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Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am. When Michael Crichton -- a Harvard-trained physician, bestselling novelist, and successful movie director -- began to feel isolated in his own life, he decided to widen his horizons. He tracked wild animals in the jungles of Rwanda. He climbed Kilimanjaro and Mayan pyramids. He trekked Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am. When Michael Crichton -- a Harvard-trained physician, bestselling novelist, and successful movie director -- began to feel isolated in his own life, he decided to widen his horizons. He tracked wild animals in the jungles of Rwanda. He climbed Kilimanjaro and Mayan pyramids. He trekked across a landslide in Pakistan. He swam amid sharks in Tahiti. Fueled by a powerful curiosity and the need to see, feel, and hear firsthand and close-up, Michael Crichton has experienced adventures as compelling as those he created in his books and films. These adventures -- both physical and spiritual -- are recorded here in Travels, Crichton's most astonishing and personal work.


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Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am. When Michael Crichton -- a Harvard-trained physician, bestselling novelist, and successful movie director -- began to feel isolated in his own life, he decided to widen his horizons. He tracked wild animals in the jungles of Rwanda. He climbed Kilimanjaro and Mayan pyramids. He trekked Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am. When Michael Crichton -- a Harvard-trained physician, bestselling novelist, and successful movie director -- began to feel isolated in his own life, he decided to widen his horizons. He tracked wild animals in the jungles of Rwanda. He climbed Kilimanjaro and Mayan pyramids. He trekked across a landslide in Pakistan. He swam amid sharks in Tahiti. Fueled by a powerful curiosity and the need to see, feel, and hear firsthand and close-up, Michael Crichton has experienced adventures as compelling as those he created in his books and films. These adventures -- both physical and spiritual -- are recorded here in Travels, Crichton's most astonishing and personal work.

30 review for Travels

  1. 4 out of 5

    W

    In addition to travel,the book is also also about his medical career and the least interesting part is about psychics. An intrepid traveler,the places he chooses to visit are fairly unusual and show his fondness for adventure. Of particular interest to me were the two chapters dealing with his travel experiences in Pakistan. In the first one he travels the dangerous Karakoram Highway and finds it blocked by a massive landslide.He also finds himself in trouble on a mountain trail but survives someh In addition to travel,the book is also also about his medical career and the least interesting part is about psychics. An intrepid traveler,the places he chooses to visit are fairly unusual and show his fondness for adventure. Of particular interest to me were the two chapters dealing with his travel experiences in Pakistan. In the first one he travels the dangerous Karakoram Highway and finds it blocked by a massive landslide.He also finds himself in trouble on a mountain trail but survives somehow. Searching for the mythical Shangri La,he visits remote Hunza in Pakistan only to find that its inhabitants are not as healthy,happy and long lived as he expected. The second trip to Pakistan takes him to Baltistan and the Karokoram mountains which contain ten of the highest peaks in the world.The account of how local women treat his blonde wife is hilarious. Other trips take him to Mount Kiliminjaro,Rwanda,New Guinea,Malaysia and Bangkok. He describes his experiences with gorillas and sharks. He goes to the Mayan pyramids and also describes his encounter with a three hundred pound turtle.In Bangkok he is taken by his friend to see a child brothel. The most interesting part of his recollections about his medical career is his experience of dissecting a human cadaver. In another chapter he describes the agony of screaming women about to give birth under the influence of drugs. Unhappy as a doctor,he would eventually quit to become a writer.His Harvard teacher didn't think much of his writing skills and he submitted an essay by George Orwell as his own.Orwell got a B- grade,too ! He also talks about working in movies as a director,once directing Sean Connery in stunts which were quite dangerous. The third part about his belief in psychics was of little interest to me.I skipped it. The book is a mixed bag,though it's very personal and parts of it are very intense.

  2. 5 out of 5

    AudioBookLover

    At first when I started this I was like wtf? He's talking about being in med-school and I thought 'Oh no! This is going to be boarding as hell' This turned out to be a really great book! This isn't your standard memoir. Each part where Crichton tells about a trip he toke, it is written like a really great short story. I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to everyone. I was actually sad when I finished with it. He published this right before publishing Jurassic Park. I really wi At first when I started this I was like wtf? He's talking about being in med-school and I thought 'Oh no! This is going to be boarding as hell' This turned out to be a really great book! This isn't your standard memoir. Each part where Crichton tells about a trip he toke, it is written like a really great short story. I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to everyone. I was actually sad when I finished with it. He published this right before publishing Jurassic Park. I really wish he would have written a fallow up to this about the latter part of his life. Book ***** Audiobook *****

  3. 5 out of 5

    Connie Harkness

    I found it appalling that Michael Crichton so calmly depicts waiting outside a brothel in Asia while his host has sex with children. I suppose we're supposed to think he's a good guy for not indulging himself, but the fact that he is having a conversation with someone while they wait, and never objecting or contacting authorities is shocking to me. As Edmund Burke said, "all that's necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing". After reading this book, I don't know that I'd even b I found it appalling that Michael Crichton so calmly depicts waiting outside a brothel in Asia while his host has sex with children. I suppose we're supposed to think he's a good guy for not indulging himself, but the fact that he is having a conversation with someone while they wait, and never objecting or contacting authorities is shocking to me. As Edmund Burke said, "all that's necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing". After reading this book, I don't know that I'd even be able to think of Crichton as a good man. The rest of the stories are ok, but a lot of his "travels" are metaphysical, which is not what I was expecting. Somehow, even ignoring the child sex slavery incident, he managed to portray himself as pretty much of a jerk. I haven't read all of his books, but a few were on my list to get to latter. After reading Travels, I think I'll just cross them off.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    There are lots of good reasons not to like or to outright dislike Michael Crichton's Travels. He shares very directly his understanding about how women differ from men during the 1980s compared to his experiences in the 60s and 70s. He studies things like psychic powers and auras and spoon bending. He gets married again and again. He might be at his most sympathetic while talking to a cactus. The chapter on Sean Connery felt too much like name dropping (though I liked Connery's advice: always tel There are lots of good reasons not to like or to outright dislike Michael Crichton's Travels. He shares very directly his understanding about how women differ from men during the 1980s compared to his experiences in the 60s and 70s. He studies things like psychic powers and auras and spoon bending. He gets married again and again. He might be at his most sympathetic while talking to a cactus. The chapter on Sean Connery felt too much like name dropping (though I liked Connery's advice: always tell the truth. That makes it their problem). At times, I felt like Crichton learned the same lessons over and over (and over) without realizing that he was dealing with the same problem throughout his life. The account ends with an essay criticizing the scientific community for its skepticism of psychic phenomena rather than the introspective conclusion I'd been expecting throughout the book. Basically, it would be easy to dismiss the whole of this book using any one or two parts of it. The only exception might be his descriptions of med school, which are raw and vividly described. I was impressed, and sometimes shocked, by these moments. I was also struck by how many doctors he met who felt powerless to help people. But at all times in this memoir, I found myself thinking something like "here's a Harvard trained physician speaking candidly about auras and psychic powers and what he thinks about just about everything." And I also recalled the scene at the end of Pulp Fiction when Jules explains that a dog is dirty, but it has personality. So it's not filthy. This book has personality, so I'm not inclined to dismiss it. And let's not forget this advice from David Brooks, which goes something like "our character is defined by our attempts to wrestle with our personal flaws." Brooks does not mention our victory lap after defeating or solving our flaws. Our personal flaws, from what I can tell, are our personal flaws, and we should do our best to recognize and manage them perennially. Crichton could have self censored, and didn't. It takes guts to do that, and sometimes that goes a long way.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Wellington

