The Art of Non-Conformity: Set your own rules and change the world

Do you have control over your life right now, and where it’s headed? For most, other people and institutions have a huge control over where you go, what you can buy, where you live and sadly, what you spend your time doing.

In the summer, I read Chris Guillebeau’s 2007 book, The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World. It focuses on setting your own rules, living the life you want, and – an important to me personally – changing the world. Not only is it focused on “World Domination” but also on making the world a better place at the same time.

The book is based on the author’s online manifesto – which brought me back to Think Tank 1 at OCAD University when a personal manifesto was part of the course. The author’s manifesto that inspired the book was called “A Brief Guide to World Domination”. It is a very honest book that challenges the way you think and how you live your life, so I do not think it would be for everybody.

As a summary of the book and its purpose, I selected this quote:

“You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to. You can do good things for yourself and make the world a better place at the same time.”

Essentially the book aims to show you how to do that.

As a graduating university student, I am very drawn towards how this book defies common assumptions about life and work, while also providing tools to begin living differently. As recommended online, the book is ideal for people asking, “There must be more to life than this,” which I feel can include students and people who have been stuck in an unexciting career for years.

Exploring creative ways to be self-employed is key – helping me to convince others that the route I would like to take is a feasible one potentially full of great success. Goal-setting and “sufficiency” are still major aspects the author addresses, but also the key component I admire is remembering to embrace life as a “constant adventure”.

An aspect I found valuable is that it the book is all based on personal experience and real examples of the author’s life – making all of the advice significantly more valuable and encouraging to follow.

I aspire to adopt and practice the art of non-conformity, and regardless of if you have chosen your ‘career path’ or not, would really suggest you read this book.