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Be a Free Range Human: Escape the 9-5, Create a Life You Love and Still Pay the Bills

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  521 ratings  ·  51 reviews

For Marianne Cantwell, Free Range Humans are "a growing tribe, easily spotted by the smiles on their faces on Monday mornings." They are people that have figured out what they want to do with their lives and they are doing it, right now. They choose when, where and how they work, and get paid to do what makes them come alive. They have decided to live their life every day,
Paperback, 280 pages
Published February 15th 2013 by Kogan Page (first published January 3rd 2013)
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 ·  521 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Apr 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a well written, nicely presented book with plenty of exercises for the reader to do to help clarify their own aspirations and goals. There are numerous examples of people who have done just what it says on the cover.
That said, I have marked it down compared to other reviewers for the following reasons
- focuses largely on professional, well educated people who have some degree of financial stability behind them. People who have manual jobs and little education can dream of changing their
J.F. Penn
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: entrepreneur
(I'm already a free-range human so this is preaching to the converted, but I still enjoyed it!)

This book is a great primer for people who are considering stepping out of the corporate world, the traditional career ladder and aiming to make a living doing something they love. You can still earn good money but the focus is more on life wealth, on how you spend your short time on the planet. Marianne walks the talk, living the free-range life, so she is the perfect guide to this way of life. I par
Claire Noonan
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was expecting it to be good as I am familiar with the author's work (we were budding writers together as teenagers) but what I wasn't exactly expecting was to be THIS excited and inspired by the book! I feel empowered to rearrange my life and to encourage others in rearranging theirs. I will be recommending this book to lots of people. It is good reading, flows easily and is full of real life examples. I like the links and all the stories and tips. Fantastic! Love your work Marianne!
Marketing digital products and living anywhere.
I would suggest instead Tim Ferris or Chris Guillebeau.

Some good ideas from the book:
Do it.
Start small but start.
Do all the things you like.
Carpe Diem.
Merel Claes
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Smoothly, informally written book by Marianne. I came in contact with Marianne’s blog back in 2012 when I just got out of an office job. I got a copy of the book when it came out in 2013 but only got to read it diagonally back then. Four years later, as a free range human, it was great to read Marianne’s approach again.

The main message in this book should be that when you want to have a fulfilling life, you must build on your unique personality. Leave behind expectations others have about you (
C. S.
Wow. Well one thing's for sure, Cantwell talks a big freaking talk.

But does her book teach you how to walk the walk? I'm not sure. To be fair, I've been listening to the audiobook at my (basically) 9-5 job and am writing this review on my lunch break, so have only been doing the exercises mentally, and I have not experienced the process to the depth with which the author intended.

But I still look at her personal story, and the profiles of overachieving, people-oriented self starters and wonder
This book came along at just the right time in my life. I heard Marianne on Joanna Penn's Creative Penn Podcast and immediately went to download the audiobook. A lot of what she has to say and her approaches resonated with me so much more than any of the business-y or entrepreneurial books out there. This was a great collection of stories, exercises, and practical advice on different ways to have a free-range lifestyle.
One downside of the audiobook was that I was often driving when the exercise
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Feeling caged in your cubicle? Got a creative streak, a rebellious streak, and marketable skills? This book might be for you. Equal parts spunky and blunt, Marianne Cantwell breaks down the mental and practical steps you need to break free and make your own indie career. The written exercises are super-helpful, first getting you to articulate what you really want (but haven't dared to hope for), and then gradually fleshing out the practicalities so that you begin to see your path from A to B. Lo ...more
Elena Granger
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it
The book is pretty well written, easy to follow, has plenty of examples and exercises to help you understand what you really want to do with your life.
The main issue here is that when you read it, you feel motivated and think that it’s easy. But in fact it’s not. Actually it’s very hard, you have to prepare yourself for those hardships in advance. It’s definitely not enough to read one book, read a bunch of success stories and think that you already went half-way through. No, it’s hardly even th
Dr. Tobias Christian Fischer
Do what you like and build your life right NOW. It’s a good thought but if I would move to the beach now: how am I supppsed to pay my bills? Good thoughts: but not on spot.
Darren Turpin
Quick Overview

A practical guide to personal fulfilment through career-change that emphasises the need for imagination, passion, hard work and commitment. No empty promises or get-rich-quick schemes here, but if you’re serious about making a major change and escaping a career rut, then Marianne Cantwell’s book might be just the catalyst you’ve been searching for,

Full Review

Marianne Cantwell broke out of her cubicle cage, transformed her life and now eschews the daily commute and soul-destroying o
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
A bit of a mixed bag this one, as I was expecting more practicalities of freelance life (the info I wanted about setting up was in an extra downloadable worksheet on her website) but what the book is more at people that want to escape the 9-5 life but haven't figured out what their business is yet. There's quite a few practical exercises for finding your niche, but if you're already schooled up in this and a digital self starter then you won't get too much out of this. Far too many case-studies ...more
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a terrific book which has helped me finally start acting on the plans I've had for years to stop being resigned to working in cubicle-land and start crafting my own work based on my natural strengths and what I love doing. Cantwell addresses both the emotional and the practical aspects of going Free Range, and her enthusiasm for the subject, combined with her own success and that of the people in her case studies, make for inspirational reading.

