March 8, 2011

Sitzbook 300-Word Review: "The Art of Non-Conformity"

The Art of Non-Conformity, by Chris Guillebeau
This was one of the first books I read for Sitzbook, and it was a quick read. The author, Chris Guillebeau, created the website of the same name as the title. I’ve been following his global adventures for a few years now. One of his biggest goals is to visit every country in the world by his 35th birthday, but even more importantly, his goal is to live by his own rules—and to help his readers do the same.

Ironically, that’s what makes this book less applicable for me: I don’t seem to be part of the target audience. I definitely don’t work a 9-5 job that I’m dissatisfied with, and I already feel pretty content with my life in general. Still, the book is interesting and has many good points. Having gone to graduate school, I think my favorite part is the “One-Year, Self-Directed, Alternative Graduate School Experience,” wherein Guillebeau lays out a $10,000 plan that he claims is better than actually going to graduate school (parts of his plan include memorizing the name of every country and its capital, reading the basic texts of major world religions, and buying a round-the-world plane ticket). I actually do believe that for most people, this plan probably is better than graduate school, and I’ve even done many or most of the things in his plan. Still, I do have a Master’s Degree, but because it was basically free (I was a TA and I got scholarships), I can’t really knock it. That’s another example of how I enjoyed the book, even though some of the advice in the book didn’t really apply directly to me.

You can still enjoy this book if you’re happy with your current position in life, but if you’re not, this book was written for you.

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Anastasio said...

Hi Ryan.. I don´t want to be rude with Chris Gillebeau but if he try to live by his own rules—and to help his readers do the same... I am totally sure that he will be disappoint with him life..... Chris Gillebeau isn´t a God. He needs to life with the rules of the Bible... I don´t want to appear fanatic of the Bible but people need to obey to be free...

Sitzman said...

Hmm, I think that's not really the point. When I say "live by his own rules," I mean he talks about not following the conventions of what society expects us to do.

Incidentally, is this a spam comment, or is this the Anastasio I know?

Anastasio said...

Hi.. Ryan... I didn´t read carefully the abstract or the goal of the author but thanks for the comment..

Sitzman said...

Hi Anastasio!

As I mentioned to you in person the other day, I would like to reply to your comment in a separate blog post.

I want to do this because
1) I feel like I may not have conveyed the book's message very well and
2) I wanted to respond to your comment a little bit more in-depth.

Hopefully that's OK with you.

Thank you very much for reading the blog and for your comment. I'll also bring the book to class today. You can borrow it or take a look at it if you want.

Thanks again!