to live.


In the previous post, I promised to give away my copy of The Artist’s Way – I got two comments within the post and two other comments on twitter. I’ve used this service to choose the winner randomly. The winner is …



Thanks to all of you who commented on the previous post :-)

photo: Hamed Saber