Paul Theroux has written about eight (?) full-blown travel books, all of then first-rate in my opinion, and a whole bunch of fiction that is at least of equal quality to his non-fiction. In other words, the guy deserves a life-time achievement award of some kind, if not the Nobel Prize for Literature itself. It was then with some slight disappointment that I read this rather chopped up effort, which seemed like it had been thrown together, but was in fact the result of a lot of reading. Theroux is, among other things, a pretty good literary critic, and I'm sure this book could have been better arranged with a different or even no structure. Ah well, publishers have the last say, I guess...Lots of nuggets here, but no real meat. You can learn something from Theroux's reading, but he is conservative by nature and looks back at a lot of travel texts rather uncritically. A survey of contemporary travel writing compared to historical travel writing might have been a more fruitful approach. Another problem I have with this book is that it's written by a travel master, but actually Theroux doesn't get into the nitty-gritty of his own extensive travels; he appears not to draw lessons from experience; he does not speak of personal development, almost as if his own Tao of Travel just existed, always existed, and doesn't change. This cannot be true, and a more involved explanation of what he had learned over the years would be a truer exposition of his Tao, because there is no one Tao objectively speaking, as anyone who has the slightest inkling into what Taoism is about will perfectly understand...the Tao is unknowable and cannot be named...but we can develop are own Art of Travel. Still, I feel this book was well worth getting for the nuggets, and it is a useful survey of travel literature, a genre Paul Theroux did a lot to rejuvenate in the 1970s.