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Books: Tourist Guides, Tour Managers & Heritage Interpreters
Reviews by B. Rabotic About the Author

All you can do in a book is set out some principles, provide a few examples, and incorporate a checklist.
After that, it's up to the tour manager.'
R. Reilly

 

Kathleen Lingle Pond:
The Professional Guide - Dynamics of Tour Guiding
Wiley, 1992
*****
The book gives an excellently written text, explaining all aspects of the tour guiding profession and its position in the field of the modern tourism industry. It is well structured, and with its systematic approach to the subject theme it offers an inside and reliable glimpse into the profession and lets you in on all of its secrets. Apart from being of practical value, this book represents one of the most relevant titles of professional tourism literature. It spells out various important topics relating to tourism as a whole (but always bearing in mind the guide's role and mission in the wider professional environment), offering a variety of comprehensible definitions and classifications. Thank to this book, one can easily learn a lot about the tourism industry from the perspective of tour guiding. The best and for any guide most useful part of the text is about presentation, interpretation and communication skills of professional tour guides - which have recently been defined as the 'Art of Guiding'. The author used for her work very relevant and diverse bibliography without avoiding some, more or less, strictly scientific researches in the tourism field (such as the Cohen's classification of the modern guide's role). In any event, the content of the book represents a successful attempt to apply 'all-in' approach to the subject of tour guiding, for the first time ever. It is for this that 'The Professional Guide' has to be highly appreciated by tourism professionals and people in the know of the subject. As a former tourism educator I can only warmly recommend this title to students of tourism, travel and hospitality. If you have any interest in tour guiding wherever you are, you should get this book as soon as possible. Simply, it is 'a must' for any tour guide or tour manager... 'The Professional Guide' is a unique textbook and, as such, an inspiring source of information, ideas, conceptions and practical suggestions.
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Douglas M. Knudson et al:

Interpretation of Cultural and Natural Resources

Venture Pub; 2nd edition (2003)

By its volume almost an encyclopedia, by its nature a comprehensive textbook, 'Interpretation of Cultural and Natural Resources' will guide you through all aspects of the subject theme. The authors decided to accomplish a tremendously delicate task: to educate their readers on various facets of interpretation and inspire them to keep up thinking of their own activity in the growing field of interpretation. And they realized that hard task as excellent interpreters - step by step, starting from basic but varied definitions through principles and forms of interpretations to the problems of interpretation management. The best quality of the book is the way in which the authors write - everything is explained here in a clear, economic, easy readable and instructive way. All sections and chapters follow logically and smoothly. Having taken an 'all-in' approach to their theme, the authors presented theoretical - mainly sociological and psychological - and practical aspects of interpretation. There is probably any important name from the field that has not be mentioned, cited or commented in the book. Quite a few figures serve as an additional 'prop' the authors used to help us understand systems, structures and connections. Examples of practices given in the book relate to the United States, but the authors acknowledged their emphasis on the environment they knew best. Besides, all examples are well described and explained, often illustrated by photographs, so that everyone can understand the 'message'. From this point of view, the book serves as an excellent tool for self-education of novices as well as for improvement of practice in case of more experienced interpreters. And, finally, though the book is written by the three distinctive authors, there are no visible discrepancies, controversial comments or even differences in style of writing. The whole text, both its structure and its style, is appropriately leveled as much as possible, indicating a successful team work. When it comes to interpretation, start your exploration of the subject from this unique book. For most of us, this single book is more than enough if we want to understand what interpretation is and how can it be performed effectively. Keep it close to you at all times, you'll find yourself needing to consult it pretty often! Do not hesitate much, order it right now! You are just a click away from your best investment in your career as Interpreter!
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Larry Beck, Ted T. Cable
Interpretation for the 21st Century: Fifteen Guiding Principles for Interpreting Nature and Culture, (Second Edition)
Sagamore Publishing, 2002

