Summer Reading B2G1 Free

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.


Day 1: Bridge-Jumping and the Case for Unconventional Ideas

Greetings, fellow Portlanders and fellow Powell's fans from around the internets. I've made it over from my usual home to write on unconventional ideas for Powell' all week. My thanks to the team here for having me, and thanks to you for reading.

Tomorrow we'll look at how to skip graduate school and save $40,000. Wednesday will be about travel hacking — a system of mistake fares, Frequent Flyer miles, and geographic arbitrage to go anywhere in the world on a budget. Thursday will be on how to find a job in Portland (hint: it doesn't involve Craigslist or mass resume mailing), and Friday we'll do something... much different.

But let's start with the basics. My new book, The Art of Non-Conformity, begins as follows:

When you were a kid and wanted to do something your parents or teachers didn't like, you may have heard the question, "If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?"When you were a kid and wanted to do something your parents or teachers didn't like, you may have heard the question, "If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?" The idea is that it's not good to do something stupid, even if everyone else is doing it. The logic is think for yourself instead of following the crowd.

It's not bad advice, even if it's sometimes used to exert control more than to support independent thinking. But one day, you grow up and suddenly the tables are turned. People start expecting you to behave very much like they do. If you disagree and don't conform to their expectations, some of them get confused or irritated. It's almost as if they are asking: "Hey, everyone else is jumping off the bridge. Why aren't you?"

Living a remarkable life involves embracing unconventional ideas and the pursuit of adventure. But before we can do either of those things, it's good to step back from the bridge and take a careful look around. Asking why isn't always popular, and it's much easier to go with the flow. But where's the fun in being like everyone else?

See you tomorrow!

÷ ÷ ÷

Chris Guillebeau is the author of the new book The $100 Startup, which provides a blueprint for freedom by building a business with a small amount of money and no special skills. The book is based on the stories of 70 ordinary people like Michael and Sarah, who both live and work in Portland. You can also read his free blog at

Books mentioned in this post

Chris Guillebeau is the author of The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

One Response to "Day 1: Bridge-Jumping and the Case for Unconventional Ideas"

    Chris Guillebeau September 27th, 2010 at 10:52 am

    It's a big honor to be on the Powells blog! Thanks, guys - looking forward to this whole week, as well as the gig in December.

Post a comment:

Get Your Gravatar

  1. Please note:
  2. All comments require moderation by staff.
  3. Comments submitted on weekends might take until Monday to appear.
PowellsBooks.Blog uses Gravatar to allow you to personalize the icon that appears beside your name when you post. If you don't have one already, get your Gravatar today!
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at