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Roadtrip Nation: A Guide to Discovering Your Path In Life Paperback – April 1, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-To broaden their knowledge of occupations, two enterprising California college students/surfers hatched an idea to interview successful adults in interesting jobs, to see what paths they took to get there. They ended up crossing the U.S. in a large RV for three months. The resultant book is not so much useful for the interviews-which, although interesting, tend to read alike-as it is for the story of how this project was conceived and executed. The inspiring angle is how two average guys with few financial resources got the money and a magazine editor's interest through their ingenuity and persistence, qualities that became useful in their quest for interviews. The final portion of the book tells readers how to go about doing what the authors did-minus the RV-with tips on cold calling, following up, being on time, keeping your word, researching and reaching people, thanking them with a letter, and more. More interviews can be found on the authors' Web site. The good advice here is applicable to dealing with people in general, and the high school yearbooklike layout will appeal to teens.
Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Marriner and Gebhard, California college students who didn't know what they wanted to do with their lives, decided to take a road trip across the country, interviewing successful people who had made their own way in the world. A few phone calls later, they had a contract with monster.com to document their travels, and eventually the road-trip idea became its own multifaceted business that includes teaching classes to would-be road-trippers and, of course, producing documentaries. This book, written with freelancer Joanne Gordon, is another of the spin-offs that have developed from the original venture. Some of the interview subjects seem oddly chosen (the CEO of Starbucks, hardly a favorite company among many young people), but the energy and enthusiasm of the authors are infectious, and they certainly capture the nonconforming yet entrepreneurial attitudes of so many twentysomethings today. This could well become the What Color Is Your Parachute? of its era, despite the fact that when John Belushi shouted "Road trip!" in Animal House, he wasn't talking about interviewing CEOs. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345460138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345460134
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,630,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The concept for Roadtrip Nation is great. Go on a roadtrip, meet lots of people, talk about their lives, and bring it all together in a single tome of great wisdom and clarity for all to benefit from. But it doesn't really work. First, there is a selection bias at work here, in that the people these folks chose to talk to are all successful. Most of them freely admit that they were lucky, or that circumstances just lined up for them. That said, the advice they give is not bad advice: work hard, follow your passion, don't be shy, explore each opportunity as it comes along. But it's unclear how many UNsuccessful people have done exactly the same thing. The number of struggling filmmakers and artists and entrepeneurs is a testament to that. So I would find it especially interesting if they compared the stories (or "roads") of less successful people to find what they would have done differently. Or as I like to say, learn from the mistakes of others. Another problem is that the "interviews" (which read more like nicely edited monologues) are much too short and lack detail. There must be countless illustrative anecdotes that are simply glossed over in a few paragraphs, but instead we get a larger font size and bigger margins, and a peppering of inane asides about the RV they drove around. Another problem is that the set of people they interview fall mainly within the boundaries of business and the arts. Very few technical professions are represented, so the book lacks balance in that respect.
To summarize, the idea of the book and its message are great. There are many roads in life, and your parents and school hardly ever give you an accurate picture of all the possibilities. So you should explore, meet people, find your passion, work at it, and don't be discouraged when you don't meet instant success. But when it comes to fleshing out these ideas, the book's superficial profiles fall short. Stick with the website.
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Format: Paperback
I just finished reading "Roadtrip Nation" and I must say that I'm inspired to go out and find people new areas to explore and talk to people to find out what I want to do with my life. I am at the exact same spot that Mike and Nate were in during their senior year of college so it feels much more attainable than someone writing who is in their 40s telling you how to live your life. As for the reviewer who writes that there aren't enough people in technical positions or less successful people interviewed that's the beauty of the book. You're allowed and encouraged to go and search out people that interest you. The idea is to explore. Have fun.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book for anyone nearing the close of any scholastic or professional carreer. The book is an easy read and the interviews are short enough that even young readers would enjoy this book. It is a great window into life lived with passion. It is an example that success is not always immediate, but if you stay true to yourself and your dreams, the payoff is personal success, which is always greater than personal gain which is much easier to find. The interviews are fun and diverse. No matter what path in life you are taking, there is an interview that will probably mirror your experience. Even more interensting than the interviews themselves though, is the story of the author and how he and his friends landed the interviews in the book. The only reason for the four star rating is that I was always wanting more at the end of each interview. Although this may be the goal of the author, it is not everyday that someone gets to peek into the lives of some of the world's most successful people. Overall though, I highly reccomend the book.
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Format: Paperback
This is an entirely different kind of career book by two guys who decided that all the standard career paths just weren't for them. So what did they do about? They didn't just buckle down and give up - no, they set out on a roadtrip to find out what else was really out there. The good news? You don't have to do the same thing...you can just benefit from their research.

Included in the book are interviews with a diverse group of business people - you've got everything from the lawyer that gave Erin Brochovich her start to the manager of the Michael Jordan brand (yeah, there's a guy who's job it is to do just that - who knew?). Each section includes the road map of the interview, which shows just how many options/choices each of us have. Some went to college; some didn't. Some did the expected; some didn't.

Also included are tips on how to get in and talk to people you thought you'd never have a chance at interviewing. Mike & Nathan give the scoop on how they did what they did...after all, you didn't think just anybody could pick up the phone to talk to the Chairman of Starbucks, did you?

Perhaps the best advice in the book comes from Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Computers. He says "Don't be afraid to fail because that's usually when you learn." But, you'll find many other tidbits of information that can help you on your way. I know I learned a few things, though I guess I'm lucky enough to actually know what I want to do when I grow up. ;-)

Recommended for readers aged 14 and up or anyone questioning their current career path. Yep, that's right - anyone can find the right road if they're willing to just get out there and do a bit of traveling.

Kimberly Pauley, The Young Adult Books Goddess @ YABooksCentral.com
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