    Usually I avoid the most popular books, but because of a high recommendation I decided to read up on Michael Crichton, the author of books like Jurassic Park and Congo. The book begins with Michael, the medical student, figuring out how to use a chainsaw to cut the head of a cadaver in half. First I thought that he was a de Vinci doing some research for a book. However, he did attend medical school supported by his “side-job” of writing books. In the end he just didn’t fit the philosophy and soci Usually I avoid the most popular books, but because of a high recommendation I decided to read up on Michael Crichton, the author of books like Jurassic Park and Congo. The book begins with Michael, the medical student, figuring out how to use a chainsaw to cut the head of a cadaver in half. First I thought that he was a de Vinci doing some research for a book. However, he did attend medical school supported by his “side-job” of writing books. In the end he just didn’t fit the philosophy and society of being a doctor and began traveling. He traveled the world when he realized that his knowledge was largely centered only in Western – American and European history. What about Africa? Asia? South America? Australia? He climbed mountain ranges, scuba dived through sharks, and lived with mountain gorillas. However, his real travels were in perceptions written with a candid and self-effacing prose. I especially love the chapter entitled “They”. The seeds were planted in the doubts of his medical school training. How much of disease is because of mental attitude – not how is the mental attitude an effect of a disease? He would try psychics, healers, spend days talking to a cactus, and then goes traveling to an astral plane. This is a wonderful book. Take a journey with him and you will go him places you never dreamed of.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amber Strussion

    Travels is one of my favorite books. I've read it at least three times in my life. It is Michael Crichton's autobiography detailing his life in medical school, but most of all his travels around the world. Each chapter is a new adventure and Dr. Crichton makes you feel as if you are right there with him! I definitely recommend this book to anyone that likes to travel or just wants a fun, entertaining, read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Santhosh

    ‘the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.’ ~ T.S. Eliot I believe that if you have truly travelled, you will no longer be the same person you started out as. So for me, travel automatically also includes inner change, be it intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social or personal. I'm also slowly learning the significance of events that change you as a person; things that may not necessarily be immediately significant but add up to make ‘the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.’ ~ T.S. Eliot I believe that if you have truly travelled, you will no longer be the same person you started out as. So for me, travel automatically also includes inner change, be it intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social or personal. I'm also slowly learning the significance of events that change you as a person; things that may not necessarily be immediately significant but add up to make you the person you are. To that end, I loved this book because Crichton talks about his experiences and observations, how he looks at them retrospectively, how they have affected him over a period of time, what he learnt, his self-discoveries, his self-explorations, his open-minded trysts with psychic phenomena and his clinical attempts at understanding them scientifically. Most critiques about the book seem to have had the wrong expectations from it. It's not a travelogue, in spite of what the title may convey. It's rather a memoir of sorts, with the first third of the book about his time as a medical student at Harvard from 1965-69 (where he offers an astonishingly honest view of life as a medical student, and where he also starts thinking and questioning his philosophies and breadth of knowledge), a second third of the book about his travel experiences (climbing Kilimanjaro, visiting Baltistan and Shangri-La, scuba diving with sharks, visiting mountain gorillas, etc), and another third of the book about his experiences with the metaphysical (meditations, talking to a cactus, bending spoons, spending time with psychics and healers, salt baths, auras, etc). You can actually see Crichton's discerning and open-minded approach to life further develop, as he questions, analyzes and deeply introspects along with you. Somewhere, especially in the parts on psychic phenomena, I felt it was actually me who was in there, and for a non-fiction book, that is startlingly good. If nothing else, I have to confess rethinking my outright dismissive attitudes to a few and their effects, because Crichton has already asked most of the questions I would have if I was personally attempting to verify those phenomena. Crichton would, like any of us, have an opinion about a subject (such as, say, auras), until someone suggests otherwise, which, through long analytical monologues, disturbs him to the point that he wants to confirm it either way. His doubtful, analytical mind would then grapple with his personal experiences which seem to be proving otherwise, and his attempts at scientifically dissecting them, in order to understand, are a treat to read. In the end, I was vigorously nodding my head at his thoughts on whether in science we are forming theories based upon data or are actually letting our pre-conceived notions determine which data we let ourselves see. A fantastic book, it informed, entertained, challenged, and engaged me as a reader and as a person.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Travelin

    Up[date: 15/11/17 I don't know why I was being coy in this review. Michael Crichton describes waiting for a mutual friend to come back from molesting a child, then listens to the man's description of what happened, without comment or criticism. But Crichton does complain a page later when the locals started laughing about his height. What a fucking asshole. Is anyone surprised that Hollywood is still full of fucking assholes? This was a profoundly unpleasant, self-centered, non-practicing doctor w Up[date: 15/11/17 I don't know why I was being coy in this review. Michael Crichton describes waiting for a mutual friend to come back from molesting a child, then listens to the man's description of what happened, without comment or criticism. But Crichton does complain a page later when the locals started laughing about his height. What a fucking asshole. Is anyone surprised that Hollywood is still full of fucking assholes? This was a profoundly unpleasant, self-centered, non-practicing doctor who paid a psychologist high rates to tell him he didn't like himself enough. Only read the first 20 pages or so, but pay special attention to his strong complaints when people laugh at him for being tall, versus what happens 2 pages earlier. Hollywood must have loved him.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    After reading this book, I realized that I never want to meet Michael Crichton. Ever.

