Thursday, October 14, 2010

chris guillebeau at barnes & noble, d.c., 10/13/2010

A couple of weeks ago Kris got a package in the mail from graphic designer Reese Spykerman. It was a book by a man named Chris Guillebeau boldly titled "The Art of Non-conformity", and Reese, who designed the cover graphics, was giving away a copy at her blog. In many ways, this little book could not have arrived at a better time, with my wife now making some seriously-considered career/life choices, with myself wanting to get more serious about my art, and with Mr. Guillebeau stopping by the nation's capital only a couple of weeks later, as part of his fifty state "Unconventional Book Tour".

I have to admit, I, in my wife's words, "hogged the book" as soon as it got out of the box. Perhaps it was the title which greatly appealed to me, or maybe it was the superbly designed cover, or a combination of both. Honestly, I don't recall hearing too much about Chris Guillebeau until we got the book, however, he's got quite a large and rapidly growing following, and deservedly so. After reading the book, then seeing Chris speak last night, I would simply describe him as a regular guy who chose to lead an extraordinary life. I emphasize the word "chose", because as he discusses in his book about finding your own path to happiness in life, things just don't fall into your lap. Chris emphasizes the importance of vision and work, and wisely managing your own time to get from point A - B, however the book itself is far more interesting than my own description here.

Hearing Chris speak last night at the Washington D.C. Barnes & Noble further reinforced a lot of crucial things Kris and I have been thinking about for some time now, and I was happy to see he opened the discussion up to the many folks who showed up. I couldn't recommend this book enough, to anyone for that matter. Inside you'll find a lot of inspiration and motivational tools for getting started on a path you've perhaps only dreamed about before. I will say, there is no silver bullet formula provided by Chris, however, so please don't expect any easy answers or simple solutions. What I enjoy most is Guillebeau's own personal story, and how he went from his younger days as an underpaid Fed Ex "box slinger" to a highly experienced world traveller, living a life of helping himself while helping others. If you find yourself in a dead-end job, wasting eight or more hours a day of your life away being miserable, I would say do not, for a second, hesitate to purchase and read this book. If you need a little (or big) kick in the rear to pursue a more fulfilling, creative path, this book is also for you. It's a very no bs, straight-forward, easy read, and an incredibly important, fascinating one to boot. Expect to see and hear a lot more about Chris in the near future. If you're in West Virginia, he'll be stopping by your way today (and he joked last night about only having one person saying she'll be there to see him), so go and show some love. In the meantime, Chris included a great quote in his book from Henry David Thoreau, in the first chapter "Sleepwalkers and the Living World": "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with their song still in them. " I thought those were pretty profound words, and they set the tone for what the rest of the book was about. Please check it out!

One last thing, I'd like to give a shout to D.C.'s "Ollie's Trolley", who make a mean veggie burger & fries. It was nice to sit and grab a bite after fighting some nasty, crazy city traffic yesterday. Drop by this great little restaurant if you're in the area. It's right across from the Barnes & Noble.