Customer Reviews


56 Reviews
5 star:
 (38)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Choose your own adventure
If you've ever found yourself cooking up a great plan or adventure whilst taking your morning shower, only to find after weeks or months of procrastination that someone else has executed your grand idea, then you must read this book. Why? Because here is a man who had the guts to follow through.

The aim is singular: Paul Smith is to travel from Newcastle in the...
Published on 21 Sep 2010 by Stefan Ferreira

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The start of a new craze?
I'll keep this quick and simple. Enjoyable adventure and an original concept. Travel the world by twitter.I Like Pauls writing style and the story never stands still. Its also fun to check out Pauls helpers on twitter itself. Felt exhausted by the time I'd finished it. Think the moral of the book is 'There's no place like home '
Published 15 months ago by Keith Larkworthy


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Choose your own adventure, 21 Sep 2010
This review is from: Twitchhiker: How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter (Paperback)
If you've ever found yourself cooking up a great plan or adventure whilst taking your morning shower, only to find after weeks or months of procrastination that someone else has executed your grand idea, then you must read this book. Why? Because here is a man who had the guts to follow through.

The aim is singular: Paul Smith is to travel from Newcastle in the UK to Campbell Island near New Zealand. Yet the method is beautifully incomplete: By his own rules, he must advance his journey exclusively through travel and accommodation offers from people on Twitter. He's not allowed to plan more than three days in advance, and his own money may be spent on food and drink only. If he receives just one offer for the next stage of his trip, he's obliged to take it. If there's more than one, he can choose.

There is a point in the book where Smith compares his story to a Choose Your Own Adventure tale, where the reader controls the outcome by making choices at key stages in the book ("If you want Jim to get on the train and follow the man with the suspicious-looking hat, go to page 13"). I remember lapping up these novels as a teenager, and at a basic level this "crowd-sourcing of the plot" idea might explain the child-like fascination and blind trust displayed by the random strangers who helped shape his unpredictable journey through public "@replies" on Twitter.

Luckily the parallel with these novels stops there. Unlike those relics of teenage nostalgia, Smith's book has the feel of a rounded, well-crafted novel and it proceeds at a satisfying pace that makes it hard to put down.

You don't need to be a social media enthusiast to enjoy it. Although the book exposes the brilliant possibilities that open-ended Twitter communications embody, the tool itself is no more than that: It is a means to an end.

For me, the book is much more about human nature and our collective desire to transcend the mundane in order to become part of something big and meaningful. We're genetically programmed for it, and so are the wonderful characters Smith meets along the way. From high-flying middle-aged German entrepreneurs through ageing Californian hipsters to no-nonsense patriotic Kiwis; each had their individual motivation for helping out, but the common thread was simple: Here is someone doing something that people will talk about, and I want to be a part of it.

Smith's biggest achievement is to portray himself as a fallible character. One of the back cover reviews calls him a "true British eccentric", but I think it misses the point. The real power of this tale lies in Smith's exposition of his own fears, misconceptions and faults without sounding annoyingly woeful or pretentiously self-effacing.

We don't need to be "eccentrics" to do great things. Normal people with mortgages, kids, demanding jobs and personal weaknesses can do so too. And for every critic or detractor there will be ten people offering encouragement and support, because they see in the adventurer a courage that, possibly, they find lacking in themselves.

I must confess that I have a certain prejudice against lad-ish humour and witty pop culture references, and whilst reading the first few chapters I feared these might derail the book. But I was wrong, firstly because they are used sparingly and sensibly, but ultimately because I bought into Smith as an individual, and such references naturally become part of his character. By page 40 I found myself willing him towards success.

