Smile When You’re Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer

Smile When You're Lying
After more than a decade traipsing through countries across the globe, Chuck Thompson has had enough. Enough of the half-truths demanded by magazine editors, enough of the endlessly recycled clichés regarded as good travel writing, and enough of the ugly secrets fiercely guarded by the travel industry.

But mostly he’s had enough of returning home from assignments and leaving the most interesting stories and provocative insights on the editing-room floor.

From getting swindled in Thailand to running afoul of customs inspectors in Belarus, from defusing hostile Swedish rockers backstage in Germany to a closed-door meeting with travel execs telling him why he’s about to be fired once again, Thompson’s no-holds-barred style is refreshing, invigorating, and all those other adjectives travel writers use to describe spa vacations where the main attraction is a daily colonic.


“My three favorite travel writers of all time are Robert Louis Stevenson, Graham Greene, and Chuck Thompson. Smile When You’re Lying not only tells the truth about the travel-writing racket, it gets to the heart of some of the travel industry’s best-kept secrets.”—Kinky Friedman

“(Thompson) knows the score and he tallies it accurately. … A dead-on demolition job. … The book is a savagely funny act of revenge.”—The New York Times

“Consistently irreverent, Thompson is wickedly entertaining … reminiscent of Chuck Klosterman and David Foster Wallace.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“A rare victim’s-eye view into the world of travel marketing and the nervous, unmoored corporate weenies who populate it … fascinating reading, in a plane-crash sort of way.”—Washington Post

“If there is such a pastime as extreme tourism, Chuck Thompson is surely its guru.”—Boston Globe

“Vivid and ribald… If all Thompson was aiming for had been caustic observations about the industry he knows from the inside out, the book would have been an amusing but limited experience. But Thompson weaves his take on the travel racket and the damage it does into an engagingly personal narrative about his own nomadic life…”—Publishers Weekly

“An aggressively funny account of the world from an acerbic, energetic professional traveler who tells it like he sees it and has no reservations about sharing his stockpile of outrageous (mis)adventures and advice… At his best, this Thompson will remind readers of Hunter S.—provocative and thoroughly engaging, with a manic liveliness.”—Kirkus Reviews


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