AONC Readers in the AONC Book

Greetings from the Atlanta airport, where I’m preparing this post before heading home after a 13-stop leg of the Unconventional Book Tour.

In writing the AONC book, I wanted to highlight the stories of other people who have forged their own unconventional lives. Everyone mentioned below was included in the book, already in its fourth printing in North America and soon going out to bookstores elsewhere in the world.



DWIGHT. I met Dwight in Bangkok through Cody McKibbon, another of our tribe. Originally from Atlanta, Dwight moved to Bangkok to teach English. He stayed on for several years and is now nearly fluent in the language. Dwight has a quick mention in Chapter 10, but I’m going to do a longer profile with him on the site soon. [Web Site / @insearchofsanuk]


SUSAN. I met Susan in New York at Seth Godin’s Alternative MBA class, where she was in the midst of a career change. Susan was highly qualified, but in a tight job market, at least one-hundred candidates would be competing for the same job. What to do? Susan turned the process on its head and decided to “hire a boss” instead of asking to be hired as an employee. Brilliant! Read more in Chapter 5. [Web Site / @susanvlewis]


JEANNE + co. People write me all the time and say, “But how can I travel if I have kids?” Jeanne and her family, who have been living abroad on a relatively low income since 2006, is case study #1. They’re mentioned in Chapter 2 and again in Chapter 8. [Web Site / @soultravelers3]


ADAM + COURTNEY. Adam and Courtney are the lead story to Chapter 8 on personal finance. Adam took the online world by storm late last year when his young family packed up and moved to New Zealand. I met up with Adam again when he decided to join me as a roadie for four book tour stops last month. Another good friend, J.D. Roth, is also in this chapter… but most of you already know J.D. well. [Web Site / @manvsdebt]


TIM. I first heard about Tim from a journalist friend. Tim stood up to the oil companies by bidding on a $1.7M contract… with money he didn’t have. Appropriately, Tim kicks off Chapter 4 on “How to Fight Authority and Win.” [Web Site / @dechristopher]



CRYSTAL. I love Crystal’s approach to voicemail. When you call her, you get a message that basically says, “I hate using the phone, so if you need to reach me, I’m always online.” Crystal’s voicemail strategy is included in Chapter 10, and she was my co-host for our fun D.C. stop a few weeks ago. [Web Site / @bigbrightbulb]


SCOTT. I met Scott Harrison on his first day in Africa back in 2004. We drove around in Land Rovers and ate at Lebanese restaurants. He took half of the photos of me in Africa that you see on the blog. Then when he left, he said he was going back to NYC to start a water charity. “That’s nice,” I said, thinking of the 50+ water charities that were in Monrovia, Liberia alone. One million people later, and I began to see why everyone should listen to him. Scott’s story is in Chapter 7, and the Charity:Water partnership is explained more over here. [Web Site / @scottharrison]


SEAN. I met Sean Ogle almost two years ago in Portland. At the time, he was clean-cut and wearing a tie—definitely out of place in the Southeast neighborhood where I live and work. Now he’s semi-retired at age 24, and wears whatever he wants… which is not usually a tie. You can read Sean’s story in Chapter 3. [Web Site / @seanogle]


SLOANE. I liked Sloane’s story of moving to the Philippines to volunteer for Kiva, and her audacity at creating multiple charities starting at a young age. She is also in Chapter 3, where we look at how to engage with our fears instead of pretending to be fearless.

Sloane and I share a philosophy on fear: don’t ignore it, but don’t let it make your decisions for you. [Web Site / @sloane]


DAVE. I don’t know Dave personally, but he is one of the original “100 things” guys, where he determined to live with only 100 personal items. Dave isn’t on a crusade to get people to change their behavior—he calls it his own little mission against consumerism. After reading his story, I began a more active uncluttering strategy of my own. [Web Site / @guynameddave]


MICHAEL. Among other things, Michael Bungay Stanier wrote the fantastic book Do More Great Work. He sent me five copies, which I’ve since given away and ordered more. [Web Site / @boxofcrayons]


AONC has grown immensely since I started writing about my crazy trips back in 2008. Much more is on the way, and whatever turns out to be good will undoubtedly be the result of the amazing community. One problem I had is that I wrote the book more than a year ago, and since then I’ve been meeting a lot more amazing people that I wish I had put in the manuscript. I guess I’ll just have to write another book! (I’ll actually start working on that in January—stay tuned for details.)

We also have the Postcards project that now includes notes from 20+ countries, and the upcoming World Domination Summit that will bring 440 of us together in Portland.

Oh, and if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard about the actual book, here’s the Amazon link and here’s the independent bookstore link. Translated versions are forthcoming in China, Korea, Bulgaria, and Poland—and we’re not stopping there, of course.

You can also join me on tour as I roam throughout the U.S. for 30 more stops, then 10 stops in Canada after the holidays. I’m having a lot of fun, and I’m so glad that all of you are a part of it.

