Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Radio Shangri-La: What I Discovered on my Accidental Journey to the Happiest Kingdom on Earth” as Want to Read:
Radio Shangri-La: What I Discovered on my Accidental Journey to the Happiest Kingdom on Earth
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Radio Shangri-La: What I Discovered on my Accidental Journey to the Happiest Kingdom on Earth

by
3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  1,266 ratings  ·  294 reviews
Lisa Napoli was in the grip of a crisis, dissatisfied with her life and her work as a radio journalist. When a chance encounter with a handsome stranger presented her with an opportunity to move halfway around the world, Lisa left behind cosmopolitan Los Angeles for a new adventure in the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan—said to be one of the happiest places on earth.

Lo
...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Broadway Books (first published 2010)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Radio Shangri-La, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Radio Shangri-La

The Incredible Journey by Sheila BurnfordDesert Flower by Waris DirieBreaking Night by Liz MurrayRadio Shangri-La by Lisa NapoliJourneys of a Lifetime by National Geographic Society
Journey On - Titles
4th out of 122 books — 8 voters
The Jupiter Chronicles by Leonardo RamirezMen Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John  GrayA Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'EngleJourney to the Center of the Earth by Jules VerneCalvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
Planets in the Title
85th out of 92 books — 27 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Sandi
Feb 23, 2012 Sandi marked it as lemmed  ·  review of another edition
I entered two giveaways for this book, one through FirstReads and one from the publisher's website. I won the FirstReads one and am hoping I don't end up with two. Isn't this title terrific?

After reading the 20 page introduction and the first 3 chapters, I decided that this just isn't my kind of book. I got suckered in by a terrific title and great cover. The blurb sounded pretty good too. However, I'm just not that into memoirs about middle-aged women (of which I am one) who feel a need to zip
...more
Stephanie
I was wary of this one, but I'm not about to turn down a new book about Bhutan!

Travel memoirs are tricky. The author must strike a balance between blandly listing what they experience in the country and making the journey all! about! them! Radio Shangri-La is hit or miss in this regard. Unlike other travel memoirs I've read, there is a wealth of information about the Bhutan of the past four years. Napoli's pretty straightforward about how little she knew about Bhutan before arriving, and how mu
...more
Read It Forward
I'm so excited to tell all my friends who loved Eat, Pray, Love about Radio Shangri-la! It's fabulous. So smart and insightful, and what an education I got reading it. Lisa has a journalist's precision and a novelist's way with character. She grabs her life during a moment of crisis and shakes it out like a rug - she's such an inspiration to all of us who have wondered what we would do if given the opportunity to let go of the familiar, travel to a far-off place, and change our life.
Shomeret
Although I did learn about Bhutan from this book, I thought that Lisa Napoli's memoir was not the best vehicle for doing so. It occurred to me that Napoli isn't very visual. One incident that stood out for me was when she was guessing the nationality of another visitor to Bhutan by his accent rather than his appearance. Another one was when she purchased a ring as a keepsake from Bhutan and didn't describe it at all. Her descriptions are general rather than specific. A travel writer should be mo ...more
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
When I was first offered to review this book, I spent a while thinking about Bhutan, the country which is the focus of this travelogue memoir. The first sad thing I realized was that even in spite of having stayed for eight years in India, and having grown up on a steady diet of news regarding the southern Asian peninsula, Bhutan very rarely featured in any flash news from that region. Although I knew plenty about Bhutan, there was still a lot I didn't. That, as well as the real reason why news ...more
Karen Germain
I have a soft spot for travel memoirs, especially ones that involve quirky, fish-out-of-water scenarios. Lisa Napoli's Radio Shangri-La documents the author's many trips to the country of Bhutan, the self- proclaimed "Happiest Kingdom on Earth."