  10. 4 out of 5

    The Story Girl

    This book could be divided into three parts: Crichton's time as a medical student at Harvard; his travels; and his foray into psychic stuff, so I'll divide my review up the same way. ➽ Harvard Medical School I love this book so much, and I haven’t even reached the part that I picked the book up for (the travels, of course). In this first part, Crichton describes his time as a medical student at Harvard and what lead him to quitting medicine just as he graduated to become a writer instead. (And This book could be divided into three parts: Crichton's time as a medical student at Harvard; his travels; and his foray into psychic stuff, so I'll divide my review up the same way. ➽ Harvard Medical School I love this book so much, and I haven’t even reached the part that I picked the book up for (the travels, of course). In this first part, Crichton describes his time as a medical student at Harvard and what lead him to quitting medicine just as he graduated to become a writer instead. (And side note: this is making me question my life choices all over again. Between Crichton’s disillusionment with medicine and a conversation with my brother I had yesterday about life in the hospital and how being a doctor isn’t all that fulfilling, I’m re-thinking everything I’ve wanted to do in my own life. Ugh.) But back to the book. It was so interesting to see how differently medicine was practiced nearly fifty years ago. ➽ Travels It starts in LA where Crichton had moved to be in the movie business. In the apartment complex he moved into, the manager listed “MD” after the title because he thought it added more prestige to the place, so every time there was a medical emergency, the doorman would end up calling Crichton, who wasn’t licensed to practice medicine. And a series of funny events ensued (well, they were funny when they weren’t sad). Psychiatry In the next chapter, Crichton starts seeing a psychiatrist because his wife wants to get back together, but he doesn’t. She uses reverse psychology to get him to start seeing one when he doesn’t want to by telling him, this doctor is so busy he probably won’t be able to see you anyway. He takes that as a challenge and immediately makes an appointment. They start talking and he helps Crichton realize that he’s rather insecure about his life despite all his successes. He helps talk him through several of his next dating relationships as well. But my favorite part is just that someone so successful as Crichton needed help and reached out too. It’s okay to be in therapy and it doesn’t make you any less of a person. In Thailand, he discovers that despite how much he’s traveled throughout his life, he isn’t very culturally aware and actually hasn’t seen most of the world outside of North America and Western Europe and he decides to change that. This chapter may have also contained my least favorite part of the book when they go to visit a "whore house". I was so disgusted and sad he would have even stepped foot into that place in the first place. In Shangri-la, he visits the people of Hunza where he claims that people live to be 140 years old on a diet of apricots and are immune to disease. Upon doing some research, it turns out that Shangri-la is just a ficitional place mentioned in a 1933 novel by James Hilton. As for the Hunza valley, it’s a real mountainous valley in Pakistan. This is the only scientific article I could find about the matter, and it turns out this claim is not exactly true. This journal article also touches on the matter. And I won't summarize the rest of it because it's definitely worth a read! ➽ Psychic stuff This is the part of the book that I could have done without, but he does make a good case for it at the end of the book in his postscript. In conclusion, I’ve had this on my TBR for like 10 years now. Not sure how I even first heard of it, but I’m so so so glad I finally decided to pick it up. <3 I want more books like this in my life. Random ones you won’t see any book bloggers or bookstagrammers talking about, ones that were published decades ago, ones without pretty covers, but ones that mean so much to me. Random stuff I learned: ➽ "During the Korean War, post-moretms on young men had shown that the American diet produced advanced arteriosclerosis by the age of 17. ➽ “I demonstrated a great value to keeping a diary, and have kept one even since. I reread Franklin’s Autobiography, and noted that he kept a record of himself, as I did, for exactly the same reasons. This most practical and observant of men had decided that careful record-keeping was the only way to find out what he was really doing.” ➽ “The creator of Sherlock Holmes was a Scottish physician, a lapsed Catholic, a vigorous athlete, and a Victorian gentleman. Although he is most closely associated with the cool, deductive mind of his fictional detective, Conan Doyle showed an interest in spiritualism, mysticism, and metaphysics even in medical school. His stories frequently contained a strong element of the supernatural; in such works as The Hound of the Baskervilles there is a continuous tension between a supernatural and a mundane explanation for events.” ➽ “Unaccustomed to direct experience, we can come to fear it. We don’t want to read a book or see a museum show until we’ve read the reviews so that we know what to think. We lose the confidence to perceive for ourselves. We want to know the meaning of an experience before we have it. We become frightened of direct experience, and we will go to elaborate lengths to avoid it. I found I liked to travel, because it got me out of my routines and my familiar patterns." ➽ “Has anyone in this room had their tonsils and adenoids removed? Has anyone had a radical mastectomy for breast cancer? Has anyone been treated in an intensive care unit? Has anyone had coronary bypass surgery? Of course, many people had. I said, Then you’re all knowledgeable about superstitions, because all these procedures are examples of superstitious behavior. They are procedures carried out without scientific evidence that they produce any benefit. This society spends billions of dollars a year on superstitious medicine, and that is a problem—and an expense—far more important than astrology columns in daily newspapers, which are so vigorously attacked by the brainpower of CSICOP. And I added, Let’s not be too quick to deny the power of superstition in our own lives. Which of us, having suffered a heart attack, would refuse to be treated in an intensive-care unit just because such units are of unproven value? We’d all take the ICU. We all do. I then went on to mention the many cases of fraud in research science. Isaac Newton may have fudged his data;4 certainly Gregor Mendel, father of Mendelian inheritance, did.5 The Italiano mathematician Lazzarini faked an experiment to “determine the value of pi, and his result went unquestioned for more than half a century.6 British psychologist Sir Cyril Burt invented not only his data, but research assistants to gather it.7 In more recent years, there were cases of fraud involving William T. Summerlin of Sloan-Kettering, Dr. John Long of the Harvard Medical School, and Dr. John Darsee of the Harvard Medical School.” ➽ “There are, in fact, well-studied subjects who appear to defy scientific explanation—in particular the famous medium of the last century, Mrs. Piper, who was championed by William James, professor of psychology at Harvard. Mrs. Piper was subjected to intense scrutiny for nearly a quarter of a century, but no skeptic was ever able to demonstrate fraud or trickery.”

