The founders of the popular Lonely Planet travel guides deliver a lively autobiography that is as interesting, informative and amusing as their series itself. After meeting cute in 1970 on Belfast-native Maureen's first week in London, the couple went off on a planned one-year trip through the Far East that ended up with them stranded penniless in Australia, where they decided to publish a short travel guide on Asia that became the basis of their now multinational company. 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, such as "incidents in Turkey that began ambiguously and ended with gratuitous acts of kindness"; 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. Their chapter "All About Guidebooks" serves as an excellent short look at the history and the current state of the travel book market, and they convincingly argue that guidebooks such as theirs have not wrecked once-mysterious locations. (May)
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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
"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
For such avid travelers, I expected an autobiography with many great adventures. It is instead a factual recount of everything they did in a very dry voice. Read morePublished 3 months ago by G#
This is the story of Wheller's exciting life but it got a little boring! I expected to read more about the unusual moments behind this family's world travels, which were at a time... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Cherri McGarvie
I just read this book and it seemed to be more about how to set up a publishing company and a business.
I expected a travel memoir, something funny/ mystical/ dramatic. Read more
When I first took a travel guide to Africa, it was a Rough Guide, as they appeared to be the market leader. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Etienne Jackson
Way too much info on the personal life and adventures of the founders of Lonely Planet Publications. Read morePublished on July 12, 2011 by JohnA37
It is hard to believe that writers actually produced this text. It is so poorly written, you'd think this was a long essay written by a high schooler. Read morePublished on January 2, 2011 by Nina N.
This book tells of Tony and Maureen's adventures over the years from when they married in England, to how they set up Lonely Planet in Australia and all many, many years of travel... Read morePublished on January 12, 2010 by Two Steps Far
I'm not actually a follower of Lonely Planet guide books. I picked this up from the travel essay section of the bookstore on a whim. I'm glad I did! Read morePublished on September 12, 2009 by SLR