*****
The authors of this book offered me exactly what I have expected: a concise and comprehensive insight into the Art of interpretation. They have used for their starting point some ‘classics’ on this subject, such as Mills or Tilden (they did it in a wise and respectable way), and then they developed a much wider and contemporary context to display all aspects of interpretation - its meaning, principles, tools and practice. Not only have they covered all relevant facets of their theme, but they also got it across in a clear, interesting and instructive way. Naturally, one could have expected that explanations regarding ‘interpretation’ would have been interpreted well. In the case of this book such expectations have completely been met. Simply, Beck and Cable did a great job. As a reader you will enjoy their accounts of what interpretation is or is not and how can it be effectively practiced in both natural and cultural environments. A great deal of useful tips for interpreters, meaningful quotations, as well as some helpful notes printed in separate ‘boxes’ give this book an additional flavor of seriously planned, thoroughly studied and fully executed task by the authors. This book may undoubtedly serve as an excellent tool for tour guides to improve their interpretation capabilities and their art of story telling and to give their audience really great tours! Will this book become a ‘new Bible’ in the field of interpretation?
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John Pastorelli:
Enriching the Experience - An Interpretative Approach to Tour Guiding
Hospitality Press, 2003
*****
This is a book that any tour guides should carefully read and then again re-read. John Pastorelli offers an accessible and comprehensible book aimed at providing guides and tour directors with all the skills to create travel experiences for their customers. The book is brimming with various concepts, techniques, case studies and learning tools. Many of us who have been working in this field for more than 20-25 years (i.e. having a really extensive experience) can now see that our more or less standard interpretation of sights and usual communication with customers need desperately to be improved. The book explains how this can be done in the most effective way. Knowing how to enrich the travel experience of our customers, we'll enrich our own professional experience and satisfaction as well.
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Michael Noam:
The Guide for Guides (A Tour Guide Manual)
Noam Nofim,
Jerusalem 1999
*****
This is a collection of brief instructions on how to successfully perform the tour guide's role, authored by the experienced Israeli fellow-guide, M. Noam. He tried to answer various questions in the range of what tourists usually expect from an organized tour to how a thematic tour should be guided. There are plenty of useful and very practical advices regarding the guiding techniques, human relations in the field of tour guiding and conducting, cultural differences between the host and the guest, tour itinerary construction and promotion. When reading this book you will notice that it is written by a professional though some comments you come across here and there are locally oriented and inspired by guiding practice in Israel. However, I would not agree with another review of the book which criticizes the ‘idealistic’ approach of M. Noam. Quite the contrary: everything inside the manual is what professional tour guides should be and what many of them really are. My criticism of this text goes to its unbalanced depth of information – something is fairly explained while other also important things are hardly underlined. For a beginner in the guiding profession this could cause perplexity and confusion. On the other hand, the book seems to be of special interest for experienced guides who are ready to check out their own art of guiding, compare it to what other colleagues do or think it is appropriate to do in some cases and adjust their professional performance according to
undoubtedly high standards that this manual suggests.   
Note: The book can be purchased on-line only at Israelbooks.com
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Katrine Prince:
The Art of Guiding
Frontline Tourism Training Ltd, 1997
*****
Katrine Prince, who was London Tourist Board's Director of Studies, authored this tiny booklet of hardly 80 pages (including frequent but charming illustrations by Jessie Tattersall). For most of us, usually accustomed to long, long narration, this concise reference text serves as an amazing example how you can explain the most complicated 'secrets' of anything without the veritable inundation of words (also important for guides!). The basic rules of tour guiding, the very essence of the guide's presentation (such as the voice control, eye contact with the guided or pointing out during delivery of commentary) are briefly explained along with a whole list of Do's and Don'ts of the guide's job.
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Alison L. Grinder, E. Sue McCoy:
The Good Guide: A Sourcebook for Interpreters, Docents, and Tour Guides
Ironwood Pr, 1985
*****
Although presumably somewhat outdated, 'The Good Guide' (published in 1985) remains a useful source of ideas and suggestions especially for museum docents and interpreters, as well as (to a much lesser extent) for Tourist Guides. The text is focused mainly on problems of the interpretation of museum exhibits to children and school groups. This is why the authors point out various concepts of learning, mostly those relating to very young museum visitors. Consequently, they suggest a few corresponding techniques of interpretation suitable for such an audience. The best part of this 'sourcebook' gives us pretty clear and usable explanations of various interpretative techniques such as Lecture-Discussion, Inquiry-Discussion and Guided Discovery including their comparative advantages. While these techniques might be applicable to the case of museum interpretation, they can hardly be used in the much more diversified field of general Tour Guiding. The last chapter is focused on communication skills - both verbal and non-verbal. Though a few observations given here sound instructive, we must bear in mind that the text was written 20 years ago. In the meantime, a lot of titles have been published on the same topic; both the overall philosophy of interpretation and communication techniques have greatly been improved.
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James Borg
Persuasion, The Art of Influencing People
Prentice Hall/Business
*****
This is a practical, readable and most of all tremendously interesting book from the field of communication skills and inter-personal relationships. Though it is written for general public and intended to facilitate our professional and personal face-to-face relationships, it can be extremely helpful for `business people' and all those dealing with other individuals or groups, such as tourist guides and interpreters. In the latter case, they will find the book instructive on how to carry out presentations and manage their groups more effectively. The book describes various skills of controlling the audience's attention, among other topics. You can learn how to recognize (in)visible signs of a breakdown of attention of your audience, to `read' the body language of people in your tour groups, and to generally win more attention while guiding. You'll find here how to pick up signals as to how you are coming across, retrieve the situation if somebody is resistant, choose the right words to get results in any situation, and more. The text of this book is written in a charming way with a lot of examples from everyday life, given in special 'boxes'. Each chapter is followed by a small test, so the reader can check out his understanding of the subject. Even though you might think of yourself as a persuasive professional, there is always enough space for further improvements. James Borg's book is here to help you in that direction, and not only in your professional milieu. This review refers to the paperback edition, published in October 2004.

