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An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  8,800 ratings  ·  591 reviews
The companion guide to the hysterical television show of the same name, in which Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant force their arrestingly simple pal Karl Pilkington on a global journey

"He'd have been happier in medieval times in a village where you didn't travel beyond the local community."  —Stephen Merchant

A cult celebrity due to his role in The Ricky Gervais Show, t
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published January 19th 2011 by Canongate UK (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  8,800 ratings  ·  591 reviews

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Sep 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Lessons to be found reading about Karl Pilkington's journey to the Seven Wonders -- otherwise known as the folksy wisdom of a round-headed Manc twit:

#1. Ricky Gervais is a serious asshole. #2. Stephen Merchant will never be happy in his friendships. #3. Round heads were meant to be capped by a Fez. #4. Michael Palin is a much better celebrity to follow around the world. #5. In Cairo no one "walks like an Egyptian" because they're all driving. #6. Every city that's ever been influenced by England
Rebecca McNutt
There were several portions of this book that I really didn't find particularly humorous, but it's still a comedic book with a lot of travel imagery, the author's experience with different cultures, climates and customs, and a lot of stuff that really makes it memorable.
Alisa Kester
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
First of all: Karl Pilkington is not an idiot. He's one of the more intelligent men alive today, I think.

Second of all, this was an odd book. If you haven't watched the tv series (and what is WRONG with you if you haven't!) I'm not sure this book would interest you. It's pretty skimpy on content, mainly serving to remind you of what you saw on the show. But if you have watched the series, there's not a lot of new content for you. A lot of it is word-for-word what Karl says on the show. There ar
Sep 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Karl Pilkington has, over the past four or so years, become one of my favorite human beings. He is an unlikely hero to myself and so many others. I began listening to him on the podcasts that he appears on with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and I soon found a plethora of radio shows he appears on during the early to mid 2000s with the same two people.

He has since written a number of books, and appeared on television shows such as the one this book is based on. His writing style is excellen
Mar 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Read this with the mindset of a blog. The writing is not literature. The jokes get stale.
But, it's readable, and heaven knows, there's no boring travel going on there.

Karl's cynical, earthy perspective of travel, foreign countries, and the wonders of the world is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. Likely they'll be bored with the whining in a chapter or two. Karl is the giant crack in the rose colored lenses of armchair travel.

But, it's refreshing in its own weird way.

Why? Because he says w
Sohna Ravindran
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
It started off really good- funny and Karl's opinions were so odd that they were quite interesting to read. And, then, after the second location, it just seemed to go downhill. The jokes got stale and he got more and more whiney & annoying. The only thing he was bothered about was the toilet. I get it; it's hard getting used to it in strange places especially when they aren't very clean but I do not want to hear about it on every page!

I haven't seen the TV series, which is supposed to be brillia
Kim (Wistfulskimmies Book Reviews)
Absolutely bloody hilarious. Loved it!!
Chris Greensmith
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
"One of my wisdom teeth is playing up. My dentist said it is known to happen with some people when they’re stressed. My teeth seem to know I’m stressed before I do. Maybe that’s why they’re called wisdom teeth."
Campbell Mcaulay
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
An innocent abroad,

So I watched bits of a couple of episodes of the An Idiot Abroad TV series but never really enjoyed it. I couldn't quite work out if Karl Pilkington really was as dopily parochial as he seemed or if it was put on, either way the series seemed exploitative and designed to make its viewers cringe.

I bought the book (in Kindle format) because:
a. it was on offer,
b. there was at least a little honest entertainment value to the TV series, and
c. because I wondered whether the book mig
Jun 16, 2020 marked it as abandoned-ship
Sorry, but I need to be able to see the facial expressions and hear the voices. I just cannot connect otherwise.
Stephen Clynes
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
An Idiot Abroad is a tie-in with a popular television programme of the same name. I have NOT seen this TV show, so I read this book with open eyes. But my eyes became tired and I found the writing style to be newspaper column-like, bright but lacking depth. Karl is very much the bloke-in-the-pub who offers his narrow-minded opinions to anyone who will listen.

