Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Upgrade: A Cautionary Tale of a Life Without Reservations ” as Want to Read:
The Upgrade: A Cautionary Tale of a Life Without Reservations
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Upgrade: A Cautionary Tale of a Life Without Reservations

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  408 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Paperback. Pub Date: 2011. Pages: 304 in Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicholson. Bored oke and struggling to survive in one of the most expensive cities on earth. Paul Carr comes to of the surprising realisation that it would actually be cheaper to live in a hotel in Manhattan than in his one-bedroom London flat. Inspired by that possibility. he decides to sell most of his poss ...more
Paperback, UK Edition, 294 pages
Published 2011 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson
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 The Upgrade, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Upgrade

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  408 ratings  ·  30 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Upgrade: A Cautionary Tale of a Life Without Reservations
Aug 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel
A tedious, bragging, self-indulgent book. Can't believe I actually finished it, but only because I hate not finishing books. ...more
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
I really didn't find the author as amusing as he finds himself. ...more
Fuzzball Baggins
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Extremely sexist but surprisingly entertaining, and the author admits to being 'occasionally misogynistic' so at least he's aware of his sexism. ...more
Allan Beaufour
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
It's less a book about how he manages to live in hotels year-round, and more a tale of his drunken adventures. It kept me entertained though :) It gets a bit more serious in the end of the book. ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-read
Another guy who drinks too much and talks a lot about it. Mildly entertaining, but honestly I was more interested in a bunch of cool hotel info than more crap about drinking with little girls.
Oct 07, 2013 rated it liked it
3.5 stars - I was intrigued by this book as I love to read about hotel and restaurant experiences and thought Paul Carr's saga of giving up his London apartment to live in hotels for a year (citing would actually be cheaper) would be interesting. For the most part it was when he related his experiences but the constant drinking and carousing got a little tiresome and I can't imagine how he came out of it alive.

All in all it was a quick and fun read and he's actually a fairly good writer. Now I'm
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The book was OK but the author, not so much. A bored, 20-something who didn't want to grow up so he found a way to take a seriously extended vacation. He's disdainful of people in general, and women especially, when he doesn't have much to show for himself. You have to wonder how much of the book is actually true and how much is made up (probably a lot). It's hard for me to DNF a book and I kept thinking he would redeem himself in the end so I finished it; but sadly, this one wasn't worth the ti ...more
Marlett Balmer
Jan 10, 2021 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the book, it was a funny, light yet entertaining read with a few good laughs along the way. Mr Carr reminded me a little of P J O'Rourke and off course a light version of Hunter S. Thomson. Interesting window on the dawn of the social media age - imagine a PR person unaware of Twitter?! Will look out for more of his work. ...more
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Easy read, can see it being made into a film.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
* Tips and tricks that may net lower hotel prices.

* Obnoxious protagonist.
Ankur Banerjee
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Paul Carr was a fuckup. He left a career as a journalist with The Guardian to start his own multimillion dollar publishing company, abandoned it to launch a web startup under the delusion of becoming “the next Mark Zuckerberg”, got arrested and failed in many relationships because of an alcohol problem. With mounting bills and his life going off the rails, Carr started a journey that has made him a legend in tech journalism.

The Upgrade: A Cautionary Tale of Life Without Reservations is Paul Carr
Simon Howard
Jun 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
The Upgrade is the follow up to Paul Carr’s Bringing Nothing to the Party, compared to which I found it to be a hard slog. The book essentially continues Carr’s autobiographical tale, picking up where the previous volume left off. Carr reaches the realisation that rental prices in London are exceptionally high, and that he could likely live in hotels for less. And so, he commits himself to a nomadic lifestyle in which he travels the world living in hotels. This book is advertised as his guide to ...more
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I might be slightly partial to the author, since I found his month-long blog series about staying in a different hotel in Las Vegas every day to be quite fascinating and brutally funny. I was expecting a lot of the same out of this book, to be honest, just...longer, and that's indeed what I got, though with much more depth and a surprisingly moving turn in the last quarter or so of the book.

The whole idea of living exclusively in hotels and relinquishing nearly all material possessions seems imp
Sep 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, travelogue, memoir
Another quick read. This is a book I picked up because it was in the same section as No Touch Monkey!: And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late (which I didn't just put on hold). I thought I would like a story about living in luxury hotels after the backpacker book.

