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Radio Shangri-La by Lisa Napoli - Excerpt

Radio Shangri-La by Lisa Napoli - Excerpt

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3.59

(53)
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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 beginning to open its doors to the modern world, Bhutan is a deeply spiritual place, devoted to environmental conservation and committed to the happiness of its people—in fact, Bhutan measures its success in Gross National Happiness rather than in GNP. In a country without a single traffic light, its citizens are believed to be among the most content in the world. To Lisa, it seemed to be a place that offered the opposite of her fast-paced life in the United States, where the noisy din of sound-bite news and cell phones dominate our days, and meaningful conversation is a rare commodity; where everyone is plugged in digitally, yet rarely connects with the people around them.

Thousands of miles away from everything and everyone she knows, Lisa creates a new community for herself. As she helps to start Bhutan’s first youth-oriented radio station, Kuzoo FM, she must come to terms with her conflicting feelings about the impact of the medium on a country that had been shielded from its effects. Immersing herself in Bhutan’s rapidly changing culture, Lisa realizes that her own perspective on life is changing as well—and that she is discovering the sense of purpose and joy that she has been yearning for.

In this smart, heartfelt, and beautifully written book, sure to please fans of transporting travel narratives and personal memoirs alike, Lisa Napoli discovers that the world is a beautiful and complicated place—and comes to appreciate her life for the adventure it is.

To read more about Radio Shangri-La or Lisa Napoli please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.
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 beginning to open its doors to the modern world, Bhutan is a deeply spiritual place, devoted to environmental conservation and committed to the happiness of its people—in fact, Bhutan measures its success in Gross National Happiness rather than in GNP. In a country without a single traffic light, its citizens are believed to be among the most content in the world. To Lisa, it seemed to be a place that offered the opposite of her fast-paced life in the United States, where the noisy din of sound-bite news and cell phones dominate our days, and meaningful conversation is a rare commodity; where everyone is plugged in digitally, yet rarely connects with the people around them.

Thousands of miles away from everything and everyone she knows, Lisa creates a new community for herself. As she helps to start Bhutan’s first youth-oriented radio station, Kuzoo FM, she must come to terms with her conflicting feelings about the impact of the medium on a country that had been shielded from its effects. Immersing herself in Bhutan’s rapidly changing culture, Lisa realizes that her own perspective on life is changing as well—and that she is discovering the sense of purpose and joy that she has been yearning for.

In this smart, heartfelt, and beautifully written book, sure to please fans of transporting travel narratives and personal memoirs alike, Lisa Napoli discovers that the world is a beautiful and complicated place—and comes to appreciate her life for the adventure it is.

To read more about Radio Shangri-La or Lisa Napoli please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com.

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Publish date: Feb 8, 2011
Added to Scribd: Jan 25, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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08/21/2013

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What I Learned in the Happiest Kingdom on Earth
RadioShangri-la
 