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The Princeton Language Institute, Lenny Laskowski
10 Days to More Confident Public Speaking

Warner Books, 2001
*****
This is one of those helpful books that make us better both at work and at home. Although focused primarily on (professional) public speaking abilities it may also help us communicate more confidently and therefore more efficiently with our business partners and colleagues, guests on private parties, museum visitors, and tourist group members. The book is well structured, excellently written, easy readable - even for non-native English speakers! - and brimming with interesting observations, suggestions and instructions. You won't need, of course, 10 days to read the book. Quite the contrary: you'll read it within one day only, because it's short and interesting. Its best part, however, relates to its 'Day 5': 'Body Language and Voice' section is given in a very instructive way, so you can get its points immediately and implement the read directly. I would say that '10 Days to More Confident Public Speaking' by Lenny Laskowski when combined with an another title - 'Persuasion: The Art of Influencing People' by James Borg - can be all professional literature you would really need in order to make yourself a better speaker, presenter and communicator. The only reason that I didn't give the fifth star is a pretty poor quality of its paper. Any book is a physical product as well, isn't it?

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Robert T. Reilly
Handbook of Professional Tour Management
Delmar Publishers Inc. - Merton House Travel and Tourism,1982
*****
This well written handbook (138 pp), one of the pioneers of professional literature about Tour Conducting and Tour Guiding offers an excellent and concise overview of all aspects of the profession of Tour Managers. Although probably a bit outdated (I am in possession of its first 1982 edition), it will give you a real picture of authority, background, duties, responsibilities, and routines of tour management. The text is divided into 9 chapters (The Tour; Planning the Tour; The Tour Manager; Preparing For the Tour; Getting Away and Getting There; The Routine on Tour; A Tour Is a Group of Individuals; Special Problems and Situations; The Return Trip and Afterwards). I would specially recommend that all novices into the profession read Reilly's observations about qualification and qualities of a Tour Manager - they might well serve prospective tour managers for their personal self-evaluations. I also appreciate Reilly's comments on tourist types and his notes on group psychology. A great deal of professional instructions - advises and suggestions, is what makes this handbook a very practical tool for self-teaching of 'on-the-road' guides.
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Mark Mancini
Conducting Tours
Delmar, 2001 (Third edition)
*****
In this handbook you will find nothing about presentation and interpretation skills of contemporary tour guides. The book is focused on some strictly practical (technical) aspects of the tour guide's job. It can be useful, however, for all novice guides - especially those who entered the profession without previous training. This will be a good start for all of them to learn generally about the tour industry, tourism market, tourism suppliers, types of tours, etc. The book promotes a self-teaching way of acquiring the professional knowledge; each chapter is followed by an 'Activity' page with relevant questions and tasks, so you can check out what you have learned. The only part of the book which might be interesting for more experienced guides is about client and escort psychology, but there are only 12 pages dedicated to that topic. 
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Barbara Abramoff Levy et al
Great Tours! Thematic Tours and Guide Training for Historic Sites
Altamira Press, 2001
*****
Just a few ideas are given here and then repeated and repeated and repeated. The authors give very simplified and basic instructions about guide training in a way that can be useful only for schoolteachers in remote areas of Africa. The whole text of approx. 150 pages twirls around a basic idea that 'a great tour' is based on several elements such as storylines, themes, physical evidence, biography of historic personalities and historical context (this would be the only message of the book). How to pull the named elements all together was probably a scheduled purpose of the book, but I'm afraid that its authors missed their aim. The crucial enigma (at least for me) remains the fact that this title has been published in cooperation with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. One could have expected that, given the support which this respectable institution has offered, the authors would do a better (more serious and effective!) job.

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Barbara Braidwood et al
Tour Guiding Business
Self-Counsel Press, 2000 (Second edition)
*****
Absolutely basic approach to tour guiding in this book can hardly give you any valuable knowledge of the profession! Obviously, the authors were unable to give us a more insightful and informative text on tour guiding as such, so they decided to fill their book with some other topics more or less irrelevant to the theme. The second half of the 'Tour Guiding Business' gives us an equally simplified approach to travel agent practice focusing on such topics as 'Making your business legal', 'Equipping your office' and 'Marketing a large tour operation'. One might wander how this book survived its first edition and reached a new one? Think twice before ordering this book.
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