In June, I wrote a blog post about the book, The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau extolling its virtues BEFORE I had even read the book.
Since then, I met Chris when he spoke in Calgary, bought both his books and asked him to sign them, have read them and written another blog post about AONC… and am now reading ANOC again. I brought both books with me to Bequia and am leaving them for Dennis to read.
I really can’t stress enough that neither of these books is for everyone. You need to have a certain mindset, and be open to making a change in your life, because what Chris talks about throughout is NOT CONFORMING – breaking the accepted rules and setting new ones that suit you alone, so that you may live the life you want to live, unconstrained by a job you don’t enjoy or by being in a place you don’t want to be.
Oh, yeah… and then there’s the Change the World part of Chris’s books.
I read an article this morning in Canada’s newspaper, The Globe and Mail. The writer points out that “one in two Canadian adults falls short of the desired proficiency level in English or French, while close to three in five lack the desired level of numeracy skills.” While I was living on Bequia during the late 90s early 00s, I taught literacy to both adults and teenagers. The rate of illiteracy in St. Vincent & the Grenadines holds steady at about 40%. I had always said then that if every one who could read taught one person who cannot read, we would wipe out illiteracy.
So, back to Chris’ books and changing the world… I’m, at this moment, sitting on my Bequia verandah, looking out at Admiralty Bay, drinking a second cup of coffee, and organizing myself before I catch a plane later this morning to fly back to Calgary – and it hit me! What Chris calls creating a legacy and what I could be giving back to the world while I’m not conforming in the rest of my life, is literacy. Once again, I could work at teaching others to read by developing a promotional campaign to educate the literate people of the world about my every-one-who-can-teaches-one-who-can’t motto. I’m trying to come up with a snappy name for this, something like “One to One” or 1-2-1 (for the illiterate who recognize numbers only). Any suggestions on this will be gratefully appreciated and considered. Just comment below. The name isn’t as important, though, as the message that I hope to spread – that illiteracy is a problem, but something can be done about it, if everyone pitches in.
Just think of the number of people who would then be able to join us each Friday and not only read these blog posts of mine recommending weekend reads, and those suggestions offered by others in the FridayReads network, but also the number who would then be able to read all the books being written and published in the world. So, perhaps a bit self-serving on my part since I hope to increase the audience for books I’ll be publishing through IslandCatEditions and those written and published by my friends and Alberta Books Canada colleagues, but really and truly, I do want this to become my legacy, because it is dear to my heart and a program if which I will be proud to build awareness throughout the rest of my life. Thanks, Chris!
Read Chris Guillebeau’s books this weekend and find out how he will inspire you to act!