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Guillebeau visits every country to write ‘The Happiness of Pursuit’

Chris Guillebeau, at left, and his father Michael Guillebeau followed different paths to become authors. Chris' "The Happiness of Pursuit" recounts his visits to every country in the world. (CONTRIBUTED)
Chris Guillebeau, at left, and his father Michael Guillebeau followed different paths to become authors. Chris’ “The Happiness of Pursuit” recounts his visits to every country in the world. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Madison native Chris Guillebeau wrote “The Happiness of Pursuit” to document the ultra-ambitious goal that he has reached.

The book follows Guillebeau’s vow at 25 years old to visit every country on Earth by his 35th birthday. In 2013 in Norway, Chris joined 200 other people from around the world to celebrate that milestone birthday of 35 years.

“Norway was the last of 193 countries (and 50-plus territories) that Chris had visited, completing his quest,” Chris’ father Michael Guillebeau said. Also an author, Michael published “Josh Whoever” in 2013 and retired after 43 years in software engineering with defense contractors for NASA to write full time.

When “The Happiness of Pursuit” was released Sept. 9, Chris was interviewed on the “Morning Joe” television show. Chris’ book debuted at No. 3 on the “New York Times” Best Seller list for self-help.

Chris works as an online consultant. Chris and wife Jolie Mitchell Guillebeau, a Hazel Green native, volunteered in West Africa on a “Mercy Ship” hospital for four years. “Chris met with the president of Liberia and Bishop Desmond Tutu,” Michael said.

Returning to the United States, Chris wrote “The Art of Nonconformity” and “The $100 Startup,” a “New York Times” Best Seller. “Chris writes non-fiction. I write mystery,” Michael said.

Chris and Michael’s path to becoming authors were different, but “what we do have in common is a shared love of books,” Michael said. “Throughout Chris’s growing up, we told him we would always buy him any book he ever wanted. Chris takes anything as a challenge so sometimes that meant we bought a lot of books.”

“I treat myself the same way, so we’ve often had a house full of books and an empty bank account. Thank God for Madison Public Library,” Michael said.

Chris, who now lives with Jolie in Portland, Ore., attended Bob Jones High School.

Chris’ mother Pat manages software development for Huntsville Operations Support Center at NASA. His sister Mary, also a Bob Jones graduate, lives in Montevallo.

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