Chris at Coffee Shop on Capital Hill, Seattle

You write in order to change the world…. The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.” –James Baldwin


I wrote The $100 Startup, an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller all about creating freedom through a small business based on the skills you already have. I regularly host meetups and speak at events on this topic all over the world.

Before that, I wrote The Art of Non-Conformity, my debut book originally based on this blog. For the AONC book, I traveled to 63 cities in North America (every state and every province) to meet readers.


If you’re new here, start with my free PDF manifesto, A Brief Guide to World Domination. There is also a resource page with reviews from bloggers, a video update, and more information.

The sequel, 279 Days to Overnight Success, tells the story of this web site in the form of a case study with lessons for anyone interested in writing and social media.

The final in the trilogy, The Tower, is all about crafting a life around daily creative work.

International Travel

I have been traveling to far-off places for most of my life, although in the past five years I’ve increased the pace. You can read about my trips on the master list of where I’ve been or in the trip reports archives.

These articles provide an introduction to my thinking about travel:


Work and Entrepreneurship

I haven’t worked at a real job in more than 10 years, choosing to earn a living instead through several changing forms of self-employment. From 2002-2006 I was a volunteer executive for a medical charity in West Africa, after that I built a small publishing business while attending graduate school, and I now write full-time for this site and the related Unconventional Guides business.

I believe you can do good things for yourself while helping others at the same time. These articles provide an introduction to my thinking about living intentionally:

These posts provide an introduction to my thinking about work and entrepreneurship:

  • Unconventional Business Ideas. Give everything away, help people, avoid meetings, ignore competition, don’t listen to anyone. (It really works.)
  • Why People Hate Marketers. Abundance versus scarcity in internet marketing. Which would you choose?
  • How to Be Awesome. If you can be awesome, a lot of other things don’t matter. However, telling someone to “go and be awesome” is frustrating, even to people who are completely capable of being awesome. How can you really do it? This list is a good start.
  • How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review. Every year since 2005, I’ve spent the better part of a week in late December planning my life for the next year. Overall, this is probably the best decision I’ve made in terms of working towards multiple goals simultaneously.
  • Creating a Legacy Project. Grad school, check. New city, check. Business, travel, volunteer work, marathon training, check. But despite the fact that these were worthwhile ways to spend my time, I knew something big was missing.


Syndication and Guest Writing

I write a weekly travel column for the Abu Dhabi National and occasional features for the Oregonian. Other travel writing is occasionally syndicated on Huffington Post, Anderson Cooper’s 360 site, and

My guest writing has appeared offline and around the web on BusinessWeek, Entrepreneur,, USA Today, LifeHacker, Zen Habits, Copyblogger, Get Rich Slowly, ProBlogger, Unclutterer, International Affairs Quarterly, and a few academic journals.

Complete Archive

View the full Art of Non-Conformity archive by topic below:

279 Days, Entrepreneurship, Gratitude, Life, Miscellaneous, Nonconformity, Personal Development, Postcards, Travel, Trip Reports, Site Updates, Unusual Experiences, Work, World Domination