1000 hours

This weekend, we had a frustrating time at trying to use the Lonely Planet Guidebook to the Netherlands.

To be polite, it isn’t actually very good. And that’s kind of the thing we have discovered with Lonely Planet. Their books, because of the reputation that they have built up over the years, appear from the covers to be pretty neat. But, when one actually starts to apply them to one’s day-to-day travelling, one is likely to find them wanting.

Maybe this is because the once-family-run guidebook publisher has tried to expand too fast.

A little like Toyota.

Then, when one turns to the back cover, one discovers a certain ludicrousness to the number one “selling point” that the publishers are using. Namely that the guidebook brings together “more than 1000 hours” of research. Split, one might deduce, between the two “expert” authors.

True, 1000 hours does sound a pretty sexy number. But is it?

We decided to pull out our calculators and test this marketing hyperbole. 1000 hours is, in actual fact, no more than three months of research per researcher (conservatively assuming a 40-hour week).

That’s pretty poor for researching the entire country. But, of course, as I said, 1000 hours does sound pretty neat – and so few people are likely to question the statistic.

“1000 hours? Wow! It must be good.”

Marketing hyperbole. Perhaps a little like Toyota.


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