Karl’s commentary on the Seven Wonders of the World and the countries they are in, is amusing in the same way as drunks can be funny in a
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, isn't this interesting...I hated his "Happyslapped', but rather liked this, and laughed intermittently all the way through...although if I gave it four stars it'd be more out of fellow-feeling than admiration of content.

I trust K.P. is paid handsomely to be publicly humiliated, and is laughing all the way to the bank, because what this book (and even more so, the TV series) reveals is that Ricky Gervais is a deeply unpleasant human being, with a typically superior English middle-class atti
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Another travel book. Looks like a person who does not like to travel is being forced to travel by two of his friends, one being Ricky Gervais and the other Stephen Merchant. We shall see.

This book was OK. I was a little mad that a person who did not really like traveling was visiting many of the Wonders of the World, and didn't appear to enjoy himself despite visiting 4 or 5 different continents. This was part of the schtick to make the book and subsequent videos humorous and different than othe
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First thing's first- don't read this book if you've not seen An Idiot Abroad. If you pick this up expecting it to be a lighthearted take about global travel, you'd be very wrong! Karl Pilkington, the unwittingly popular idiot like genius (or genius like idiot) is forced around the world by the somewhat mean Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, where he's forced to endure the cheapest, most difficult and unpleasant aspects of the places he's dropped off at. Karl's frank humour is totally his own- ...more
Benjamin Stahl
Well first and foremost, I absolute love the show, and I think Karl Pilkington is one of the funniest guys in the world. While I have great respect for almost all of Gervais's work - (The Office, Extras, Cemetery Junction, Life's Too Short, Ghost Town and his stand-up shows are all exceptional) - I have found myself disliking the man more and more of recent. It's hard to be a fan of Gervais and still be religious because man does he hate those kinds of people. But Pilkington hasn't any of the ar ...more
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: travellers
Shelves: british, travel, gift
I had started this book during my trip to Sweden. It is ideal for keeping you company while travelling, not only for the obvious reason that it is a travel diary, but because it is very easy to read and very amusing.
I am a bit like Karl: grumpy, not so interested in immersing myself completely in a different culture, and certainly not the adventurous type. I would like to remain in my comfort zone during my travels just like him. He does sound like an average Briton but he's not a total idiot; h
Nick Davies
Jul 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I read this too soon after the other Karl Pilkington travel book that I read a few months ago. This was essentially the same thing - occasionally amusing, kinda nice in a comforting gentle English humour manner, slightly educational travel writing. The uncomfortable sense that Ricky Gervais was being a nasty tit to his friend was less significant in this book than I remember the other one being, and I also didn't get quite the same sense that Karl Pilkington is partly a character who exaggerates ...more
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: october-2016
I purchased this for my boyfriend and ended up reading it myself before he even had a chance to. I was intrigued, and couldn't resist just sneaking a peek at the format. Before I knew it, I had read the first half, and was rather amused. It is a very easy - and really rather interesting - read, in which Pilkington takes us around the seven Wonders of the World. He isn't very politically correct, but if you're familiar with the author at all in his acting and/or podcast guises, you'll be expectin ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Loved the series. Loved the book. Karl is a character all his own. I would love to meet him in person just to hear him talk about life, or rather mins about it. I can moan just as good as him :-)
Husna Musa
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I didn't know who is Karl Pilkington and I didn't watch any of the show. When I first took the book, I didn't even know that it had something to do with filming.

This travel diary is a whole new type of travelogue to me.

On the blurb, it says something like a bloke who actually hate to travel had been sent to the seven wonders, not knowing what is waiting for him in each places ー this, sounded fun and an adventurous reading to me.

At first, I had some issues with Pilkington's thoughts and reactions
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you haven't watched 'An Idiot Abroad', what are you doing with your life? This is a great companion book to the TV show, but it could also be enjoyed as a hilarious travel journal.

If your not laughing at this book, then you are either dead or have no sense of humour. Karl Pilkington has successfully put me off going to see any of the World Wonders mentioned in this book, though to be fair, with the exception of the Pyramids,wasn't fussed about visiting them anyways.

