Monday, 19 February 2018

Quest Books: Literature for Living Authentically

I am a bibliophile.  I have three bookshelves full of books and a fourth rapidly filling up.  After reading Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events in grade four, I fell deeply, head over heels, in love with books.  I read books on many subjects, but my favorite genres have to be science fiction, fantasy, and travel literature.  Recently, I have found myself reading what could be considered as self-help books.  I am at a crossroads in my life, being a university student and a fledgling adult, and I have been looking for some expert guidance.  I have found these books to be immensely helpful in my quest to find my Quest and I hope that you find them useful as well.

1.  The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson

You can tell by the incredibly blunt title and neon orange cover that this book is something out of the ordinary.  The author, Mark Manson, is a very successful blogger from New York and if you love his book then you should definitely check out his blog.  I first found out about Manson and his book from a guest post on Nomadic Matt's blog.  I loved Manson's writing style and his attitude.  He comes off as brash, sarcastic, and crude.  This book is not for the faint-hearted.  The sheer number of curse words in this book would be enough to turn some people off.  But his humor was right up my alley and I loved the way he presented his ideas.  He gives sound advice and has a unique approach to life.  Some of the chapter titles in this book include "Happiness Is a Problem" and "You Are Not Special," which are both very counter-intuitive statements in today's society.  In a nutshell, this book is a guide to choosing when to give a f*ck.  I firmly believe that this is should be required reading for any Quester who's struggling with their priorities, which let's be honest we have all been there at one point or another.

2.  You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

I saw this book in Chapters and had to have it.  It was an impulse buy that I now believe was serendipity.  The vibe of this how-to guide by Jen Sincero is summed up nicely by its uplifting title and quirky font.  Sincero is an author and success coach who helps people create lives they love.  Basically, she's a rockstar who teaches other people how to be rockstars too.  What I really appreciate about both Manson's and Sincero's books is that they acknowledge that we are all individuals.  My super awesome amazing dream life is not the same as yours.  These books demand that we give ourselves a long hard look in the mirror.  Who are we?  What do we want?  What is important to us?  Sincero helps us down this path of discovery by breaking her book down into five parts and twenty-seven chapters.  This is a how-to guide that is actually insightful, entertaining, and inspirational; it lives up to the hype.  By the time I finished this book I was very motivated to get off my butt do something.  Sincero makes you believe in your own greatness.  Throughout the book she is coaching you, telling you that you are worthy of that awesome life you so desperately crave.  I thank her for a tremendous boost in morale when I was at a low point.  She showed me that all I need to achieve my dreams is to believe in myself and just go for it.

3.  Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

This recommendation is for my fellow travel enthusiasts.  Those whose dreams are filled with travel.  Those who have wanderlust so strong that it hurts.  Those who do not see long-term travel as only a possibility, but rather as an inevitability.  If travel is your Quest, this one is for you.  Rolf Potts is a vagabonding expert.  He literally wrote the book.  This book has been a catalyst for so many vagabonds.  I hope that it moves you the same way that it moved me.  I first heard about this book from the Vagabrothers, who are a pair of amazing travel vloggers.   Rolf Potts really inspired them and they really inspire me so of course, I had to check out his book.  Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel; the title is a book summary in and of itself.  This book is not anything like a Lonely Planet guide; not to throw shade at Lonely Planet, because I love them, but to point out that this is not a traditional guidebook.  In Pott's goal is for this book to teach you about the vagabonding lifestyle (although he might be opposed to me using the word lifestyle) and how you can live this way too if you choose to do so.  I have read this book multiple times and I discover new nuggets of wisdom each time I read it.  Pott's book is a gem and is an essential read for anyone considering taking up the art of long-term travel.  If this is your Quest, read this book and then take off on your adventure.  

4.  Roadmap by Roadtrip Nation

This last book is the guidebook for those of us who want to live uncommonly.  I appreciate Roadtrip Nation so much for writing this masterpiece.   My life coach recommended this book to me.  I read it in two days.  I could not put it down!  Here in these pages was the answer (sort-of) to the question that I had been asking myself for years:  What do I want to do with my life?  These thoughts and theories had been rolling around in my head, but I did not have the necessary terminology to accurately articulate what I believed.  Roadmap is a guide to help you figure out what to do with your life.  They have a process you can follow to help you determine what your occupation could be.  They call it "Worklife," which is so much better than career and they give a full explanation as to why the age of the career is dead.  They help you find combinations ("Roadmaps") of what they call "Foundations" and "Core Interests."  If you look at this combination, taking into account your skills, "Economic Engine," and "Subjective Truths," it should lead you to your "Worklife" (ie. what you should do with your life).  This is nothing like a career evaluation test.  This process takes into account that you are a unique individual.  You are in charge of building your "Roadmap."  You get to choose your "Worklife."  Please do yourself a huge service and read this book.  It's time to stop dreaming and to start doing.

When I am trying to find an answer to a pressing question, I will often turn to books.  These four books describe different and sometimes contradictory approaches to life.  I believe that whenever you are trying to solve a problem, you should try to get advice from a variety of sources.  That way you can make up your own mind and find the solution that best suits your needs.  I think that in all likelihood one of these books will speak to a current issue in your life.  Are you deciding which route to take?  Do you need to take a leap of faith and just go for it?  If you are looking to radically change your life, I suggest that you read these books.  In addition to that, go find some experts of your own.  Seek the wisdom of those who have already done what you want to do.  Most importantly, do not chicken out.  Commit to taking the next big step, because life is too short for regret.

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