  11. 5 out of 5

    Peter Colclasure

    I was 12 years old the summer that Jurassic Park hit theaters. Considering how ubiquitous CGI has become, it's easy to forget how revolutionary that movie was at the time. Using computers to animate photorealistic animals and insert them into a scene with real actors was unprecedented. Spielberg & Co. had to invent new technology as they were filming to make the movie possible. So I saw the movie, read the book, and then got obsessed with Michael Crichton for the rest of my adolescence. I read h I was 12 years old the summer that Jurassic Park hit theaters. Considering how ubiquitous CGI has become, it's easy to forget how revolutionary that movie was at the time. Using computers to animate photorealistic animals and insert them into a scene with real actors was unprecedented. Spielberg & Co. had to invent new technology as they were filming to make the movie possible. So I saw the movie, read the book, and then got obsessed with Michael Crichton for the rest of my adolescence. I read his books over and over. I wrote him a fan letter and the dude replied! I got a signed Jurassic Park postcard saying "Best wishes, Michael Crichton." That was nice. I read Travels for the first time when I was 14 or 15. The book truly expanded my world. It was my introduction to places like Bhutan and Jakarta that I had never heard of before, and to new-age physic phenomena like auras and spoon-bending which I would later come to regard with rigid skepticism. I'm currently reading The Brothers Karamazov. It's not quite the dense slog I expected it to be, I'm enjoying it, and yet I wanted something easy to read, concurrently. So I picked up my old, creased, paperback copy of Travels and gave it a go. Why Travels? I think it's because I wanted to see how much I've changed since I was a teenager. Now I know where Afghanistan is. I know where Mount Kilimanjaro is. I know who James Randi is. How would this affect my perception of the book that my former self loved? "It is not easy to cut through a human head with a hacksaw." I remembered the opening line, verbatim, 20 years after reading it. I remembered a lot. I was surprised by how many incidents from this book have stayed with me. Being pushed up Kilimanjaro. Hushing the British tourists while waiting in an elephant blind. Getting on an airplane with a sense of anxiety because you don't have any books to read or music to listen to. Taping the desk drawers of your London hotel room. Talking to a cactus. These are things that I have thought about many times over the last 20 years, apparently. So what additional perspective do I have on the book 20 years later? I still liked it. But with asterisks. By the standards of the modern era, Crichton comes across as slightly sexist and arguably xenophobic. However, he also seems to be genuinely grappling with his sexism and biases in a way that was rare and forward-thinking for the time. He examined his thoughts and motives, and made a good-faith effort to change in a way that I found redeeming. By the standards of any era, he comes across as insecure. Even though he has a chapter where his psychologist tells him he's insecure, I didn't really notice this at the time. Perhaps because I read it as an insecure 15-year-old, I couldn't see the forest through the trees. He lays his insecurities and phobias and limitations on the table, which is brave, but it also makes it difficult to like him at times. As I suspected, it was more rewarding to read the book with an improved sense of geography. Knowing what I do now, a better title would have been "Vacations" rather than "Travels." Crichton was not an explorer or a trail-blazer in any sense. He paid money to go on guided, secure trips to exotic locales. It was adventure-tourism. And despite the fact that he was being coddled, he nevertheless approached each trip with hand-wringing anxiety. But that's what I found admirable: here's a guy whose temperament was best suited to sitting at a typewriter and daydreaming. He had difficulty relating to other people in a genuine way, bore physic scars from his troubled childhood, and lived with a lot of fear and insecurity. Despite all that, he forced himself to travel outside of his comfort zone, to see the world, to challenge himself, to grow. Someone with less courage would have simply stayed home. I found myself disagreeing with him more than I did as a teenager. "We cause our diseases. We are directly responsible for any illness that happens to us." Nope. Sorry, no way. This is at best 10% true. Yes, there are psychosomatic symptoms, and we know that a person's outlook can affect their immune system. Depressed people get more colds, for instance. And yes, some illnesses like type 2 diabetes or lung cancer can be the result of bad decisions. But is it your fault if you're born with a cleft palate? Or dyslexia? If you are allergic to cats, is that the result of your thoughts? Many illnesses are determined or influenced by genes. Are genetic defects your fault? What about if someone breaks your arm and sends you to the emergency room? It's all the more an astonishing claim for Crichton to make, considering that he died of cancer in 2008. I've had friends who've died of cancer. It's terrible and sad. In no way whatsoever would I entertain the notion that they caused their own death. It's not a matter of responsibility. It's winning the world's shittiest lottery. I'd be curious to know how much responsibility Crichton felt for his illness in his last days. Now for my thoughts on the new-age stuff. When I first read the book as a teenager, I had never heard of spoon-bending, auras, chakras, or such. It seemed plausible. I tried to bend a spoon. It didn't work. I tried to see auras. It didn't work. I talked to a tree. Never heard back. Still, I kept an open mind. I remember giving my high school psychology teacher my copy of the book and asking him to read a few chapters. He returned the book to me the next day in class and said, "I don't buy it." We talked about it for a while. He basically said "Believe what you want to believe, but be careful going down that path. Don't believe this stuff on one guy's word alone." That was really good advice. Thanks Mr. Schmidt! So, I don't think Crichton is lying or making things up. There are some things he writes that seem genuinely inexplicable. HOWEVER, I believe that if this stuff were true, then it would have been confirmed in a laboratory setting by now. Crichton anticipates this objection in his post-script. He writes that there are a number of phenomena that depend on altered states of consciousness, which are difficult to replicate in a laboratory setting, such as sexual intercourse or creativity. Um, I'm not sure if the set of a porno counts as a laboratory setting, but humans are fully capable of having sex while surrounded by bright lights, cameras, and an audience. And creativity is a pretty broad term. I agree it would be harder to write or compose with a bunch of lab-coated nerds breathing down your neck, but not impossible. Whatever. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle convinced himself that fairies were real. Crichton convinced himself that auras were real. I'll just agree with what he wrote in his post-script: if it's true, it will eventually be born out by science.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Farnoosh Brock