If you're long on ideas but short in motivation, then buy this book. It's a brilliant portrayal of a simple fact: The best way to get things done is not through pondering and analysing, but through getting up and doing something about it. The details have a way of working themselves out along the way.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great adventure!, 2 Aug 2010
This review is from: Twitchhiker: How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter (Paperback)
Thoroughly enjoyable. A really brilliant, unique idea which like all good ideas is fantastically simple. Could it ever work? The fact that it did tells you more about the true spirit of human nature than the technology behind it all. The book really takes you alongside Paul through every moment and emotion of the adventure. It gets tough going in the middle when you just feel that despite his good intentions, he's just hating it. But then a moment arrives when the clouds clear and he really starts loving it. A great account of what really must have been a fantastic adventure. The fact that no one with a twitter account has done anything even remotely unique since pretty much sums up the idea, and Paul.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I dare you not to enjoy this book!!, 29 July 2010
This review is from: Twitchhiker: How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter (Paperback)
This book is addictive. As I turned the pages I felt I was by Paul Smith's side on his amazing journey. Each page seemed to make me smile (and indeed often laugh out loud!!) with his honest and brilliant style. A real 'feel good' book, laced with the anticipation of 'Will anyone respond?...How will he get to America?...Will he get a bed for the night?..Could he be kidnapped and never heard of again???..this book makes you realise that there really are fantastic, kind, generous, people out there, beyond your own back yard. This book will make you want to pack your bag, explore new places, meet new people, taste new foods and indeed have afew cheeky bevvies on the way. I dare you not to enjoy this book!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable, eccentric story, 13 Sep 2010
By 
M. V. Clarke (Durham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Twitchhiker: How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is highly rewarding on a number of levels; first, it's an eccentric and humorous read, second, it's testimony to the positive aspects of human nature and generosity, and thirdly, the journey it recounts raised a lot of money for a very worthy charity.

Filled with humour, this is the extraordinary tale of Paul Smith, aka Twitchhiker, attempting to travel from Newcastle to the opposite point on the earth, Campbell Island, some way of the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island, using only offers of transport and hospitality from members of Twitter. It's a bit like Tony Hawks' trip around Ireland, only on a bigger scale and without the fridge (see Round Ireland with a Fridge). It is quite simply, a brilliant idea; eccentric, adventurous, and exploiting social networking for assistance. The journey is, unsurprisingly, filled with many surprises, interesting characters, detours, parties and of course, difficulties; these range from funny situations regarding clean clothes and the like, to more serious ones, as the author recounts with openness how he misses his family and how his bipolar disorder affects him.

The many people across the world who help Smith are a testament to human good nature, generosity of time a spirit and a desire to be part of something quite mad. There are rich business people, large companies, poor couples and families, journalists, old people, young people, experienced travellers, all sorts really, and they're all willing to help. From offers of a sofa for the night, to paying for a long flight, or driving Smith for many hours, these are people who are warm-spirited with a sense of curiosity and adventure.

Finally, the large sum raised for charity: water adds another dimension to reinforce the good nature of this tale; thanks to Smith's efforts, the charity has not only received important donations, but also lots of publicity.

A great read, funny, encouraging and energetic.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blew my mind, 28 July 2010
By 
This review is from: Twitchhiker: How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter (Paperback)
This book is competently written but it is the story itself which is spellbounding.
To get from Newcastle in the north east of England to New Zealand in thirty days
without paying for a thing is simply amazing. I read the book in two sittings and at the end I just sat and reflected that truly the world is a very small place.
And also, if you are willing to test yourself a bit you will be surprised by,not only, what you will find, but also what you will find out about yourself.
I certainly would recommend to anyone that they should read this book. Enjoy
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 21st century Phileas Fogg, 27 Sep 2010
This review is from: Twitchhiker: How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter (Paperback)
Twitchhiker is the tale of an ordinary man who had (a) an extraordinary idea and (b) the courage of his convictions to make it happen. Like a 21st century version of Around The World In Eighty Days' Phileas Fogg, Paul Smith decided to undertake an incredible journey, travelling - literally - to the other side of the world, his destination being Campbell Island, a point diametrically opposed to his starting point of Newcastle. Aiming to complete his trip within 30 days, his self-imposed rules stated that he could only use transportation provided and funded by fellow users of the microblogging service Twitter. In other words, his objective was to travel to the other side of the globe relying solely on the kindness of strangers.

