The Happiness of Pursuit Book Summary - The Happiness of Pursuit Book explained in key points
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The Happiness of Pursuit summary

Chris Guillebeau

Find the Quest that Will Bring Purpose to Your Life

4.7 (43 ratings)
18 mins

What is The Happiness of Pursuit about?

The Happiness of Pursuit is about embarking on a quest to fill your life with a sense of purpose. It explains how the process of finding and following a personal journey can be deeply rewarding and life-affirming. The reader can expect to come across many interesting case studies of people who have followed their passions – from a young environmentalist who spent a year living in a Tasmanian tree to an Oklahoma woman who dedicated herself to cooking a meal from every country in the world.

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    The Happiness of Pursuit
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    Many people share the desire to embark on a life-affirming journey.

    What does sailing around the world have to do with spending a year living in a tree? Well, much more than you might think.

    Both of these scenarios are quests. A quest is a journey that heads toward a specific life-affirming goal. A key feature of a quest is that it includes various challenges.

    Here’s a great example of a quest: Tom Allen was a young British graduate who turned down a dream job to go cycling around the world, despite the fact that he was inexperienced as both a cyclist and a traveler.

    He encountered many challenges along the way: Once he was forced to navigate the Sudanese desert without a map; another time, he caught malaria. But Allen confronted every challenge he encountered, eventually completing his quest. When he returned to England a year later, he was no longer the same naive young man he’d been before he started out.

    If his experience sounds appealing to you, that’s because many people share the desire to go on a quest.

    For some, this desire manifests itself as a response to uncontrollable external factors. This was Sandi Wheaton’s motivation. She embarked on a quest to document her journey on Route 66 after she was laid off from her job at General Motors.

    For others, like Laura Dekker, a quest arises out of the desire for self-affirmation and discovery. Dekker was born on a boat and spent her whole life sailing. Ever since she was ten years old, she’d planned to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world by sailboat. When people asked about her motivation, she said, “I just loved the sea and wanted to do this for myself.”

    Others pursue a quest as a way of taking a stand. Miranda Gibson, for example, spent more than a year living in a Tasmanian tree to protest illegal logging.

    Ultimately, quests are born from hard-to-shake ideas or urges, and are typically intended to benefit either the individual or the wider world.

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    Best quote from The Happiness of Pursuit

    You can stop thinking about a hobby, but a quest becomes a total fascination.

    —Chris Guillebeau
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    About the Author

    Chris Guillebeau is a traveler, entrepreneur and New York Times-bestselling author. He fulfilled his own personal quest – visiting every country in the world – before he turned 35.

    Who should read The Happiness of Pursuit?

    • Anyone who wants to pursue their dreams
    • Anyone who’s dissatisfied with their current life
    • Anyone who lacks the courage to make a big change
    • Anyone who’s struggling with a personal journey

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