Filled with pictures a
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book follows the adventures or misadventures of "an idiot abroad."
Karl Pilkington is sent abroad by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant on a quest to visit the seven wonders.
We see our intrepid explorer visit Egypt, Brazil, India, Mexico, China, Jordan and Peru.
He moans his way through each place but it's so hilarious, his humour is so dry and he is trying to be as miserable as possible though fair play he does join in with basically all that's asked of him.
The telephone conversations betwee
Hannah Polley
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I never watched the TV series of this but my partner loved it so I was quite looking forward to this book.

It was really funny and probably the best travel type book I have read for keeping me entertained!

I'm afraid it has not really made me want to go and visit any of the wonders of the world. Now I really want to see the TV show.

I definitely felt for Karl with some of the things the TV show made him do!
I picked up this book because I am a fan of the show and the book didn't disappoint. I found myself laughing at many parts of the book especially those that had been left out of the TV show. But also the written descriptions of many of my favourite parts of the show. I ultimately gave it 4 stars because some of the narrated parts which were the same as those from the show became a bit boring, maybe because I have watched the show so many times!
Overall, a fun read which I would recommend to any
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just can't get enough of Karl. Thoroughly entertaining!
Caroline Barker
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caroline by: Carol
This book goes hand-in-hand with the first TV series, 'An Idiot Abroad'. It is a comedic travel documentary about Karl Pilkington being sent to the Seven Wonders of the World by his friends and comedians, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

The comical twist is that Karl has never showed much desire to travel and would probably much prefer to watch the Seven Wonders on TV at home whilst drinking a cup of tea and munching on a Hobnob! Therefore, some people refer to Karl as being 'narrow-minded'
Sam Quixote
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been a few years since I checked in with Karl. I used to love the Ricky Gervais show on XFM and even the podcasts/audiobooks that followed have been good (but not as good as the radio shows) and I loved the subsequent books "Happyslapped by a jellyfish" and "Karlology" and would recommend anyone who enjoyed "An Idiot Abroad" to check those out. So it was interesting to check back in with Karl after a break of years to see what he's been up to. Thankfully, he hasn't changed. At all.

The moani
James Cridland
Mar 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I do quite like a travelogue, but this one wasn't, to be honest, a particularly good read. Karl - by all accounts, a nice chap from those I know who've worked with him - seems to have cultivated this persona of a blunt and closed-minded Northerner, and this book is very much written in his style. It's rather repetitious; much is made of him eating his Monster Munch.

Telephone calls, presumably used in the television series, are transcripted throughout the book because as readers we can't clearly
Apr 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor
This book happened in conjunction with a television programme here in England. I haven't seen any episodes, but I imagine they would open up a new dimension to my reading as the characters involved would now be walking, talking around the world and on the screen.

What happened was: a couple of guys proposed sending a comedian who is genetically inappropriate for to see Seven Wonders. Along the way they sent him, usually blind, into various encounters which were bound to be unusual
Aug 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this is an easy and enjoyable read, it really is only for those who have seen the excellent TV series. As I read Karl's travel diary, I found myself reminded of each episode and probably laughed more at the memory than the book in my hands. There are a few insights into events not captured by the cameras but, essentially, this is a companion piece to the series. Pilkington's absurdly brilliant mind does translate well to the written form but there just isn't enough here to justify an entir ...more
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Karl Pilkington is a Sony Award-winning English radio producer, poet, podcaster, raconteur and author, best known for producing and co-presenting The Ricky Gervais Show on London radio station Xfm from 2001 to 2005 and later in the form of podcasts and a television show on HBO. In October 2006, Pilkington's first book The World of Karl Pilkington was published, featuring original ideas and drawing ...more

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“Everywhere we walked we got plenty of attention due to the camera and sound men. The locals love to get on camera. [...] I'd seen footage of Gandhi surrounded like this and always thought it was because he was very popular, but now I wonder if it was just because he had a camera crew with him.” 48 likes
“I always have a problem liking things that I'm told I should like. This has been the problem with most of the Wonders I have seen so far. The fact that this one is called the 'Great' Wall of China annoys me. I'll decide if it's great or not. It might end up being the 'All Right Wall of China' to me.” 48 likes
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