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bksgoddess reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I received this book from Read It Forward and have since passed it on to some friends who I think will enjoy the book. When Lisa Napoli gets the chance to visit Bhutan to help a fledgling radio station, she jumps at the chance to change her life & visit a country few get a chance to travel to.
The book is enjoyable & gives insight into Bhutan's "Gross National Happiness" program. Recommended.
astridnr reviewed this
Not what I had hoped for when I purchased this book in an airport book store. Written by a journalist as a travel memoir, Radio Shangri-La was missing something. I guess I had hoped to be swept away into a foreign land that I would want to someday visit. I wanted to meet enchanting individuals that would also fuel my interest in finding their couneterparts in real life one day. None of that happened.
zmagic69 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
A wonderful book about a little known country, told by a woman who got to see it from the beginning of its opening to the western world. Some changes were good some changes less so, but like anything there is good and bad, and if you have blinders on to promote an agenda, you miss half of what is really happening.
carolee888 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
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 third to three fourths of the population are Mahayana Buddists. She would be given room and board but no pay for her job of setting up and train the radio announcers for Kuzoo FM Radio, the country's only radio station. The irony was that she fleeing a complete overload of communciaton, TV, radio, and cell phones and yet she was undertaking this to bring Bhutan radio! She dived into a culture that takes life very slow, has very different customs and hot and spicy food. I enjoyed this books so much, I felt that I was right there with her in Bhutan, enjoying the gorgeous mountains, making friends with people who have a totally different life experience and to whom shopping was not the least bit important to them. I relaxed and enjoyed the trip into this far off world. Come along with her and enjoy this stay in Bhutan and learn what is important in life. I recommend this to anyone who has ever wanted to get away from the confusion and stress of today.
bookwoman247 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Lisa Napoli was a radio journalist in New York when she got the opportunity to go to the little-known Himalyan Kingdom of Bhutan, a place where the nation's success is not measured by the GDP, but by GNH...gross national happiness. Napoli volunteered to help Bhutan set up their first youth-oriented radio station, Kuzoo FM. In spite of the over-supply of travel sub-genre where a woman reaches middle-age and decides to travel to an exotic location on some kind of quest to find herself, to find meaning, to find love, or to find something else, I still enjoyed this book, which almost falls in the category.I especially enjoyed learning about little-known Bhutan, but I'm afraid the only thing I garnered from the book about happiness, in spite of the subtitle, is that ignorance is bliss, I suppose. The king had kept Bhutan isolated from the rest of the world, and the inahabitants seemesd to me to have a certain chldlike quality...a simplicity, a sense of wonder at the world that was slowly opening up for them, and a sort of patriarchal devotion to the king who seemed a father figurehead.I don't think that Napoli made clear what it is that she learned from Bhutan, except that a simpler life is less stressful and therefore happier.This was not the greatest book I've ever read, but I did enjoy it.
debnance_1 reviewed this
What's going on when a country bravely tosses the idea of measuring a society's worth in GNP and seizes upon attempting to measure it instead with Gross National Happiness? I've always been curious about Bhutan. Sadly, Napoli reveals in this book that the food in Bhutan is abysmal, but in every other way Napoli finds a small Eden, epitomized by the fact that Bhutan is a country where the king's phone number is actually published in the local phone book.(Side note: Just when I was feeling all gooey and lovey-dovey about Bhutan, I went to a family get-together last week and my nephew started telling me the sad story of a new fellow at his job who is a refugee from Bhutan, fleeing Bhutan because of persecution there for his religious beliefs. So you might wait a bit before you start packing....)
frisbeesage reviewed this
Rated 4/5
In Radio Shangri-La Lisa Napoli is struggling on the edges of depression, trying to find a way to reconcile herself with a life that isn't all she dreamed of. It all begins when she attends an experimental workshop on positive thinking. One day the instructor assigns the class homework, each night before you go to bed write down three good things that happened. As Lisa takes the assignment to heart her outlook on life and what she values begins to change. Thus when the friend of a friend leading trips into the mysterious land of Bhutan offers to help her get a position starting up Bhutan's first ever radio station she doesn't hesitate but dives in head first. All she knows about Bhutan is that it is widely considered the Happiest Kingdom on Earth and measures the Gross National Happiness of its citizens, but she is determined to find out if the people there are really all that happy and how to achieve that for herself.This was a very fun and light hearted look at the female midlife crisis. While Lisa works through some serious issues in the book you never doubt that she will come out shining in the end. The glimpse into the land of Bhutan is fascinating. The travel literature aspect of the book was phenomenal. I feel like I have actually visited the place myself and met the people. I love that she didn't try to sugar coat the situation in Bhutan or ignore the changes going on there, it made the book feel all the more authentic. I recommend this book as a great summer escape.
