BOOK REVIEW: The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau

By the time I read this book, I had already read The $ 100 Startup, which is one of my favorite books of all time and one that I try to reread every year. I also bought one of their Creative Live on Travel hacking courses, which was very good too.

For those unfamiliar with Chris, his true claim to fame and what he is known for is completing a personal quest to visit every country in the world at the age of 35. Chris Guillebeau has a writing style that is very legible and digestible.

For this book, The Happiness of the Chase, he describes and offers case study examples on how to find, measure, and complete your own personal journey. Reading The Happiness of the Chase (1) will teach you how it’s not about the destination but the journey, (2) it will inspire you to select your journey (3) how to set and measure your achievement (4) set deadlines or how to know when you’re done (5) how to deal with distractions and stay focused (6) when to turn around or quit smoking

The case studies include both his journey and others that Chris has come to know through his travels and experiences. Not all of these trips involve travel. Some are from people who never left home. Those home-based trips, and among my most notable favorites include Scott Young, who completed a self-guided bachelor’s program in Computer Science from MIT’s free course catalog within 1 year, all for free. (All MIT degree programs and classes are available for free online, including courses, lectures, exams, etc., which I think is really amazing.) Like most of the samples in the book, Scott documented his experience on a blog.

What personal journeys has this book inspired me to take? Having finished the book a few days ago and had about a week to think about this topic, here is my current list:

-I cooked my way through the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) textbook

-Travel and eat at all the restaurants where Anthony Bourdain filmed or wrote.

-Speak, read and write nothing but Spanish for 2 months or until I am 80% fluent, whichever comes first. And then another language …

-Repeat the surf adventure from one of my favorite movies, The Endless Summer 2. Travel to the same beaches and surf on the same breaks.

The Happiness of the Chase is a good book, it’s worth reading and I can’t think of anyone who shouldn’t read it. It really is for everyone. I also love the pun in the title. I’m sure some potential readers won’t look past the travel aspect and think they should pass due to childcare obligations or some other barrier, but one of my favorite case studies was Sasha Martin’s. Sasha cooked dishes from a different country every week until she had been to every country in the world, without ever having to leave Oklahoma, so her newborn daughter was able to see the world through the kitchen table. All of these stories are about personal journeys that make you a better human being. Use this book to find your own hero’s journey of development and fulfillment. It can change your life.

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