    It is easy to fall in love with Crichton’s writing. It immediately grasps you as solid writing. It is funny, easy, polished, gripping when it needs to be, authentic in both styles – fiction and memoir – and it stays with you long after the reading has ended. There is not a single excess word in all his writing; there is a purpose for every word, every phrase, and every chapter. You just know you are in the presence of great writing. In the span of 353 page book, it is not until after the first 80 It is easy to fall in love with Crichton’s writing. It immediately grasps you as solid writing. It is funny, easy, polished, gripping when it needs to be, authentic in both styles – fiction and memoir – and it stays with you long after the reading has ended. There is not a single excess word in all his writing; there is a purpose for every word, every phrase, and every chapter. You just know you are in the presence of great writing. In the span of 353 page book, it is not until after the first 80 pages recounting the challenges of his medical days (1965-1969) that he begins to share his extensive travels. These first 80 pages offer many clues into Crichton’s shaping character and his priorities in pursuing his passions of writing and travel, despite the incurred cost and expended efforts on a career in medicine. Crichton’s overall experience during medical school and especially his clinical rotations are disturbing, scary, gory, amusing and frequently daunting. It is the daunting that eventually leads him to quit medical school – the tough choices of bad or worse that a doctor has to make, the changes he observes in the doctors from human to robot for adaptation and survival in their environment, and the loose laws around malpractice which cost patients their lives or their limbs with hardly any punishment more than a slap on the wrist of the responsible doctor – these were the daunting observations that while tolerated and accepted at the time as the norm by his peers, Crichton was not able to live with. So he quit medicine. His accounts of psychiatry are extremely funny. Crichton considered entering psychiatry when he was turning away from general medicine, but his clinical rotations proved his assumptions true – at least for him – that psychiatry does not really help people. There are two groups who dominate the clientèle in Crichton’s view: those who are severely disturbed and need help, for whom psychiatry does not make do much and certainly does not effect cures, and those who make up the self-indulgent, absurdly wealthy crowd for whom psychiatry is a glorified form of treatment and he had no interest to help them. And this brings me to what Crichton does best in this book – and something that I found outright hilarious: He would form an opinion about a subject and act in accordance with that opinion, until someone suggests the opposite view, which, through long analytical monologues, disturbs him to the point that he switches to the opposite end of the opinion spectrum, and adjusts all his actions accordingly. Perhaps, on significant issues this would seem like a person who does not believe in anything, and therefore falls for anything – but these were all petty affairs, such as visiting a psychiatrist – whom he finds to be a waste of time – until his friend tells him that the guy probably would not make time to see him anyway – leading Crichton to panic that perhaps his case is not interesting or important, and he makes an appointment right away!!! The chapter dearest to my heart is on his experience with the Mountain Gorillas. The dialogue between the scientist and Crichton before his journey up the mountains to see the gorillas: “I wouldn’t study gorillas”, Nicole said. “Why not”, I asked. “They are men.” “Gorillas are men?” “Yes, of course”. Gorillas are not animals, they are same as men. The Gorilla story is chilling, sad, beautiful and more. As Crichton comes to see these gorillas close-up, he “drifted into a feeling of extraordinary enchantment. Never in my life had I experienced anything like it. To be so close to a wild creature of another species, and yet to feel no threat…I never wanted to leave.”

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I'm actually only in the "medical school" chapters, but I love them enough to rate this book highly already. I've never been a huge fan of Crichton's fiction, but I always liked his prose and I'm delighted to be reading this account of his life, philosophy, struggles, and revelations. Thanks for recommending, AL!!! Update 6-1-13: I loved the beginning of this book chronicling mediical school; and I very much enjoyed most of his travel journals (though I did find myself leaning toward bitterness wh I'm actually only in the "medical school" chapters, but I love them enough to rate this book highly already. I've never been a huge fan of Crichton's fiction, but I always liked his prose and I'm delighted to be reading this account of his life, philosophy, struggles, and revelations. Thanks for recommending, AL!!! Update 6-1-13: I loved the beginning of this book chronicling mediical school; and I very much enjoyed most of his travel journals (though I did find myself leaning toward bitterness when realizing how many exotic, expensive places he's had access to his whole life). But near the end it got very new-agey and I found it difficult to understand how an intelligent, scientific person could so easily give credence to things I myself do not believe are possible. He did express a good deal of doubt and initial resistance, so that tempered my irritation somewhat. But in the end he endorses and presents as real many things that just seem imaginary to me. Either he's just done a great job of convincing himself and thus he "sees" what he wants to see; or I'm genuinely missing out on an entire plane of existence. Update 6-2-13: I was premature in delivering that review, as I was a couple chapters away from the end and jumped to conclusions. Chricton actually did a great job closing up the book with a persuasive defense laid out logically and objectively of his "transformation" from an academic/scientific/traditional thinker to one who allows for and believes in at least the possibility of metaphysical and psychic phenomena. I still fall more on the skeptical side, but I loved his final speech (never delivered) addressing the CSICOP. The author redeemed himself to me by acknowledging that his views may not be shared by the majority and he has no interest in "converting" anyone to believe in psychic powers. I liked his assertion that reality is never fully known, and the idea that science is the pinnacle of reason and must always be the accepted explanation of any phenomenon is only what we've been taught to believe in the Western world. I enjoyed his review of the concept of theories and whether in science we are forming theories based upon data or are actually letting our pre-conceived notions determine which data we let ourselves see. I was also very impressed with his assessment of the continual shift away from direct experience via the ubiquity of electronic media and its constant assault on our senses and mind. I'm in full agreement about the resulting bewilderment and the alien pace of information processing forced upon most of us in this part of the world. I continue to do all I can to stay free of such influences, and I sincerely hope to take his advice to heart and travel as much as possible in attempts to reset myself, promote lifelong self-assessments, and directly experience the world.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alisa Kester

    I thought I was really going to like this book, despite the fact that it really is *very* different than what you'd think. Much less about travel, and more about his life, period. The whole first section was about his experiences earning his medical degree, for example. That part was great, if quite dated. But then he began to come across as a very repulsive person, and I'm just glad he isn't an author I read much of, or he'd have ruined his books for me. Lots of dangerous, ridiculous New Age mu I thought I was really going to like this book, despite the fact that it really is *very* different than what you'd think. Much less about travel, and more about his life, period. The whole first section was about his experiences earning his medical degree, for example. That part was great, if quite dated. But then he began to come across as a very repulsive person, and I'm just glad he isn't an author I read much of, or he'd have ruined his books for me. Lots of dangerous, ridiculous New Age mumbo-jumbo...and then he visits a child whorehouse. Yes, he does. He goes in, looks at the the little 7 and 8 year old children being "sexy", and while he decides not to actually have sex with a child himself, his friends do. And he seems to make no judgements on this. He just smokes a cigarette and waits for them to finish. Nice. Really nice. I'll be avoiding anything more put out by Crichton, whether books or films.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    This book came highly recommended, but I was disappointed in Crichton's travel book. There were several stories relating to Crichton's experiences in exotic places, but much of it was preoccupied with his early years in medical school and later, dealings with meditation, mystics, and his inner journey, which was not at all what I was expecting or looking for. And the picture the author paints of himself through these adventures is not altogether a flattering one. The one good thing that came out This book came highly recommended, but I was disappointed in Crichton's travel book. There were several stories relating to Crichton's experiences in exotic places, but much of it was preoccupied with his early years in medical school and later, dealings with meditation, mystics, and his inner journey, which was not at all what I was expecting or looking for. And the picture the author paints of himself through these adventures is not altogether a flattering one. The one good thing that came out of my reading this book was my decision to write a travel book of my own. I've certainly been to as many interesting places as Crichton, and had just as many interesting experiences. So I've started gather my notes. Look for it 2012.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angus McKeogh

    Some of the travel essays were amazing. Witty, elucidating, and cogent. Beautifully written with his very human and universal emotions coming off the page. Some of his insights on relationships were mind shaking. His different perspective fresh and illuminating. And some of his irrational and non-scientific beliefs were shocking. But overall a book about what it is to be human. Interesting and a good read. On par with and certainly better than some of his fiction.

