Acclaim for Falling Uphill, the Best-Selling Coming-of-Age Journey
Whoa! Surprising news.
The new 10th-anniversary edition of Falling Uphill has won a finalist award at the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in Memoirs (Personal Struggle). Next Generation Indie Book Awards is the largest not-for-profit awards program for independent publishers. What a big honor!
Public Service Announcement
Are awards and testimonials trustworthy?
Awards: I’ve researched this a lot and when most books say they are best-sellers, it means they gamed the system. One way to do this is to flood the market, get your friends to buy the book and then take a snapshot of the one-day your book is on the best-seller list. Not so for Falling Uphill. It stood up for over a year. And, there is a similar story when it comes to winning awards. There are many awards that are basically given away to the highest bidder. Truly genuine, non-profit awards are rare.
Testimonials: Likewise, I’ve discovered most testimonials are fake. You can even buy industry reviews. The reviewers charge money, or in some way make money from their reviews. Amazon now deletes any review they discover belongs to your inner circle of family and friends because they are too often manipulated.
Bottom line: I give you my word, and I take that very seriously even when I make a promise to myself, that everything here is genuine. I don’t have time to post reviews anymore, but these were a few of my favorites. But don’t take my word for it, read a sample chapter yourself.
Industry reviews for Falling Uphill
And acclaim for the journey
“A book that helped define a genre.” ~ Anonymous.
Stoll did some planning but allowed chance to govern his journey. ~
Scott Stoll’s cycling journey around the world raises countless questions about life in our time and answers quite a few of them. He is at once charming, innocent, fearless, and wise in his search for the world and himself. What does he find? Joy, tranquility, no end of personal challenges, and a whole lot more. ~
Scott Stoll lives a life the rest of us only dream of. With a keen eye and an open heart, he expresses the joys and aggravations of traveling the world on two wheels. ~
[Stoll] did something most of us would not do: He decided to ride his bicycle around the world. His impulse isn’t as strange as it might sound. Humans have always sought answers to life’s perplexing questions by undertaking long and arduous journeys. ~
It was an exhausting yet exhilarating trip filled with both human kindness and treachery, with nature’s beauty, challenge and danger. ~
Stoll has some harrowing and heart-warming tales to tell. ~
See! There’s something else for us out there, we just have to dream a little bit. ~
The book is fascinating to read. ~
A bad day turned into an incredible adventure. ~
They are fascinating books. And, I’m telling you—I really enjoyed reading about your experiences. ~.
Stoll’s attitude and observations verge on Paul Theroux, which I love… BTW, [his] column on GJ was one of our most popular of the summer. ~
What do you do when everything around you seems to crumble? Break down and cry?
Roll downhill? Soldier on? Scott Stoll found an alternative: get on your bike and fall uphill. ~
A Milwaukee man has ended his 40,220 kilometer trip in Cape Town. He cycled through snow in Lesotho, was thrown in jail and landed in a hospital — in search of happiness… [But] it was a journey that was not all downhill. ~ (I didn’t notice the coincidence of this quote until years later. This was just after I finished my journey and I still hadn’t decided to call my book/journey “Falling Uphill.” Also interesting reference to Argus the shipbuilder of the Argo, the ship that carried the Argonauts.)
More acclaim for the book and journey
A selection of comprehensive cover designs.
I LOVED Falling Uphill. My favorite cycling book to date and I’ve read them all. ~
I read and loved your book. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. Thanks ~
Scott your book, Falling Uphill, is as inspirational as Jon Krakuer’s “Into the Wild” or Aaron Ralston’s “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”. You are a very good author and a very brave man. More people need to know about your book. ~
This is one of the most entertaining and thought-provoking book I’ve read. Scott’s re-telling of his adventures and his personal reflections are exciting, humorous, profound, and genuine. His honesty is very refreshing, and at times a little uncomfortable — he shares with us the sides of himself that we, as people, generally like to hide away. Scott’s accomplishments and struggles reveal the beautiful and ugly sides of human nature, and his story gives us hope that we can all follow our dreams, no matter how foolish or impossible they seem. ~
A masterpiece on humanity. Thanks for not quitting so we can read about it and at the same time enrich our own lives. ~
It should be a primer for every child and on every home bookcase as ready relief for all adults. ~
If I had more money I would buy books for every library. The world needs people like Scott to show us what is possible, if you try. ~
A book that makes me itch to get on the road again… What surprised me was the style; not just another travelogue from A to B, but a whole philosophy of life and cycling. The best read since I read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” over 10 years ago! ~
The more I read, the more I remember my own journeys, my own stories, my own difficulties struggling with great questions. ~
I recognize the struggles you described, not so much because I traveled as far or as rough as you, but the struggle a lot of us have to be more appreciative of our lot in life, and to see the world with new eyes everyday. ~
I found it very enlightening and profound. Through the author’s words and experiences, I’ve had many self-realizations— See! He did make a difference. ~
I’ve found an author whose book sucked me in and made me contemplate brushing off the old passport and booking the first cheap flight anywhere. ~
Scott almost dies, falls in love, finds “God” and discovers the meaning of life — what more from a story could you ask for? ~
Not only does your story inspire people to live out their dreams, it helps others to realize they’re already living them! ~
A review from Amazon
A fellow travel companion gave this book to me in Ghana and insisted that I read it. She told me it would change the way I think about life — and she was right — it is rare to find an author so honest and so open with their emotions — someone who helps you understand you are not alone questioning life — especially someone who I thought was just some angst-ridden gung-ho male writing a travelogue about himself — and it was so much more!!! I thought the author organized this book brilliantly. Full of humorous and heart-warming and heart-wrenching stories that flowed in the order of personal development, somewhat like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I read the book once just for the adventure and went back and read it a second time for the spiritual journey. And, I have to say that the last few chapters about the culture shock of returning home are what make this book an essential read to any would-be traveler; actually, I think this shock of returning home and seeing yourself as you really are is essential to anyone interested in personal development. I have to say that I don’t think Stoll has traveled very far down the spiritual path, but he has taken the first steps and looked deep into his soul and discovered a lot of universal truths about what it means to be human. Kudos for not quitting and making all this hard-earned wisdom available to everyone. This kind of coming-of-age spirit quest is what’s missing in our culture. ~
A review from GoodReads
I ran into Scott Stoll in Madison, WI, during the summer of 2009, as I was bicycling across the country. He himself was traveling around to special events (by bike, naturally), selling his newly-published book out of his saddlebags. We exchanged some stories, rode together around town for a bit, and I ultimately bought a copy of his book.
