This book was written by the founders of Lonely Planet. I am not a Lonely Planet fan by any means. In my whole “anti-popular” phase, which apparently I still have today for some things, if everyone has one thing, then I must, just for my own sanity, head the other direction. And for travel guide books, this is one of them. I have read too much on how Lonely Planet has westernized too much stuff and I am so blah on a lot of that. Not that I am any better. I still use books and my series of choice is Rough Guides, which isn’t too far off from LP. So go figure. One thing, that they talked a lot about in this book and something apparently they take pride in are the maps, which is something I am kind of blah on anyway. I find their books concentrate too much on maps and on history, two things I can get when I arrive and have no use for in lugging a big book around.
I did like reading about the history of the people though, how they ended up traveling overland from the UK and Australia and just settling down in Oz, because in the early 1970’s, it was just that easy, especially if you were from the UK. How nuts to think about that today. In looking back, they were on the cutting edge of a lot of things, especially computers and stuff. They talked a lot about how the business grew for them personally and locally and not too much about their writers and the shit they dealt with. They talked about pictures and royalties for writers from the books and how that’s changed a lot. Since it’s a couple that started the series, they chatted a little bit about their personal life, but not too much, but just the right amount on how it’s impacted the business. This is not a full-on business book by any means, but interesting enough for a non-business person to enjoy. Since their first book was Southeast Asia on a Shoestring, and since they ended up being based in Australia, a lot of the book was about traveling in Asia which I have never been to and glossed over a lot of the locations there, since I couldn’t relate. Interesting to hear about what they have started, sold off, bought into and the like in a variety of countries. No way could this company have been started by anyone but Europeans, especially UK’ers, with their reach into so many countries. All in all, a decent read for anyone interested in business and/or the travel industry.