Sue Hill

3 Stars

June 20, 2016

When he set out to visit all of the planet’s countries by age thirty-five, compulsive goal seeker Chris Guillebeau never imagined that his journey’s biggest revelation would be how many people like himself exist – each pursuing a challenging quest.  And, interestingly, these quests aren’t just travel-oriented.  On the contrary, they’re as diverse as humanity itself.

The author advocates that each of us should pursue what we really want to do, rather than doing what is expected of us. He casts this in light of finding your quest. He also finds a number of individuals doing interesting things with their lives and writes about them.

Unfortunately Guillebeau's approach is superficial and quickly becomes formulaic. His interviews seem to consist of a short talk in a coffee shop or over the phone, or a quick email exchange. I never felt like he really found out why people are doing these interesting things, or what the pros/cons of their experiences were. This applies to the author's own quest as well. As you'll read about (repeatedly) in the book, he visited every country in the world over a 10-year period. That's quite an accomplishment! Unfortunately, the reader never finds out why he did this or what he got out of the experience, except for learning how to wait in airports.

The book ends with three curious appendices. The first is a four-page summary of the main lessons from the book. The second is a list of the 54 people he discusses in the book. And the third is a list of quests with suggestions about how to "dumb down" each quest into something easy to do - suggestions that seem to violate the fundamental premise of the book. Frankly, you can read the appendices and get most of the value from the book.
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