Question: Who has influenced you in your own unconventional journey?


Main Image: Elizabeth

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  • Brett says:

    Hey Chris,
    Some inspiring stories here. I started reading your book this past week and am already loving it. I can’t wait to check out some of the sites for these people here. It’s amazing to have such an awesome group of people to be inspired by. Thanks.


  • Nicholas Haley says:

    I had always been trying to figure out what I really wanted to do in life, but have always been divided between by spiritual pursuits (which are freely given) and the “I need to figure out how to make a lot of money” part. I’ve recently discovered both you and Seth Godin, who’s book “Tribes” reawakened a big idea/goal I had a long time ago but never knew how to fulfill. I want to say thank you for giving me the courage to believe that doing what’s most important to me is what I really need to be doing. I look forward to meeting you in Houston – Here’s to world domination!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Love the photo… it happened to make my day! Thank you for including it.

    YOU have influenced us on our journey! After college, Ryan and I realized that surrounding ourselves by people that think in a non-conformed way is actually pretty difficult because those people are hard to come by! Finding people that never settle for mediocrity or seek and live the life they have dreamed of is harder than we ever imagined! We are truly thankful to have been introduced to your blog by Dean Badal and even more thankful to have had the opportunity to meet you and “work” with you.

    So… thanks for always inspiring. Can’t wait for the next book!

  • Devin says:

    Always a good thing to wake up and be reminded that people are getting it done, especially when I am feeling like I have not. Inspiration appreciated.

  • Monica says:

    My inspiration: stories from the book, stories from people I’ve met from traveling, stories I tell other people from my travels (I want to have more), stories from this blog, the photos I see from around the world (I want to see all those places in real life), my imagination, and my jealousy (good motivator) of wanting to have an awesomely unconventional life too.

  • marianney says:

    wow, i really need to read the book! thanks for sharing some more inspiring people to follow 🙂

  • Jane Rochelle says:

    Hey Chris…I just finished Part II, and have learned so much! My wheels are turning on ways to spend my life, rather than save it. I have to admit, I’m a bit concerned about the vampires, though. Perhaps I should start stringing some garlic!
    Thanks, and enjoy your time at home!

  • Lauren says:

    That’s a lot of inspirational people. I’m definitely checking out some of their sites. This is a good nudge to get me moving towards my goals.

  • Pam says:

    Sam Walton probably influenced my unconventional journey more than anyone! I remember when he decided to venture into the grocery business. I lived in Memphis at the time, not far from his home town. His reason for broadening his business, which he announced publicly, left an indelible mark on me: he was tired of paying $2 for a loaf of bread from “mom and pop” in his small town, so he vowed to break them. That isn’t exactly how he worded it, but that’s the gist of what he said. That’s when I vowed never to work for tyrants. I’ve stayed true to myself.

  • Dwight ???? says:

    Thanks for the mention here Chris.

    My biggest influence and someone who I can still depend on for that extra push is a quirky, charismatic guy named Marc Gold. Marc has been traveling the world giving out small gifts aka ‘micro-philanthropy’ for the past twenty years, through his organization 100 Friends. He came along and said, “NGO? What do you need that for? Why not do it yourself?” And so my journey began. Big footsteps to follow though, as every year he knocks big chunks off of his lifetime goal to give away a million bucks.

  • shona cole says:

    I actually wrote about one person that is inspiring to me on my blog today. She is the friend I always wanted to have and am blessed to have – Shannon Mucha an artist, homeschool mom and all around creative person. on Friday she got me to do something I never have – dress up, all in the name of art. it was fun being in character. but the best thing about being around someone who is super productive and creative is it rubs off on me. there is a world of difference between being with people who have given in to ‘blah life’ and being with people who are sold out to creativity and productivity.

  • Cindy Crean says:

    The biggest influence for my unconventional journey was a friend who gave me a great piece of advice, after I was laid off from my 18 year career in the corporate world: you don’t live a conventional life, there is no need for you to work in a conventional career. It was illuminating for me and freed me tremendously from a self-imposed burden I had placed on myself. After that I was totally open to new ideas and new ways of working and this became my mantra. And now, me and my partner, Michelle have a successful team building and training and development business together!

  • RJ Weiss says:

    Congrats on the success of your book. Great to see so many inspiring success stories.

    As for your question, that’s an easy one…you. This blog has shifted so many paradigms of mine about what can and can’t be accomplished. I thank you.

    Also, any chance there will be an audio book version on iTunes anytime soon?

  • Mark says:

    You all probably know about this so just delete this if so. A couple of weeks ago a segment on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric about the dude with no more than 100 things in his life showed his apartment and a camera shot with your book AONC on a table. Been taking an Internet sabbatical so just now catching up.

  • Chris says:

    Thanks, guys. Definitely check out some of the web sites mentioned above – they are all great people.