Bhutan is a country that is not accessible to the average tourist. It's difficult to obtain a visa and if you are allowed in, there is a heavy daily tax levied on visitors. Napoli managed to gain entry by way of her career in radio and arrived to help the
...more
Lisa Napoli
Feb 16, 2011 Lisa Napoli rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I'm biased--I wrote it!
bookczuk
Bhutan captured my imagination back in my son's freshman year at Stanford because of a connection with one of his Stanford faculty and the Royal family. He almost spent part of that summer there, but time and finances worked against him heading to the Happiest Kingdom on Earth. Had he gone, he would have been in Bhutan the same time Lisa Napoli first went there, to help with the fledgling youth radio station Kuzoo FM.

There was a lot I liked about this book, but it had little to do with the autho
...more
Susan
Mar 01, 2011 Susan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Armchair (and actual) travelers
Bhutan, with its Gross National Happiness emphasis, its gorgeous and isolated setting, wonderful people, and sudden ascent into the 21st century, has intrigued me, so I couldn't wait to read this memoir by a woman who volunteered at a fledgling radio station in the country. And I loved learning more about this unique country.

Unfortunately, the writing didn't quite live up to my expectations; it just didn't grab me as much as I had anticipated. To start, the author writes about Harris and Matt, B
...more
David
I received this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads program.

After a chance meeting at a party, Lisa Napoli stumbles across the adventure of a lifetime. Radio Shangri-La covers two main narrative threads: a memoir of Napoli's sort of mid-life crisis and the history of Bhutan as well as its increasingly rapid democratization and commercialization. As a geography/culture junkie, I found the latter topic more compelling. Indeed, at times Napoli's personal developments seem a bit superfluous to
...more
Sarah Booth
Jun 08, 2011 Sarah Booth rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with an adventurist spirit.
Story of a 43 year old Public Radio worker who ended up in Bhutan for 6 weeks helping with the country's first radio station for Bhutanese youth with music (pirated from the internet) and news of a country that was just opening up to outsiders and had literally kept the rest of the world out to maintain its "Gross National Happiness". But the new king, who would be starting elections for a democratic government instead of the singular power of the monarchy which had been run by this family for t ...more
Amanda
Dear Lisa Napoli,
What DID you learn in Bhutan, the happiest place on earth? As a fellow traveller I hestitate to criticize your "Travel changed my life because it made me happy" epiphany, but such an epiphany does not a whole book merit. I enjoyed learning about Bhutan, a country I had only once heard of before when I went to a Gap Year meetup and a presenter who had been to nearly every country in the world insisted that Bhutan was the absolute best, and the absolute most expensive. He offered
...more
Donna
No matter how happy Bhutan is, I would not fare well there. It may be beautiful, but the fiery hot peppers they favor would leave me in tears and starving.
Lisa Napoli, author of “Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth,” worked for public radio in California and was dissatisfied with her life.
Through a chance meeting at a party, she winds up on the other side of the world, spending six weeks helping radio station Kuzoo FM operate, well, more like a professional
...more
Laura
Read this right after Beyond the Sky and the Earth, by Jamie Zeppa, who lived and taught in Bhutan for several years. The two books provided very different perspectives on Bhutan, not only because the action took place a few decades apart but because Napoli didn't immerse herself in Bhutanese culture to the extent Zeppa did. (For example, Napoli avoided the Bhutanese staple dish, finding it too spicy and foreign, instead favoring imported Western goods; Zeppa learned to cook and eat like a nativ ...more
Rebekah ODell
Imagine Eat, Pray, Love. Subtract the self-indulgent whining. Add work. Voila! An approximation of Lisa Napoli’s Radio Shangri-la.