  17. 4 out of 5

    James Renner

    I think I first saw the cover of this book when I was about 13 and the mystery of it grabbed me even then. It’s a hard to find book. Not as popular as Crichton’s works of fiction. But I happened upon a copy a few weeks ago and devoured it in two days. Travels is the story of Crichton’s life from Harvard medical school to internationally acclaimed author of Sphere and Jurassic Park. But what makes it more than a jerk-off self-important autobiography is how Crichton talks openly and honestly about I think I first saw the cover of this book when I was about 13 and the mystery of it grabbed me even then. It’s a hard to find book. Not as popular as Crichton’s works of fiction. But I happened upon a copy a few weeks ago and devoured it in two days. Travels is the story of Crichton’s life from Harvard medical school to internationally acclaimed author of Sphere and Jurassic Park. But what makes it more than a jerk-off self-important autobiography is how Crichton talks openly and honestly about his search for truth and meaning in life. His adventures– and misadventures– span the entire world and beyond, venturing into the realm of metaphysics and transcendental meditation. We travel with Crichton to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and witness the disintegration of his marriage. We venture into the jungles of Africa to visit the last wild gorillas with him. He takes us meditating in the California desert, and introduces us to a talking cactus. Crichton spent his life researching the edges of humanity, the fringes of what we are capable of. At time, what he finds is disappointing. But I was left with more of a sense of how we are all connected to each other, possibly on a quantum mechanics level, even. Reader beware, this nonfiction book pushes the boundaries of believability at points, especially toward the end as Crichton begins to see auras and discovers he might be possessed by a few demons. But it was a hell of a ride and everything I had hoped it could be. And I have a profound respect for the writer, now. Not just for his economy of words but for his gall to be so honest with his readers.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    This was my second time reading this (it's been a little over 10 years since the last read) but I really enjoyed it again. It's a "page turner," and it confirmed something I've been noticing this year: it's super-interesting to read memoirs that are only slightly out-of-date (versus, you know, Ben Franklin's memoir). This was written about Crichton's literal travel plus his metaphysical experiences in the '70's and '80's, and it was so intriguing to notice the big and little changes that have co This was my second time reading this (it's been a little over 10 years since the last read) but I really enjoyed it again. It's a "page turner," and it confirmed something I've been noticing this year: it's super-interesting to read memoirs that are only slightly out-of-date (versus, you know, Ben Franklin's memoir). This was written about Crichton's literal travel plus his metaphysical experiences in the '70's and '80's, and it was so intriguing to notice the big and little changes that have come about since then. Even Crichton's thoughts and attitudes are interesting, and sometimes anachronistic. Anyway, if you like Crichton's book/film work you'll like this, and if you want to blast back in time to the '80's cutting-edge "New Age" lifestyle of corny mysticism and neon fanny packs here you go!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Unigami

    This is a collection of short essays about Crichton's days at Harvard Med School and internship, the various travels and expeditions that he made throughout his life, and his metaphysical journeys. I was very interested in reading the chapters about the latter, expecting that I would be reading about his experiences with meditation, zen, religion, philosophy...etc. Indeed, it began with that, but before long we find Mr. Crichton visiting psychics, going on retreats, playing with auras, and atten This is a collection of short essays about Crichton's days at Harvard Med School and internship, the various travels and expeditions that he made throughout his life, and his metaphysical journeys. I was very interested in reading the chapters about the latter, expecting that I would be reading about his experiences with meditation, zen, religion, philosophy...etc. Indeed, it began with that, but before long we find Mr. Crichton visiting psychics, going on retreats, playing with auras, and attending spoon bending parties. Strange things start happening and I found them hard to believe, especially coming from a former doctor and skeptical critic of global warming and second-hand smoke. Crichton's writing is wonderful, the stories are personal and interesting, and each one ends with a bit of insight. He was a very intelligent and thoughtful person, and I really liked him for most of the book, but when someone expects me to believe that you can bend a spoon with your mind...I'm sorry - I just can't buy that one. If you can bend a spoon, then bending the handle of your ceramic coffee cup should be no problem, show me that! Or, instead of bending the spoon, why not s t r e t c h it out like silly putty...why does't anyone do that? Because it isn't real, that's why! So I ended up enjoying the book and the author less and less as I continued reading. I don't know what to think of Crichton now...I somewhat believe that he may have been a mixed up person. For sure, a complex person. The book does delve into issues that he had growing up. Worth reading, but it seems to be an artifact of the New Age era and probably some confused or wishful thinking on Crichton's part, may he rest in peace...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

    Michael Crichton, ubermensch (medical doctor, best-selling novelist, screenwriter and film director--all by the age of 30), wrote a book about traveling, both to places like Borneo and Tibet, as well as to inner destinations: spirituality, astral-projection, self-hypnosis, spoon-bending, channeling, etc. Clearly, for all his remarkable intellectual gifts, Crichton was not given a spiritual barometer when he was young. So, after seeing his inadequate responses to life's difficulties, he set out to Michael Crichton, ubermensch (medical doctor, best-selling novelist, screenwriter and film director--all by the age of 30), wrote a book about traveling, both to places like Borneo and Tibet, as well as to inner destinations: spirituality, astral-projection, self-hypnosis, spoon-bending, channeling, etc. Clearly, for all his remarkable intellectual gifts, Crichton was not given a spiritual barometer when he was young. So, after seeing his inadequate responses to life's difficulties, he set out to undesrstand the unseen world. This is what he found: "I believe the experiences reported in this book are reproducible by anyone who wishes to try. I went to Africa. You can go to Africa. You may have trouble arranging the time or the money, but everybody has trouble arranging something. I believe you can travel anywhere if you want to badly enough. And I believe exactly the same thing is true of inner travel. You don't have to take my word about chakras or healing energy or auras. You can find out about them if you want to. Be as skeptical as you like. Find out for yourself." I was astounded as well by Crichton's warts-and-all honesty. He openly discusses his romantic failings, his personal weaknesses, and his ignorance. He reveals what the rest of us mortals suspect: that even the Olympians have troubles. He also reveals how a true student of life deals with doubt: he sets out to get the information to either prove or disprove it. So, in my opinion, if honesty is esteemed as highly as it should be, Crichton was not just a great artist, he was also a great human being and this book deserves your consideration.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris Dietzel

