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Straying from the Flock: Travels in New Zealand
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Straying from the Flock: Travels in New Zealand

2.69  ·  Rating Details ·  99 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
An illuminating road trip through the history, life, and attractions of one of the most beautiful countries in the southern hemisphere
The beauty and grandeur of New Zealand has captured the imagination of movie-goers over the past couple of years, and the country is a dream destination for many around the world. Straying from the Flock is an intimate and personal account
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 25th 2005 by Wiley
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jess Neuner
Jan 28, 2016 Jess Neuner rated it liked it
Shelves: travel, reviewed
I travelled to New Zealand myself a few years ago and this was one of many books I read in advance of the trip. Many others focused on the beauty of the country and I had a travel guide for planning, so I was happy that this book focused much more on the people of New Zealand than anything else. The author didn't stay in hotels, choosing instead to see how real Kiwis lived in homestays and farmstays.

Unlike many travellers to New Zealand, Elder actually makes it down to Stewart Island - somewher
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Matt
Sep 13, 2012 Matt rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: ummm
I started reading Elder's book before the first time we went to New Zealand. I finished it *after* our second trip a year later. That's how captivating this book is.

This is a travelogue. A very well-detailed, daily log-oriented, journal-style travelogue. You may get lost in the many details at times. You can tell that he is passionate about his travels, and gets very into the history and culture--these are the best parts of the book. I was hoping this type of travelogue would be good for recomme
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Rebecca
Jun 03, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
A non-fiction! I really need to intersplice my reading more with these as chick-lit and the like are running me dry lately. I feel like I am running a marathon in my reading, but when I think about what else I would or could be doing, I am glad I am reading. TV is crap here and everything on it I have seen before. For some reason, that's not stopping me from watching crap I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole at home (DH anyone? Ugh, I can't believe I watch it now. But I never would at home. For ...more
Sally906
Apr 16, 2014 Sally906 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This was the second book that I purchased before our trip to New Zealand later this year. We have been there on two previous occasions and love it, and always ken to pick up a few tips about places to visit that we may not have been before. To me the title implied that Alexander Elder was not going to follow the flock, he was going to do things differently. Not so…his idea of being different was to use home stay accommodation rather than back packing, caravanning or motels. STRAYING FROM THE ...more
Holly Anderson
Nov 09, 2012 Holly Anderson rated it did not like it
I was looking forward to reading this book as I love New Zealand and am about to embark on a travelling adventure there and so was hoping to pick up a few tips etc...
... Unfortunately, the author was too absorbed by the materialistic aspects of his trip for my liking, which made the book a tad boring!
The author is very happy to describe the wines he drinks in detail... but with some of the epic views he almost glosses over how awesome they are... If he wishes to improve as a writer he needs to
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Caro
Jan 13, 2011 Caro rated it liked it
This is a real oddity: Elder chronicles his travels through both islands, and when I say chronicles, I mean that every vibration of his cell phone is recorded. He's easily irritated and carefully lists every slight and every instance of less than stellar service at a restaurant or a B&B (and there are many). He's obviously a gregarious man who makes friends wherever he goes (though I did wonder about the several times when he invites a tour operator or B&B owner to dinner or drinks and ...more
Cutterid
Mar 21, 2008 Cutterid rated it liked it
A travel book, but more like a travelogue. Alexander Elder chronicles his 2-month adventure in New Zealand, detailing the wonderful and not-so-wonderful people he meets, the scenery, the wildlife, and the national spirit he encounters. I read this before I planned my own trip to New Zealand. It did give me some ideas about how to travel and what to expect, but it wasn't as great a help to me as I had hoped. My trip was only going to last 2 weeks, so I didn't have the time to hang around in one ...more
Alisa
Sep 09, 2013 Alisa rated it did not like it
The first problem is evident from the author bio: "Dr. Alexander Elder is...a practicing psychiatrist." No self-respecting physician would, in a travelogue, tout his degree. But Dr. Elder is more than a bit of a blowhard so it fits his personality. I felt, ultimately, that I learned much more about him (the success of his previous books on Wall St. trading, his views on facial hair, his fondness for cigars, and his successful lawsuit when his daughter came home from a service trip with a finger ...more
Kelly Lynn Thomas
Jul 27, 2013 Kelly Lynn Thomas rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel, mfa-books
This is more a travel diary than anything else. I don't have a problem with that in and of itself (I do enjoy nature journals), but the author spends as much nitpicking his experiences at the places he stays as on his actual traveling. I didn't feel like I was in New Zealand. For example, in an early-ish chapter, the author goes on a glacier hike, but hardly describes what it feels like to walk on a glacier. Instead, he recounts the things his guide says; things I really don't give two shakes ...more
Cyndi
Mar 22, 2016 Cyndi rated it did not like it
I only made it through about a third of this book, so perhaps I shouldn't review it, but...