dk_phoenix_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Dissatisfied with her life as a radio journalist, Lisa Napoli takes a stranger at a party up on his random offer -- to visit Bhutan and lend some of her expertise to setting up the country's first youth-oriented radio station, KuzooFM. At the time, Bhutan was known as 'the happiest place on earth', measuring its success in GNH (Gross National Happiness) and limiting the influence of the outside world.Over time, this changed, and through Napoli's memoir we get to experience the shifting social structure as it happened: democracy, access to Western television stations, modern music, and a growing sense of materialism in a country that was previously focused on family and spirituality. There is one interesting thing to note: even with the changes, Bhutan has retained its $200-per-day tourist tax for visitors wanting to enter the country. The country may be more open, yes, but they still don't want the hoardes of unwashed Westerners traipsing through their sacred spaces.I'm glad I read the book to learn about Bhutan, which I previously knew very little about. However, you may have noticed that I haven't yet talked about Napoli and her time at the radio station. That's because I actually found that part of the narrative somewhat dull and self-indulgent. I'm very glad that Napoli was able to 'find herself' in the experience, and was able to discover her priorities in life, but unlike other 'travel memoir' style books I've read recently, there didn't seem to be a real point here.She wasn't there on a humanitarian mission, so the book wasn't written to create an awareness of social injustice. She didn't do anything particularly remarkable, so the book wasn't written to chronicle how she rose from nothing to conquer to world. There are moments of excitement and flashes of brilliance, but on the whole, I wasn't quite sure what the point of the book happened to be. On the whole, I was a little disappointed. The cover (of my ARC, anyway) is lovely, and the title is fantastic. I only wish I'd known the purpose of the book, rather than feeling like I was simply indulging a friend telling a bland travel story, and not really sure how to walk away without being rude...
toobusyreading reviewed this
Rated 3/5
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, Benjamin and Sebastian. Are Harris and Matt the same person? What about Benjamin and Sebastian? I hate flipping back to try to figure out who is who. To be expected with Bhutanese names, but could have easily been avoided with the American ones.The author is having a midlife crisis. She has chosen a career in modern media but seems to dislike almost everything about her chosen field. Something terrible happened to her when she was young, and it has understandably affected her later decisions, but too much of the book just seems like whining and I couldn't connect to her feelings. She hated the food in Bhutan and the stray dogs annoyed her, as though it were the dogs' fault they were strays, and couldn't seem to let either of those things go.I did love reading about some of the Bhutanese people, the irrepressible Ngawang and her impressions of the United States, the Rinpoche who turned out to be not so nice. The author had advantages and accomplishments greater than the people she was helping, but it sometimes came across as her being a bit smug although I'm sure it wasn't meant that way. I liked this book and am glad I read it but didn't love it – the writing just didn't pull me in.I was given a copy of this book by the publisher, for which I am grateful.
whitreidtan reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Most people in the US would probably not have any clue where Bhutan was if you asked them. Heck, if you didn't mention that it was a country, they might not have any clue at all what you were talking about. So for the record, Bhutan is a small Asian country on the eastern end of the Himalayas, bordered by India and China. It is remote and difficult to get to, and that's just if you can afford to pay for the $200 a day tourist tax. It is probably best known for the fact that instead of Gross National Product, Bhutan measures Gross National Happiness. It is also occasionally known for the fact that for many years it did not have television (it does now). Despite these charming (from a Western perspective) eccentricities, it is still a largely unknown country to the average American. But for those of us with a taste for the off the beaten path, it is a place that holds immense appeal. And while I doubt I'll ever manage to get to Bhutan myself, reading about it is the next best thing.Lisa Napoli was tired of her job at a public radio station in LA, burnt out aand frustrated by technology and its hold over our lives, when she met a man at a party who would change the course of her life forever. Through Sebastian, Napoli was offered an advisory position helping with Bhutan's new, emerging radio station Kuzoo FM. Despite her growing malaise with her job in the US, Napoli embraces this fantastic opportunity, takes a leave of absence from her job, and leaves for the Kingdom of Bhutan just as the country is poised on the edge of enormous changes. Transitioning from a monarchy to a democracy and from a media void to a media rich environment, Bhutan's age old traditions and feel were evolving.Napoli captures a wonderful, sheltered land and what it feels like to be a visitor there but she doesn't shy away from the harder truths the Bhutanese are facing as well, including the Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, the pull of American music and television, and the urbanization of the young. This is not just a travelogue about the sights and sounds of a foreign place. Napoli offers up slices of Bhutanese history, delves into the changing political scene, details the importance of Buddhism in daily life, and examines the changing customs that govern life in Thimpu.But what makes this travelogue/memoir so full is that Napoli shares as much about herself on this journey as she does about the people and places in which she immerses herself. When she sets off on her first trip to Bhutan, she is clearly searching for something within herself. What this turns out to be is a peace with who she is and what she is doing with her life. She learns to be completely comfortable in her own skin and it shows in the confidence in her writing.Her descriptions of Bhutan are vivid and enticing. The people she meets are warm and friendly. Her own search for self is not narcissistic and annoying but matter of fact and approachable. She is clearly changed by her trips to Bhutan and the way she's described it all makes the reader want to go and grow and learn and be welcomed with open arms too. If it's possible to fall in love with a place and a people through a book, then this is the book to make it happen. People who love travelogues will rejoice in this story. Readers who enjoy going along on a spiritual striving and seeing a life transformed will thrill to this read. It is rich and well-written and thoroughly enjoyable.

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