    Before reading this my impression of Crichton was that he seemed incredibly smart, was scientific in his thinking, and was very straight-laced. However, after reading this book, which is part travelogue and part autobiography, almost everything I guessed about him (except being incredibly smart) turned out to be wrong. Crichton discusses his fascination with seeing people's auras, channeling other energies, psychics, etc and spends a lot of his time learning how to do these things. You get the i Before reading this my impression of Crichton was that he seemed incredibly smart, was scientific in his thinking, and was very straight-laced. However, after reading this book, which is part travelogue and part autobiography, almost everything I guessed about him (except being incredibly smart) turned out to be wrong. Crichton discusses his fascination with seeing people's auras, channeling other energies, psychics, etc and spends a lot of his time learning how to do these things. You get the impression of a man who carries deeply rooted dysfunctions and doesn't feel like he fits in with the world. The entire book comes off as painfully honest and that makes it even more interesting.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rajat

    Ardent Michael Crichton fan, so the review would be a bit biased. I loved it! It was a knowledgeable treat along with very powerful writing. For instance, I came to know about how unfair and cruel the US was (and probably still is) to unwed mothers. It was also nice to know how Michael transformed his career from a medical field to becoming a full-time author and then experimenting with being a director. All in all, a great read. Highly recommended!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    I haven't given his fiction the time of day, but I was captivated by his real life experiences. He certainly knows how to tell a story, and man, he has some good ones. I can def. see where he gets his fuel for writing based on his reservoir of adventures.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Adam Wolf

    Host: Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the best selling author that brought you The Andromeda Strain, please welcome, Michael Crichton! Michael: Hello! Thank you for having me. Host: Mr. Crichton, we have brought you here to discuss your new novel, Travels! Can you tell us a little about it? Michael: My most recent book, Travels, is about my experiences and how they changed me in various ways throughout my life. Host: In your first few chapters of your book, you talk about Harvard writing scho Host: Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the best selling author that brought you The Andromeda Strain, please welcome, Michael Crichton! Michael: Hello! Thank you for having me. Host: Mr. Crichton, we have brought you here to discuss your new novel, Travels! Can you tell us a little about it? Michael: My most recent book, Travels, is about my experiences and how they changed me in various ways throughout my life. Host: In your first few chapters of your book, you talk about Harvard writing school and you talk about dropping out. Years later, you now have a career as an author. Do you think you benefited from going there? Michael: I found that the teachers at Harvard graded papers unfairly. I would bring home poor grades, and it was hard for me to improve. I found it very difficult in school to be a writer. Once, as a test, I submitted a paper written by a well-known writer. The paper got a C-. Despite my passion for writing that I had since a kid, I found that I was not learning enough from the class to justify me attending it, so I quit. Host: After you quit the Harvard writing program, you joined Harvard medical school, but this was not the end of your writing career. Michael: Correct. Host: Can you explain to us how you continued your writing and what role it played for you in college? Michael: During my studies at Harvard Medical School, I was writing mysteries under the name of John Lange. John is my real first name. I would sell these books, and they helped pay for my college tuition. I wrote under a pseudonym, or pen name because I thought that my professors would not approve of me writing books while I was studying medicine. Host: What was your first mainstream novel, or what was your first big hit? Michael: That would be The Andromeda Strain. I was in Medical school when I wrote the book, and I remember that I had to go on a tour for the novel. I had to go to my Dean to let me go from school. I said that I had a family business, which is what every student said at the time as an excuse to leave school for a few days. Host: Turning away from your school days, what was the scariest moment of your life? Michael: I have had my fair share of them! They . . . . They are not so fun. I remember the time that I was in Jamaica with my girlfriend, Maria. We were not very happy together and were going to split up soon. Continuing with the story, I had heard about a museum on Jamaican history and I wanted to go see it. It was somewhere in town, so Maria and I went into town to see the museum after a fight. We kept on going around the town in circles searching for it for a good half hour. Finally, I stopped to ask directions and got out of the car. Nearby, the police were transporting criminals from court. When I returned to the car with directions, a man was sitting in the back seat. Maria said that he was a guide and could show us the museum. I was skeptical of this due to his rough appearance and scars. We argued and somehow I agreed to take him. He showed us the museum and shadowed us the entire time, insisting that he stick with us. Finally, we were at the liquor store, at this point he was threatening us. He took my watch as insurance that we would not leave him while he went inside. As soon as he stepped out of the car, I hit the gas as hard as I could and just drove, without even shutting the back door. Host: Wow! He could have been a criminal. Michael: He was! He described to us how he once stabbed a man with a knife. Host: You must have been petrified! How did Maria react to all this when it ended? Michael: She blamed it on me and tried to blame my temper on losing the watch. Host: Wow! That is an impressive story. So on the topic of death, you’re father dies in the book correct? Micheal: Correct. Host: You were never on good terms with your father, but after he died, you felt like you had something to settle. If you could talk to your father one more time, what would you say? Michael: I met a psychic named George, and he was the one that helped me see my father again. He was teaching me how to reach the astral plane. I was in deep meditation, and I saw him standing in front of me, on the astral plane. We just looked at each other for a while, and then I hugged him and he hugged me back. My father was tough on me as a kid, and up until then, I had never forgiven him, but after that moment, I felt as if I had fixed everything. Host: That must have been a pretty powerful moment for you. Michael: Yes, yes it was Host: You had another encounter on the astral plane, did you not? Michael: Yes, I did. I was again with George, my instructor in meditation. We had decided that I was going to try and see my past life. I, again, went into a deep meditation. I saw myself as a gladiator, waiting for my turn to fight. My instructor was asking me questions such as, who was I, where was I, and how I was feeling. I was, oddly enough, not scared. I was a closed-off person, not wanting to know my opponents that I would have to kill. I connected it to how I was a closely guarded person I am now. I woke out of my meditation and never tried to see my past life again and ever since. Host: You seem to have a lot of experience with meditation and energy. Did you ever get to share this with your friends and let them experience it themselves? Michael: I did actually. Once I did psychic readings in my office, but the moment that comes to mind is not me sharing with my friends, but the aerospace engineer, Jack Houck. We were told to bring cutlery we no longer cared about to his house. When I arrived with some friends, there were already a lot of people there, including kids. We all dumped our cutlery in a big pile in the middle. Jack then told us to make an atmosphere of fun and excitement. Then we all chose a spoon we felt was right and yelled at it to bend. Everyone’s spoon began to bend! It was amazing! I was having no such luck and was about to give up when it turned to a rubber-like consistency. I tied the spoon into knots. I still have it to this day. Host: I hope that I can have that type of experience someday. You seem to have experienced a variety of adventures in your lifetime. I know you traveled the world and you talk about it in your book. What was the most strenuous activity you performed in your life? Michael: I am not sure, but one of them would have to be climbing Kilimanjaro. I got a bad blister on my foot on the climb up, but I refused to go down because I had bet a guide back at our camp on the savanna that I would climb it to the top. The higher you get, the harder it was to catch your breath, due to the thinning oxygen. I eventually made it to the peak, but it was a struggle. Host: That must have been excruciatingly painful. Michael: It was. Host: Have you had any other experiences like that one? Michael: None. Host: Moving on to the next question, where was the most remote place you have been? Micheal: I went on a hike with some friends out in Eastern Asia. We were hiking from village to village, and the interesting thing was that none of them were the same. Each village had its own unique culture. When we passed through the towns, all the children would run up to meet us and inspect us because they rarely ever get visitors. Host: To tie it all together, you said that this book that you wrote explains how you changed as a person. Can you elaborate on this a little more? Michael: Not only have the travels changed me but also writing the book itself. I had to reflect back on my own life and pick out the parts that were the most important to me. Visiting all these different cultures really opened my eyes to the world. I used to only travel to Europe with my family, and never went to these exotic places. Theses travels help me with inspiration for my writing in every one of my books. Host: That’s all the time we have. Thank you, Mr. Crichton, for coming on the show. Michael: My pleasure.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sugavanesh Balasubramanian