I would recommend this book to anyone who w
Emma Jordan
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I spotted an article about the book in a magazine last year, with a free chapter offer, and the writing is so engaging I needed to read more.I have this book on my Kindle and smartphone and a much-highlighted, corner-turned paperback.

BAFRH is a great either to read all the way through, or a dipper for those brief five minutes we have in our days. The exercises are designed to help you find what will make you happy in your career, and Marianne's friendly style suggests it's absolutely fine to re
Anna Lundberg
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great book - especially if you're at the beginning of your independent career journey. A lot of points resonated strongly with me, and I liked the author's approach, which is quite informal. The second half or so of the book was nothing new for me given that I work in digital marketing but it can be helpful to newbies who want concrete tips on how to promote their new business. Well worth the read, particularly if you're just beginning to think about an alternative career path.
Garrett Rodgers
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Few books brought tears...

Few books brought tears to my eyes and now "Free Range" joins that list. It's an entirely different way of living your life from the professional perspective. I have always had trouble following orders and holding jobs (my longest JUST ended after a year), but this book puts into perspective, "why?". If travel and/or being your own boss is your aim, this is a must read.
Alistair Miller
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book for those of you who want to escape the conventional lifestyle of working for a boss, picking up a salary. There is a nice blend of inspiration, encouragement and genuinely useful practical advice. It is the latter which I found the most useful as you can get plenty of books which offer just positivity without any real content. There are plenty of tips in here which I am contemplating using for the working lifestyle I want to commit to.
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a good and inspiring self-help book written by a coach and I hope it will soon be translated because it really gives good tips and insights.

Bel libro,chiaro e scritto da un coach veramente ispirato. Spero venga presto tradotto perchè fornisce ottimi suggerimenti e tecniche attuative.

Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
I'm not interested in quitting my day job just yet but this is an incredibly inspiring and motivating book. Whilst listening to this I have bought a domain name (, set up a blog, and written my first few blog posts. I also have a clear plan for how I'd like to enhance my foreseeable future outside of being at work. Bring it on!.. ...more
Cory Huff
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-goal
In the vein of career books for nonconformists, this is more useful on a practical level and less inspirational than others.

This book is more aimed at the corporate job type who is looking to leave and do something more fulfilling or flexible.

If you are already a scanner/multipod/renaissance soul, you may want to look elsewhere.
Amy Snow O'Connell
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was so reassuring! It helpfully asks questions of the reader and sets tasks. It's designed to help uncover the readers true talents and what will really make them happy, all the while keeping their cool and not dashing off with a half-baked idea. I will definitely return to it again!
Diane Hernandez
To Be a Free Range Human requires leaving the 9 to 5 corporate work culture behind for a better work-life balance.

The book suggests that everyone has a bit of entrepreneur in them just waiting to be discovered. By using exercises, it tries to help the reader find their inherent skills that can be transferred to a gig lifecycle. Once the idea is found, the book explains how to test your ideas merits in as short as one week. Does it pay enough to support you and your family? The book is full of my
Annabelle Heath
Books like this are a two sided thing for me. On the one hand, I love the aspirational, inspirational advice - the stories of people who've achieved their dream of working for themselves and doing what they like, the practical steps to be like them. On the other hand, I'm not big on the 'if you visualise it, you'll reach it' kind of mantra-saying, moodboard-creating sort of methodology that often goes hand in hand with the practical stuff.

Which is not to say that sort of thing doesn't work - it
Petra Slade
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book a few years back when in my office job but didn't read it until now.
I escaped the 9 to 5 thanks to a coaching training I did and thanks to following my hearts wishes despite the uncertainty and fear.

This book is well written and fun to read. It asks you a lot of questions to get you started. There are plenty of exercises to guide you to towards fulfilling adventurous life doing what you love. You will find a lot of inspiration from others, advice, resources and guidance.

If y
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
This is a fun read, in addition to being a book about how to get out of the drudgy work cage. It doesn’t always mean leaving your job, by the way. There’s just lots of ideas in here about how you can change your perspective and do something alongside your job if you want to. If you are dead cert for having a plan to go ‘free range’ it also gives you lots of ideas for this too. It also encourages you to think about work based fun - what a concept!
Yuen Tan
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
I remember getting to know this at the airport during a tiring business trip back home. Very alluring title and premise.

I really don’t like this - I suggest you check out Marianne’s Ted Talk to see whether her style is for you ... Motivation? Self-help? Self-promotion?

Still I like one of her good advice, “good brand takes what you have to offer and puts it on the outside so people ‘get’ you and your offering, even before they buy from you”.
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
EXTREMELY inspiring and practical. This is a book that will show much wear in the year to come as I refer to it again and again. I am so thrilled it found me. The exercises are very (sometimes painfully) thought provoking, yet necessary to digging deeper and to understanding Ms. Cantwell's message. Don't skip them!
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I will be buying a copy of this book!
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent Read, with realistic tips
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Good advice and motivational.
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