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Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story Paperback – May 15, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"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
Top Customer Reviews
Unlikely Destinations is more than just a travel story, although the places the Wheelers have been, how they got where they were going and what they've seen & experienced are incredibly thrilling in and of themselves. But this is also a love story between two people and between a married couple and travel, and eventually, a family of four and travel. It's a business adventure and cautionary tale, about starting your own business from nothing and turning it into a multi-million dollar company, despite or perhaps because of the many bumps encountered along the way. This is not a story about an overnight phenomenon, but rather it's about how much dedication, hard work, sacrifice and yes, love, it takes to follow the road less traveled.
I had a few minor gripes with the book, but nothing too serious. I would really have liked to have more of the story told by Maureen, and there were a few sections I felt like Tony was glossing over too much, but over all, this book just grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go until I finished the last page. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Disappointed is too mild a word for my opinion of this book. I found Tony Wheeler to be narcissistic and petty. I found his recanting of employee relationships and friendships gone sour painful. He blamed his business errors on outside forces, rarely accepting that sometimes things don't go as planned. His decision making process was entrepreneurial and often quite irrational, which likely made LP what it is: the hands-down world leader in travel guides. But he didn't really seem to understand is the other side of entrepreneurship: what can create success can also lead to failure.
His desire to give us too much information pervades the book. I honestly didn't want to know about his marital problems and his rebellious teenagers. I was interested in LP's views of the world and its cultures, and his take on the difference between writing, pleasure, and business travel. My chief complaint of LP guides is that they tend to be somewhat dry, as if the author was being paid to travel (which is true of course), and really didn't enjoy it all that much.
In all, if you're an avid traveler and frequent user of LP guides, this book could have a very different effect on you that the author may have intended.
This book about how Lonely Planet (LP) began and grew was great. I enjoyed reading about the overland travel from Europe through Asia in the early 70's and how Maureen & Tony started LP.
The book is a mix of travel, personal relationships, and business. I thoroughly enjoyed all parts. Great book for entrepreneurs & travellers alike.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 15 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 on March 25, 2014 by Cherri
Those looking for hilarious travel anecdotes should probably look elsewhere for this book by Tony and Maureen Wheeler is far more the nuts and bolts story of two young people... Read morePublished on October 20, 2012 by Paul Lawrence
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
I didn't quite finish this book.
It's a fairly interesting story of how Tony & Maureen Wheeler founded Lonely Planet. :)
It was a little slow for me, though.