That's not exactly what this book was, though. I mean, there was that. There was about how to get free stuff if you're a rich, white, middle-class English guy with a law degree. But if, partway through the book, you start to get unc
Matthew Bradley
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
I'm not sure what I expected from this book. I think I expected inspiration and perhaps some perspective on myself, both of which I got. The book was a strong reminder to optimize life for happiness, and perhaps even ridiculousness, with a few hints and tips as to how to get a better hotel rate, some honest, some not.

The author came across as candid -- despite the book being so replete with confessions of lying, or "blagging" -- for which I am grateful. This level of candor is rare, especially w
Amy Landino
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was suggested to me by a good friend and I am so glad I picked it up. Paul gives you a window into his life of the beginning years of his nomad-living experience. Cover-to-cover wit keeps you hooked. The whole story is hilarious, informative, TMI, and absolutely brilliant. It's of course entertaining to see what he is capable of doing to keep things interesting (especially with an alcohol problem) but I learned so much about traveling smart... this book will pay for itself with the mon ...more
Diane Patterson
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is the terrible (and hilarious) story of a terrible (and hilarious) man, his misadventures, and his growing realization of what's causing many of these adventures. I came across this book while reading about travel points, and I thought this was a book about travel hacking. It is...kind of (who knew the secret to finding affordable housing in SF?), but more than that it's the story of a guy's admission of alcoholism. And there is SO MUCH drinking in this book that I began to feel nauseated ...more
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved Bringing Nothing to the Party, and loved this book as well. It is both the style of writing and the topics that I like in these books. Even though this is the last book I started reading, it is also the first I finished in a long time.

I am happy that Paul will release a third book Bringing Something to the Party (hopefully soon)
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Paul Carr has a ridiculous plan to abandon his pricy digs in London and save money by living as an expatriate in hotels around the world. A plan so just might work.

The story is less about the mechanics of day to day living in hotels and more about how Paul's friends enable him in his bad habits and eventually save him from himself.
Marc Brandeberry
Aug 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Whatever the male version of Chick Lit is, this is it. A good casual summer read, that about 2/3rd of the way takes a twist I did not expect. The various anecdotes were interesting and funny to me, although I think it could have been edited down a smidge.
Bryan Allison
Mar 26, 2013 rated it liked it
This book started out with promise, but devolved into self-important navel gazing. It's hard to say what would happen if I met Paul Carr in person, but I'm leaning toward punching him in the back of the head. ...more
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Starts off really strong. Picked it up to just read a few pages, and before I knew it, I was half-way done. But eventually, reading about him blacking out and waking up in unfortunate scenarios starts to get sad and a tad boring. Glad he figured that out for himself.
Emily Klinkhammer
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
The book was humorous and written in such a way to capture my attention fully. However, the book seemed to be more about Paul's fantastical drunken escapades than his experience living and traveling around the world, which I found disappointing. ...more
Stefan Vds
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A great read. Well written. Interesting story. The fact it's all fact, no fiction makes it the great story it is. ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's not very deep book and yet it's fascinating enough to swallow in one evening. A little bit of "4-hour work week" (or maybe "Up in the Air"), a little bit of Tucker Max's books. ...more
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Entertaining diary about a man who drinks too much, doesn't know what he wants in life, yet manages to somehow hold on and find himself. ...more
Mike Ward
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blogged
enjoyable if a bit self absorbed - full review here
Rob Shoesmith
Jul 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Not a bad read. Could be better.
Sep 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Entertaining, it was a nice book to read on holiday.
It reminded me of 'Twitchhiker' by Paul Smith, so if you enjoyed that book then you should give this a read.
Aug 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Not amazing but a fun read that made me want to travel (though not Carr style). If you liked The Hangover you'll probably enjoy this. ...more
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Truant: Notes from the Slippery Slope
  • Rabbit, Run
  • The Portable Veblen
  • The Freedom Manifesto
  • Black Flag Down: Counter-extremism, defeating ISIS and winning the battle of ideas
  • Sorry I Missed You
  • Lovely War
  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
  • Home Boy
  • Les Disparus du Clairdelune (La Passe-Miroir, #2)
  • No Time for Goodbye (No Time For Goodbye, #1)
  • Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey
  • Adultery
  • Prozac Nation
  • The Firm
  • Lucky
  • Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life
  • I've Been Thinking . . .Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life
See similar books…
Author of The Upgrade, Bringing Nothing To The Party, Sober Is My New Drunk.

Related Articles

Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
16 likes · 1 comments