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Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story Paperback – 15 May 2007
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..". a lively autobiography that is as interesting, informative and amusing as their series itself...This look back at their almost 40-year career divides neatly into thirds, with the first energetically covering their various travels while they get their business off the ground; ...the second frankly detailing why their early and 'often fairly shoddy productions' became popular because they "were still better than anything else around"; and the third refreshingly discussing their current business ventures." --Publishers Weekly
"As spirited and engagingly human as the books that have taught us how and why and where to travel, Tony and Maureen Wheeler's story describes a miracle (from 27 cents to a multi-million dollar empire) that is in its way as inspiring and wondrous as the temples of Pagan or Easter Island's statues. Whether penniless backpackers or heads of a global company, Tony and Maureen somehow always exemplify the very best kind of travelers' enthusiasm and curiosity." --Pico Iyer, travel writer
"Tony Wheeler, who often sleeps with a laptop stowed under his bed, does the majority of the writing, while Maureen offers welcome sidebars filled with her thoughts about a given situation. Neither shies away from writing about the strain running a company and constant traveling had on their marriage, which at times was rocky or the demands put on the lives of their two children, Tashi and Kieran, who just want to be normal teenagers and hang out with their friends instead of traveling the world." --Chicago Sun-Times
..".the Wheelers include everything from amusing anecdotes, to the struggle for finding the perfect 'cliche, but not a cliche' cover photo for their books. The result is a fascinating business success story and the tale of a maturing relationship." --ForeWord Magazine
"A naive young couple sets off across Asia and, somehow, against tall odds, ends up managing a publishing empire that straddles the globe. Therein lies a story. And the story is intermittently funny, full of false stats, frustrations, mistakes and numerous exotic locales. I think this book is ultimately more inspiring than a whole shelf full of self-help screeds. Go ahead, start on page one and follow your bliss." --Tim Cahill, writer and founder of Outside magazine
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Borrow from the library - don't spend your own money.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The Wheelers' have travelled so widely that even the names of all the places they have been to can be tough to follow! They understandably have to rush through them. The most interesting part of the travel memoir section is the comparison between how the places were in the 70s/80s and how they are now, something the Wheelers' always point out.
Besides being a travel memoir, this is book about building a boot-strapped busines. The Wheeler's show that building a business is more than just pursuing your dreams, it is about keeping a tight leash on finances, building a good team, competing with similar and larger competitors, staying ahead on the technology curve and reacting to external changes. The chapter "All about guidebooks" is an interesting introduction to how guidebooks are produced - from writing them to getting them printed. As a business book, it is similar to the Starbucks story (Howard Schultz, "How Starbucks built a company..").
The book does not come together as a captivating story. In the first few chapters, the authors describe a chronological order, but that breas down in the later part of the book. Chapters like "All about guidebooks", though very interesting on their own, do break the flow of the story. In addition, there are topics that the authors pick up but do not do justice to (e.g. comparison with competitors is incomplete).
An interesting book overall about travel, how travel is changed over the last three decades, and the challenges of building a business even if it is your dream business.
And then there are pointless sentences giving us background on people who are not major actors in the book. Here is an example from the first chapter:
"We were looked upon as unwanted guests...I guess we were not the only ones she didn't like because she and Paul were eventually divorced." What's the point of telling us this exactly?
After reading this painfully bad writing, I'd have to agree with the post that picks on Tony's personality. He does not seem particularly likable. He doesn't even sound that nice to his wife--she gave up a career in social work because she feared for her marriage.
I give this 2 stars rather than 1 because some the travel stories are fun. It's nice to revisit or dream of new places when you're stuck at home.
I expected a travel memoir, something funny/ mystical/ dramatic. This book is not a travel memoir.
Wheeler does come across as a big ego and a business man , not a travel writer.
The book did explain to me why doing what you love for work is a mistake.
This book should be in the business section with comments from his wife removed and family business removed also. His brother ,sister in law and mother in law all died but they get one sentence.
That's just plain cold. The book was rather dull, he wrote more about copyright laws than his marriage. It wasn't about travel but about his booking intinary.
I resented his handling of comments about Australians being racist, especially since he seems to be one of those western liberals who experience the third world by going to a restaurent. Australia has an immigration problem and anyone who speaks out about it is called racist.