If you aren't familiar with this social networking tool, it is essentially a platform which allows you to share updates of up to 140 characters which can be read by any other user. These could be Facebook-like status updates ("Good morning! Stuck on the M4 again"), conversations with another user, weblinks, photos or relevant news. Its detractors point to it being just another way for self-promoting narcissists to broadcast the minutiae of their lives, but Twitter has notably become the fastest way to engage with friends with shared interests (or followers, in Twitter's terminology), or to disseminate news around the world, from the Iranian elections to the emergency plane landing on the Hudson. Personally, I love it - it is my front-line for information-gathering, making 'traditional' push media like email alerts or RSS feeds feel positively cumbersome by comparison.

Smith's grand expedition underlines the sense of community and altruism which exists in this virtual world. Friends, acquaintances and complete strangers come together, Pay It Forward-style, to move him from the UK to the European mainland, and from there to the US east coast. Fellow tweeters pay for Greyhound bus tickets and drive him across the country to a chance meeting with the actress Liv Tyler at a Hollywood party, and from there to New Zealand, where he falls heartbreakingly short of his final objective (Campbell Island being both one of the most remote and difficult to reach locations anywhere on Earth and a UNESCO-protected World Heritage Site on account of its endangered sub-Antarctic fauna).

And I do not say 'heartbreaking' lightly, for while Smith recounts the events of his trip with a deft, frequently wry touch, the man and his mission draw you in emotionally so that you feel you are right there with him every step of the way. This is more than your common-or-garden semi-serious/semi-humorous travel book - it is a journey, in every possible sense.

Over and over again, his adventure demonstrates the capacity of Twitter as a force for great good, eliciting acts of charity in the most unlikely of circumstances, and for facilitating serendipitous events, aligning the orbits of loose acquaintances or like-minded strangers in distant locations around the world - genuine 'social networking', if you will. In real time, the Twitchhiker's voyage captured the imagination of all those people who provided their help and support. Reading Smith's account more than a year after the events in question, it captured mine too. A rollicking good read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent story, excellently told, 31 July 2010
By 
James Cridland (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Twitchhiker: How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter (Paperback)
A wonderful story, told in a quite splendid way. There are bits that are sad, bits that are happy, and bits that are incredibly uplifting. It's an addictive book, too; rather too easy to lose hours by "just finding out what happens next". And you don't need to know, or care, about Twitter to read it either. He comes across as a splendid person to have as a house guest, as long as you don't let him cook sausages for you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The start of a new craze?, 1 April 2013
By 
Keith Larkworthy "kelar 71" (Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Twitchhiker: How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter (Paperback)
I'll keep this quick and simple. Enjoyable adventure and an original concept. Travel the world by twitter.I Like Pauls writing style and the story never stands still. Its also fun to check out Pauls helpers on twitter itself. Felt exhausted by the time I'd finished it. Think the moral of the book is 'There's no place like home '
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and informative, 27 Sep 2012
By 
Stephen Luff "Stephen L" (Worthing, Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Twitchhiker: How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This was a great read. Its about travelling from Newcastle to an Island near New Zealand.He has set up some conditions and rules by which he can travel. He works through the social media website, Twitter. There he asks his fellow followers to offer suggestions and also to offer accommodation on his travelling across the world to get there.

Its a well written book and really enjoyable. It show the power of the Social media websites and what you can really do with them. If you want to go travelling but keep putting it off this book will inspire you to get going.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The new Bill Bryson, 29 April 2012
This review is from: Twitchhiker: How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter (Paperback)
I have just finished Twitchhiker, and I haven't laughed out loud so much while reading a book since reading Bill Bryson's books about America.
I think the most inspirational thing about this book, is that Paul Smith not only had a mad idea, but he actually acted on it. How many people can really say that they have done that? I think that far too often, we get ideas, only to write them off as crazy or impractical. Or maybe to have them nipped in the bud by our loved ones. Life is meant to be lived, and there is so much out there in the world to see and experience, I think we should all take a page out of Paul Smith's book and go on an adventure today.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Twitchhiker: How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter
Twitchhiker: How One Man Travelled the World by Twitter by Paul Smith (Paperback - 2 Aug 2010)
7.19
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews