View from this book:
Who doesn’t love to read odes to traveling while actually traveling? I went to Mexico with my family for Christmas break last year, and read this while on the beach.
Beautiful, poetic, quotable in its entirety, this book is well worth reading, especially while lying on a beach in Mexico. However, it very carefully outlines all of the selfish reasons why we travel (“On the Exotic,” “On Eye-Opening Art,” etc.) but completely ignores cross-cultural connections, or discoveries about modern-day societies, or humanitarian urges, or changes in our own lives prompted by reflections on others’, or any other real reason for travel. Du Button’s well-crafted essays speak to all of the personal journeys we can make, but he ignores all of the beautiful things that can happen between people when someone travels across cultures: travel can make us more tolerant of others, make us understand better how the world works, encourage us to make a difference in the world, help us see how the other half (or is it the other 99%?) lives and see elements of those lifestyles and cultures that we can incorporate into our own. De Botton, please keep on writing, because your ode to travel was magnificent and I agreed with every silver word that dripped from your brain to the page, but you stopped far too short of the ultimate goal. 8 out of 10.