In my opinion, the best travel writing is a combination of learning about a person (and therefore something about the human condition) and learning about a location. So strictly speaking, this book should be a success. We certainly learn a lot about both the author and New Zealand. But he repeats the same facts and ideas over and over and chooses things that people don't care about as more than a quick one
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Tammy
Apr 30, 2009 Tammy rated it really liked it
I read this book in preparation for my trip to New Zealand. It was a travelogue of the author's adventures on his trip there. I enjoyed it - even when the author was being opinionated! ;-) I learned quite a bit about the country, about the customs (as compared to American habits), the landscape, the Kiwi people, and a little about the history of NZ. In addition there are some travel advice chapters at the end which were useful. I felt that the book actually did prepare me for my trip - and it ...more
Trinity
Nov 03, 2011 Trinity rated it did not like it
Shelves: incomplete
I am planning a trip to New Zealand and was looking forward to some stories about "off the beaten path" adventures. I got about halfway through this book before I accepted that this book wasn't what I wanted it to be nor did it live up to the title. The only thing that seemed this traveler did that was "straying from the flock" was to stay in homestays instead of hotels. Not far enough off the beaten path for my taste. I will look elsewhere for a story that will feed my excitement for my trip.
Natalie
Jan 04, 2013 Natalie rated it did not like it
I was so interested in the subject matter of this book, since I will be going to a lot of the same places as this author.
However, he was such a pompous conceited and cynical traveler, that a lot of the fun was stripped away. I don't recall ever reading a memoir by such an unlike able fellow. I felt sorry for everyone he encountered. There were, however, some of the travel bits that may help on my visit.
Claire
Jul 20, 2008 Claire rated it it was amazing
What a pleasant read, following Alex's trip from the southern most point of NZ to the northern most tip. Especially pleasant as my grandfather came from NZ, so interesting read. It seems the people from NZ are very nice, laid back, polite... And there is a lot to do. Would love to read his other two books about trading: Trading for a living and Come into my trading room, then maybe would be able to travel as well instead of just reading about it!
Nathan Marshall
Jan 11, 2016 Nathan Marshall rated it it was ok
This is a book with a great subject (New Zealand) and a terrible person as the author (Dr. Elder). He started out as merely a bit of a blowhard, but over the course of the book he progressed to downright odious. He was unlikeable in the extreme. Since I was interested in his travels through NZ, it kept me reading but hoping he would have unpleasant things happen to him.
Isis
Dec 10, 2008 Isis rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir, travel
Travelogue of New Zealand. Repetitive, smug, occasionally interesting. I really didn't need to know every detail of what he had for breakfast and how he called two places but decided not to go to either of them. But hey, I needed something to read on the 12 hour flight to NZ.
Donna Braff
May 11, 2013 Donna Braff rated it it was amazing
Great book and well written!!! I love books that are based on a person's adventures/experiences. I found myself living vicariously through the author, and looking forward to the day I can visit New Zealand. I highly recommend this book!
Rachel
May 19, 2010 Rachel rated it liked it
Travel with Alexander Elder from the bottom of South Island to the top of the North. Far from transformative, but informative.
Emma
Feb 10, 2012 Emma rated it did not like it
Shelves: travel
Some interesting facts scattered throughout a very boring travel log. Did not enjoy the read at all and could not relate to the author very much.
Sarah Arpin
Sarah Arpin rated it did not like it
Aug 18, 2015
Natalia
Natalia rated it it was ok
Jul 07, 2014
Luis
Luis rated it did not like it
Feb 20, 2012
Bethany
Bethany rated it liked it
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Colleen
Colleen rated it really liked it
Mar 15, 2012
Julie
Julie rated it it was ok
Oct 26, 2008
Laura Vae Vae
Laura Vae Vae rated it it was amazing
Oct 03, 2013
Leslie
Leslie rated it it was ok
Jul 02, 2015
John Kershner
John Kershner rated it liked it
Oct 22, 2011
Taylor
Taylor rated it really liked it
Feb 25, 2012
Lindsay
Lindsay rated it it was ok
Jul 18, 2013
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Dr. Alexander Elder is a professional trader based in New York City. He is the author of a dozen books, including Come into My Trading Room (Barron's 2002 Book of the Year) and Trading for a Living, considered modern classics among traders.

Dr. Elder was born in Leningrad and grew up in Estonia, where he entered medical school at the age of 16. At 23, while working as a ship's doctor, he jumped a S
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