    @Mark, yes, that dude would be Mr. @evbogue – another good guy.

    @RJ, yes, we should have the audiobook out before Christmas. I’m not sure if it will be sold on iTunes or not, but I hope so.

  • L. Marie Joseph says:

    Great insight. Now people know you’re not making this stuff up. LOL

    It’s always good to have real people share their stories.

  • Steven says:

    Chris, awesome group of people. I really like Susan, Crystal and Dave’s story.

    “What to do? Susan turned the process on its head and decided to “hire a boss” instead of asking to be hired as an employee. Brilliant!”

    I love this.

  • Hannah says:


    Really enjoying the book and have already referred it to lots of people. New artist friends, boy they are hard to convince sometimes!

    I think some people are wired to live unconventionally from the start. I had to learn how to appreciate that about myself, since I got lots of feedback earlier in life from people who wanted me to just color in the lines.

    Hard to say who influenced me the most re living unconventionally, but you and Tad Hargrave have been heavies for the last several years.

    Rock on~

  • Rex Scott says:

    I don’t think my journey has been unconventional… yet, but I’m working on it. Thanks for all your info and ideas.

  • Michael says:

    4th printing. How cool, how fantastic. Big congratulations, Chris. And thanks for the nod.

  • Bernice says:

    Great meeting you in Atlanta! It was awesome for my daughter and husband to hear you speak as well. They were more likely to ‘get it’ coming from an expert’s mouth than me just preaching at them, lol! (doesn’t having authored a book make you an expert?) 🙂

    I heard Scott Harrison speak in October, awesome program he has, charity water. He introduced the idea of giving up your birthday, instead of gifts, people give to charity water instead. He has been so successful so quickly because he used influence he had already gained for a greater good. Awesome guy. I’m about 1/3 thru the book and loving it.

  • Ken Apple says:

    Society has so much momentum on its side, it seems that no matter which way I crank the wheel the vehicle keeps moving in the same direction. I will probably end up being the crazy guy yelling at those kids to get off his lawn. *sigh*

  • daniel andrade says:

    I forgot you wrote a book! I knew about the book tour and the train and I just didn’t put 2 and 2 together. I may need a few copies for Christmas gifts (one for me). Any chance of this being translated and printed in Spanish?

  • Henry says:

    In terms of thinking and living the unconventional lifestyle, I have been doing fine. What I need to work on the most is how to earn and find money in alternative and unconventional ways. But at the same time your career and life are should be correlated, so I guess I am not quite there yet having that overall unconventional state of mind. My parents inspired me to live an unconventional life. Many Failed businesses, living and having worked in 4 different countries and cultures, yeah I love my parents.
    I am on my second round of reading this book. Thanks Chris for all the posts and opening my eyes to so much. I can’t wait to observe all these different links and resources.

  • Andrzej says:

    Hi Chris!
    Those are incredible stories, and I spent an hour browsing through the links you’ve added. It feels so good to read about people so true and full of passion. I wish there were more of them 🙂

  • Sandy Mejia says:

    And soon, I hope and KNOW, the book will be also available in spanish!!

  • Matthew Bailey says:

    Has anyone donated to a Kiva Entrepreneur and then gone to visit them as recommended in the personal mba section of the book?

    I emailed Kiva and they said this doesn’t exist as they can’t facilitate it, but im sure there are ways around it potentially…


  • Chris says:


    They don’t facilitate it, yes, but you can check directly with the organization Kiva is working with in that particular country or region. They publish contact info for all of them, and many people have made visits.

  • Christina says:

    Thanks for your book. I’ve been reading it and doing lots of travel hacking for both business and pleasure. However I do have one thing that has been bothering me for a while. So Okay, I’ll finally come out and say it.

    I Don’t Like KIVA.

    here’s why: You think you’re doing good by loaning to a microfinance organization and helping people out in developing nations.

    However by doing this, you’re getting a real negative rate of return on your loan by getting 0% percent interest on it (if the loan recipient doesn’t default on their loan). In addition, what Kiva doesn’t tell you is that with many of the organizations they work with locally, the actual interest rates on the loans can reach as high as 20-30%. This is based on my personal experiences working with an independent microfinance organizations in East Africa and inquiring about the rates that KIVA affiliated microfinance organizations offer to their clients, i.e. BRAC.

  • ليزر موهای زائد اصفهان says:

    لیزر موهای زائد به یکی از پرطرفدارترین روش های رفع موهای ناخواسته بدن تبدیل شده است که در سال های اخیر تقاضا براى <a ليزر موهای زائد افزايش زیادی داشته است. که باعث خلاص شدن از سالن های اپیلاسیون، تیغ، مومک، موبر و دستگاه اپیلیدی همچنین جوش ها و موهای زیر پوستی می شود.

  • aki says:

    Where can I find the book? Is it available on Amazon? A reply will be appreciated. Once done with reading, I will definitely post a review.

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