I don’t mean that in a reductive way, though. This is a very thoughtful, interesting travel memoir about a successful journalist in a mid-life crisis. After a chance meeting at a party, Lisa agrees to travel to Bhutan, a tiny country touted as the “happiest kingdom on Earth.” A radio vet, her skills are needed to help professionalize a Bhutan’s first radio station. So
...more
Gail Storey
I loved RADIO SHANGRI-LA, and savored it for all its personal, cultural, social, even historical dimensions. I connected with the author and many of her experiences from the very beginning. Lisa Napoli beautifully interweaves her own story and personal growth with that of Bhutan and the people she met. I especially admired how she juxtaposed the Buddhist culture of the people of Bhutan with the consumer culture of the U.S. While she alludes to her sense of complicity in the modernization of the ...more
Jaylia3
In spite of being in the news business herself, Lisa Napoli was tired of its noisy, incessant, over simplified sound bites, so when offered a six month volunteer position at a startup radio station in faraway Bhutan she put her job at NPR on hold and jumped at the chance. Bhutan, a tiny landlocked Buddhist kingdom surrounded by India and China and full of gorgeous alpine vistas, is famous for having a king who prefers promoting Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product. Mass communica ...more
Jeannie Mancini
Although I am an avid reader of travel narrative books, Radio Shangri-La was my first armchair adventure story into the country of Bhutan.

While going through a personal midlife crisis, Lisa Napoli realizes she needs some changes in her life. Her personal relationships, her work at an L.A. radio station, and her previous view of the American dream dipped in a materialist world, were ingredients causing her life to fold and unhappiness to descend upon her life devoid of joy and meaning. One evenin
...more
Brenda
Any time you read a book that isn't based on the United States and our language you often have names of people and places that makes the eye like the tongue when reading out loud, stumble every time you see it. That is what slowed me down with this book. It wasn't totally enjoyable for me, I didn't zoom through the book in a day or two as I do when reading books I'm totally enamored with. This story was a true story of one womens fascination with a country that she went to visit often after her ...more
Angie
"Yet if Akon and Christina Aguilera could dominate the airwaves—if cupcakes were being baked and Coca-Cola swigged and a person like me had been allowed in—anything was possible."

I almost didn't make it through the preface of this book. There are far too many white-woman-having-a-midlife-crisis-and-deciding-to-travel-around-the-globe memoirs out there, and this one certainly doesn't start off any differently from the rest of them.

One of the differences that sets this book apart from the rest of
...more
Marija
We all have one place we’d love to visit “someday.” Bhutan is mine. I read everything I can get my hands on about that obscure country. So when “Radio Shangri-La” came out, I grabbed a copy. Lisa Napoli, in a mid-life rut, got a fantastic opportunity dropped on her lap: consult with Bhutan’s very first radio station, a fledgling start-up run by hip young people.

Napoli lacks the ability to make her stories come alive. I was more than half-way through the book before she provided a very brief day
...more
Catherine
What I liked:
Learning about the history & current (well, at least a few years ago) situation in Bhutan
Insight into Bhutanese culture, especially the interactions between the author and her radio station co-workers
Views of expat culture in Bhutan and the effect of Western culture on Bhutan

What I could have done without:
Extended criticism of Western culture and materialism -- I think anyone reading this book understands where we're lacking without having it explained in detail
Too much informa
...more
Carol
Lisa Napoli was in the middle of what I would call a mid life crisis. She was wondering, "Is this all?" She had a job as a radio journalist, but no current romantic attachment, no children and was feeling despair.

She had an accidental meeting with a handsome stranger and was presented with the opportunity to go around the world to live in the small country of Bhutan. Instead of measuring its GNP, it measured its, GNH (Gross National Happiness. It is a poor country set with rugged mountains Two
...more
Louise
Story Description:

Crown Publishing Group | February 8, 2011 | e-Book | KOBO

Lisa Napoli was in the grip of a crisis, dissatisfied with her life and her work as a radio journalist. When a chance encounter with a handsome stranger presented her with an opportunity to move halfway around the world, Lisa left behind cosmopolitan Los Angeles for a new adventure in the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan-said to be one of the happiest places on earth.

