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Abandoned by Booklikes

Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!

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Terrible Book Supposedly About Travel

Wherever You Go: How Mindful Travel Can Transform Your Life – and the World - Daniel Houghton

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review. 


So I am seriously annoyed by this book. This book was supposed to be a memoir of the former CEO of Lonely Planet, Daniel Houghton that showed how travel changed his life and how it impacts everyone around you. Instead, we have Houghton dancing around what sounds like troublesome parts of his life (somewhere in there he got divorced) and just interviewing the rich and famous in traveler circles. Reading about how Houghton was treated as he took over the reigns of Lonely Planet is also really boring. I don't care how your coworkers were not that confident in you when they first met you (how did this person not know what a P&L report was??) or the hazing (maybe?) he supposedly experienced when he went to Beijing. The book even focuses at him trying to get their office digs ready for the BBC to come and discuss with the owner of Houghton's company about them taking over Lonely Planet. 

I always say a mark of a good memoir is how open the author is with the readers. Great memoirs are hard to do. Great memoirs about a particular event, theme, etc. are really hard to do. I would have loved a book about travel actually being about travel, not him just talking about how many miles he traveled in a year. I wanted to hear about the countries/cities he visited, not how fast he had to run through an airport. I wanted to hear about the people he met, not how he became friendly with a cab driver in London who still picks him up free of charge. This whole book felt off. 


The writing also was not that that great. Houghton mostly focuses on working at Lonely Planet and then provides one to two interviews in between "peeks" at his job. So the whole book is just a very short chapter about him, then pages of interviews in between each chapter. Also can I say that reading interviews of the rich and famous and how travel impacts them was just tone-deaf as hell. One guy he interviewed drove 1920s Aston Martin's through some of the "stan" countries over a period of months. What regular travel can do that?


The flow of the book was off from beginning to end. I think that this book maybe could have been punched up a bit if Houghton eventually includes pictures of something in the finished version of this book. For a supposedly great photographer, I can't imagine that the finished product has zero images.