    I am a fan of memoirs/biographies. I haven't read any of the other Michael Crichton books. Of course, I have watched the entire Jurassic Park series. Fell in love with Westworld TV series (which was based on his movie). So, I picked this book without a second thought when I spotted in a Friends of Library sale being a wanderlust seeking soul. And, I am pleased with my choice, to say the least. This book is about his various adventures, not just through travel (as is used in a conventional meanin I am a fan of memoirs/biographies. I haven't read any of the other Michael Crichton books. Of course, I have watched the entire Jurassic Park series. Fell in love with Westworld TV series (which was based on his movie). So, I picked this book without a second thought when I spotted in a Friends of Library sale being a wanderlust seeking soul. And, I am pleased with my choice, to say the least. This book is about his various adventures, not just through travel (as is used in a conventional meaning) but also in his life in general; his exploration - of his inner self, the world, and his reflections. The book is filled with light-hearted self-deprecating comments, self-reflection, eureka moments, too many experiences to be added to the bucket-list, commentary on the general state of affairs. I will just quote Lao-tzu that he quotes in the book, The sanest man Sets up no deed Lays down no law, Takes everything that happens as it comes... Instead of just rushing through the pages (which I tend to do for biographies in general), I took my time reading this book, a few pages at a time. Because I wanted to take in the experiences the author shared and internalize it. His writing was vivid in the way he shared the thoughts that ran through his mind at various times. If nothing else (if you are not interested in his early career stories, relationships, travel stories), I recommend just reading the postscript of the book. It leaves a lot to ponder upon. I have just moved 'The Lost World' to the top of my to-read list to read the conversations, the discussions, the debate on the moral dilemma about the creation of Jurassic Park alongside a great thriller.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chris Menezes

    This is a weird one. Good: The first part of the book, describing the author’s time in med school I found very interesting. A lot of his travel adventures are unique and exciting. You definitely get a window into his mind. Bad: The “mental trips” and visits to psychics that are all over this book did not resonate with me at all. I think the attempts to normalize astral projection, energies and mediums were ridiculous. Ugly: The casual mention of child prostitution in this book was disgusting. I don’ This is a weird one. Good: The first part of the book, describing the author’s time in med school I found very interesting. A lot of his travel adventures are unique and exciting. You definitely get a window into his mind. Bad: The “mental trips” and visits to psychics that are all over this book did not resonate with me at all. I think the attempts to normalize astral projection, energies and mediums were ridiculous. Ugly: The casual mention of child prostitution in this book was disgusting. I don’t think I can dissociate Crichton from that story moving forward. I don’t know how it was published, frankly

  27. 5 out of 5

    Suze

    I enjoyed Chrichton’s essays about both his world adventure travels and his inner travels exploring the psychic and spiritual worlds. His spare, self-deprecating style made me smile at situations he got into and he set the tone right from the start with schoolboy tales of his Harvard education to become a doctor. I also admired his bright mind and curiosity-driven gumption as he pursued “direct experiences”. The final essay on the validity of research into parapsychology is impressive as he demo I enjoyed Chrichton’s essays about both his world adventure travels and his inner travels exploring the psychic and spiritual worlds. His spare, self-deprecating style made me smile at situations he got into and he set the tone right from the start with schoolboy tales of his Harvard education to become a doctor. I also admired his bright mind and curiosity-driven gumption as he pursued “direct experiences”. The final essay on the validity of research into parapsychology is impressive as he demonstrates why we need the observations of both the mystic and the scientist. The two need not be opposed.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Herve Tunga

    This book is a great read. A lot of gems about perspective, education, experiences and ways of living life.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Trevor Denning

    Crichton was a gifted storyteller and had a way with words, two skills which carry over in his memoir. Unfortunately, he was also a selfish neurotic, and there's no hiding or diminishing that in any survey of his life. While I enjoyed the stories of his travels to exotic locals (the Jamaican adventure being especially amusing), he does not make a good travel companion. Crichton's obsession with psychic phenomena takes up way too much and isn't so much amusing as it is pathetic. As someone who pr Crichton was a gifted storyteller and had a way with words, two skills which carry over in his memoir. Unfortunately, he was also a selfish neurotic, and there's no hiding or diminishing that in any survey of his life. While I enjoyed the stories of his travels to exotic locals (the Jamaican adventure being especially amusing), he does not make a good travel companion. Crichton's obsession with psychic phenomena takes up way too much and isn't so much amusing as it is pathetic. As someone who prefers through books than actual geography, I was very disappointed with these Travels.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Typically really like Crichton, but he goes full Gwenyth Paltrow in this book and is not a very likeable character in his own narration.

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