Long isolated from industrialization and just beginn
...more
Renee
This book is about the author’s accident introduction to Bhutan and her series of visits between 2007 and 2010. I certainly learned more about the country and found that aspect of the book interesting. For example, Bhutan until recently had no access to television, radio, internet.

Not a heavily tourist destination, as many travelers are put off by the (still in place)$200 per person per day tourist tax. The country boasts the idea of measuring a society's GNP worth in “Gross National Happiness”
...more
Staci
Why I read it:
I really enjoy reading about people's experiences living countries that I know next to nothing about. I remember watching The Today's Show feature about Bhutan, which sparked my curiosity about the country and their way of life. When the chance to read this one came along I thought it sounded like a great read.

What's it about:

Lisa Napoli was in the grip of a crisis, dissatisfied with her life and her work as a radio journalist. When a chance encounter with a handsome stranger prese
...more
John
Really 2.5 - 3 stars, but rounded down for the author's overly-perky narration, which grew irritating.

I found the story ultimately lacking, disappointing, underwhelming. We get a general description of Thimpu, though not much the country as a whole. Instead, the Bhutan-set chapters focus more on the personalities of the people she meets there, and impressions of the society; however, I didn't get an idea of what she actually did there as a volunteer. To be blunt, she came off as needy, and the B
...more
jaxnsmom
I had really been looking forward to reading Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in the Happiest Kingdom on Earth. It was enjoyable, but didn't live up to my expectations. To me, a good travel memoir draws you in so you feel like you're participating in the adventure. Unfortunately, here I felt like I was on the outside looking in, there was no real connection with what was going on.

Lisa Napoli's job was to help set up a youth-oriented radio station, but she didn't really describe her job. In fact
...more
Lisa Tener
An inspiring book, well written, but somehow it left me feeling a bit depressed. I think it was the part about the violence against Nepalese people in Bhutan. The author makes an attempt to come to terms with it--and I understand where she is coming from--that's information that does need to be in the book. But I like a book to leave me happy or transformed in some way and this did not do that.
Katie
This book came through the Good Reads First-Reads program.

I don't know if I'll ever get the chance to go to Bhutan, but this was a great introduction to a country that most of us know little about.

I loved the fact that she was presented with a great opportunity and went against her usual instincts to reach for something beyond herself. I like the idea that just meeting one person can completely change your life.

This was a travel memoir that didn't really inspire me to travel, which I found was
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Married to Bhutan
  • Big in China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues, and Becoming a Star in Beijing
  • Sideways on a Scooter: Life and Love in India
  • Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan
  • Across Many Mountains: A Tibetan Family's Epic Journey from Oppression to Freedom
  • The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends Who Transformed Science and Changed the World
  • The Cure for Anything Is Salt Water: How I Threw My Life Overboard and Found Happiness at Sea
  • Come to the Edge
  • All Over the Map
  • Turn Left At The Trojan Horse: A Would-Be Hero's American Odyssey
  • Keeper: One House, Three Generations, and a Journey into Alzheimer's
  • Billy Connolly's Route 66
  • A Carpet Ride to Khiva: Seven Years on the Silk Road
  • Home is a Roof Over a Pig: An American Family's Journey in China
  • Butter Tea at Sunrise: A Year in the Bhutan Himalaya
  • Hearing Birds Fly: A Nomadic Year in Mongolia
  • Around the World in 80 Dinners: The Ultimate Culinary Adventure
  • How to Eat a Small Country: A Family's Pursuit of Happiness, One Meal at a Time
3292979
Author,
Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth
Crown, February 2011
(Paperback: Broadway Books, April, 2012)

Lisa Napoli is a journalist who has worked in all media. She began her career at CNN in Atlanta in the early eighties, worked in local TV news in North Carolina, covered the Clinton campaign and Waco standoff as a field producer for an early iteration of the
...more
More about Lisa Napoli...
Temple on the Mall: The Harmonic Convergence of the Faux Bhutan

Share This Book