Chris Guillebeau, author of  The Art of Non-Conformity, is immensely popular. After reading his book, I see why!  The Art of Non-Conformity, based on his online manifesto “A Brief Guide to World Domination“, encapsulates a philosophy that strikes a chord with many Escapees/wanna-be Escapees.

Below, a few notes and exercises from this amazing book!


1. There are a lot of books out there about how to maximize your time, work on something you care about, and life the life you want.  These books, contrary to what it may seem, not about avoiding work.  Guillebeau says,  ‘Many people believe that the key to an improved lifestyle is less work.  I think it’s better work’ (p. 10).

2. Fear is normal and it’s okay.  Guillebeau relates the story of an adventurous woman with an exciting life story, who embraces her fear instead of allowing it to dictate her life.   He writes that asking ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen?’ helps give perspective on big decisions, and acknowledging fear is a step toward dispelling it (p. 66).

3. Guillebeau writes about a man named Allan, who performed a series of “life experiments”, which are ‘small to medium-sized actions that would help him prepare for bigger changes’ (p.94).   Putting yourself in situations you wouldn’t normally, or trying a different approach to something in your life (like developing a new hobby or visiting a new place), is a key to enabling change and improvement.

4. ‘An entrepreneur is someone who will work 24 hours a day for themselves to avoid working one hour a day for someone else’ (p. 97).

5. Don’t just escape from something, escape to something. (p. 102)  Have a plan and think it through, otherwise you may just escape somewhere equally misery-inducing!

6. When you succeed in an unconventional way, you will attract criticism.

7. Creating vs responding (p. 214). Measure work in output instead of hours.  For example, Guillebeau attempts to write 1,000 words a day of something, whether it be an article, a blog post, or part of a book.  Set goals in terms of output, not time whiled away at a desk.


1. On figuring out what you want in life (p 31-36):

  • Creating Your Ideal World: write out your hypothetical perfect day.  Once you’ve imagined this, you can start taking the steps toward making more conscious decisions and shifting your priorities.
  • Radical Goal-Setting: Write out your “bucket list”,  a list of everything in your life you want to accomplish.  It can contain anything from places you’d like to travel, to career goals, to fitness challenges you’d like to tackle.  It helps  to break the list into one-year, five-year, and lifetime lists.
  • Planning for Serendipity- Make time in your schedule for days off, time to reflect, and spontaneous fun.

2. What are you currently afraid of? (p. 59).

3.   Write the To “Stop Doing” list- five things that drain your time and energy and keep your focus away from more important tasks (p. 177).

4. Two important questions: ‘What do you want to get out of life?’ and ‘What can you offer the world that no one else can?’ (p. 207)

There’s a lot more where that came from on Guillebeau’s website– take a look!


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