Smile When You’re Lying

Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer

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.

Smile When You're Lying Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer

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Barnes & Noble
“[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
“Impassioned, funny, and uniquely honest.”
“Consistently irreverent, Thompson is wickedly entertaining . . . reminiscent of Chuck Klosterman and David Foster Wallace . . . Thompson asks the right questions about why we travel, how we travel and what we expect from the experience. The unvarnished reality in these pages might just make you more eager than ever to hit the road.”
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
“Thompson’s weapons are wit, a well-oiled subversive reflex and a defiantly unbuttoned prose style.”
The New York Observer
“If there is such a pastime as extreme tourism, Chuck Thompson is surely its guru.”
Boston Globe
“Bitingly funny . . . as much as Thompson loves to play the curmudgeon, a reader can tell that through it all, he still loves to travel, despite, or perhaps because of, all the challenges.”
The Columbus Dispatch
“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
“Reading Thompson is like listening to a buddy who shoots from the hip. He gives the straight dope on what a travel writer really sees on his trips and includes his opinions about it. Although readers may not always agree with Thompson’s conclusions . . . they will recognize an authentic voice on the subject of travel when they encounter it.”