Book Review: The Art of Non-Conformity



One of my goals with Launch a Legacy is to learn from other peeps that are making a living doing what they love. Nobody does this better than Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Non-Conformity.

Chris Guillebeau has been a big influence in my decision to start Launch a Legacy. I have followed his popular blog and attended his World Domination Summit for the past two years. While I don’t recall exactly when or how I first heard about Chris Guillebeau, his writing has been influential in the evolution of my own desire to do something that makes a difference. Oh yeah, and he is a fellow Portlander too. Pretty Cool!

The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World is a guidebook for anyone that wants to lead a more unconventional and fulfilling life. One of my favorite themes throughout the book is that you can do good things for yourself while helping other people at the same time. Chris blows up the idea that these two ideas are mutually exclusive.

Chris does a great job of laying out a roadmap for anyone that craves a life of adventure and the experience of being alive.  One of the great quotes from early in the book is:

“Life planning begins with an unfortunate fact: many people have no idea what they really want to do or accomplish over the course of their time in earth. Instead of moving toward a destination, they become mired in “life avoidance” by ambling around without a clear sense of objective or purpose.”

I love how Chris challenges us to think about what we really want. For me, this challenge goes a little deeper because I believe that we each need to take responsibility for the direction of our lives even if no one ever taught us to think about what we really want. This lack of self-awareness hurts us because it holds us back from our greatness and as Chris states, “keeps us living unremarkably average lives”. To break out of this sleepwalking pattern, we must get clear about what we want and then find a way to start making it happen.

My Three Favorite Ideas

My three favorite ideas from the book are:

  1. The Search for Meaning and the Two Questions – Chris encourages us to ask two very important questions: “What do you really want to get out of life?” and “What can you offer the world that no one else can?” I encourage you to explore your own answers to these questions and explore how you can make the world a better place by offering only what you can offer.
  2. Your Legacy Starts Now – Here is where Chris initiates an important reality check for those of us wanting to build something that will provide value to others. Chris says that if you want to create legacy work then you have to be able to clearly answer the question, “How will this really help people?” A way that you can quantify this is by answering the following questions:
  • Vision – how will the world be different because of your legacy project?
  • Beneficiaries – who will benefit from your legacy project?
  • Primary Method or Medium – how will you do the work?
  • Output – what will be produced as a result of your work?
  • Metrics – how will success be measured?

This was thought provoking enough that I took a swag at providing my own answers that I will share with you.

  • Vision – Empower people to leverage their strengths, skills, and talents to create legacy work and help others in a way that no-one else can.
  • Beneficiaries – A group of at least 10,000 people that want to pursue launching a profitable legacy project that matters.
  • Primary Method or Medium – Blogging, launch a web show (coming soon!), coaching/consulting, and eventually adventure mastermind retreats where people will launch their own legacy businesses that will change the world.
  • Output – One blog per week, one video interview web show per week.
  • Metrics – Site visitors, subscribers, unsolicited positive responses, revenue from any programs/products that are created.

3.    Income-Based Financial Independence – This interesting idea was proposed as an alternative to measuring financial independence by wealth alone. Basically, Chris questions the traditional goal of having a “Number” that we shoot for in order to achieve financial independence. Instead of trading your time for dollars in a job you hate,  just for the sake of stashing away a million dollars, he suggests creating income by doing work that you love that supports your ideal lifestyle. It’s a fairly simple concept to grasp, but one that I thought deserved a shout-out because there are so many people who are wasting their life energy doing jobs they don’t enjoy in the hope that they can buy their freedom later.

If you are interested in the idea of living a remarkable and unconventional life, this book is definitely worth a read. It will encourage and inspire you to work toward building your legacy and that the best time to start is today!

Okay, gotta go grab a plane to Southern California for a work trip. Have an awesome week and watch for my first step on launching your own legacy this week.




2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Art of Non-Conformity

  1. JohnnyFit

    Portland bloggers unite!

    I really dig Chris’ blog and enjoy reading about his unconventional approach to living the life you want. Thanks for spreading the word.

    If the world needs anything at all, it’s for people to be passionately engaged…it’s contagious!


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