My initial temptation was to mail it right home and read it when I was done (I didn’t want to carry so much extra weight with me), but ended up thinking better of the idea, and kept it with me. I read it on the road over the course of a week, and am infinitely grateful for its presence on my trip.
Stoll paints a vivid and very real picture of life on the road, and does not attempt to cast himself as a superhero, opting for a more honest (and often painful) portrayal of the inevitable emotional rollercoaster that he found himself on. The result is a touching transformation that unfolds before your eyes, from an inexperienced and overly-cocky boy to a humbled, sincere man, both strong and self-aware.
When I met Stoll, he left a lasting impression on me as a man at peace with himself and the world. There aren’t any grandiose “answers” to life to be found in this book, but through his writing, he managed to instill some of that peace in me as well. This is well worth the read, whether you’re traveling or not, and regardless of whether you ever have any intention of doing so. ~
A peer review
There’s a saying amongst travel enthusiasts and New Age revivalists alike: “It’s the journey, not the destination.” But breathtaking landscapes or spiritual enlightenment aside, we’re repeatedly told the opposite in modern American society: that the destination is everything, indeed — whether it involves the perfect career, the perfect mate, or simply purchasing the latest, greatest, “how-can-I-ever-manage-to-live-without-it” iGadget. Hence that other (and more familiar) saying: “Congratulations, you’ve arrived!”
But what if, along the way from point A to B, life suddenly presents an unexpected detour that not only interrupts your itinerary, but gives cause to throw out society’s roadmap altogether?
That’s what happened to Scott Stoll, author of Falling Uphill, when in a single week he lost not only his job, but also his girlfriend and, subsequently, his confidence to boot. For Stoll, what followed was a four-year personal odyssey in search of life’s answers, peddling a bicycle over 25,000 miles across six different continents — and vowing not to stop until he had found happiness at long last.
Stoll’s narrative is inspired. Falling Uphill documents the 30-something’s journey around the world in three separate sections: the first one centers on the physical toll of his arduous trek; the second provides an accounting of its emotional wear and tear; and the third, spiritual meanderings along the road less traveled. Rather than a chronological rehash of events, each chapter begins with a question, until the full adventure unfolds and Stoll, along with the reader, arrives once more on American shore — leaving just one more question to answer: “Did you find what you were looking for?” ~
Even more acclaim for the book and journey
We quickly discovered that Falling Uphill is not only about sharing funny and colourful stories from a bike trip around the world. It’s also a soul-searching book full of reflections and observations on human nature and the philosophy of life… We loved this book, even if sometimes it kept us awake in our tent rather than helping us get to sleep! Every time we listened to a chapter, we wanted to talk with one other. ~ Travellingtwo.com, Read the full review on
I finished [the Falling Uphill audio book], and enjoyed every bit of it. I plan on listening to it many times. Why your story has not been made into a movie, or a PBS special presentation defies logic. Here is a true adventure going unnoticed, while hour after hour mindless TV is being produced. The $10 I paid for the audio version of your book seems inadequate, if I had more money I would buy books for every library. Speaking of money, it may have occurred to you to become an inspirational speaker. I think a lot of companies or groups or schools would pay big money for you to share life experiences and techniques for dealing with setbacks and challenges you faced while cycling around the world. I hate to say it, but I really feel you need to do this, not for the money, look at it more as your obligation. The world needs people like yourself to show us what is possible, if you try. ~
An unexpected discovery from a bicycle blogger.
I gave your book to my 12-year-old nephew, who was really thrilled to get it and then to watch your video. At some point down the line, you may hear from him. I think you may have inspired another dream put in motion for a young boy who does dream of a larger world out there. What a wonderful legacy you create!! ~
Scott’s courage is a tremendous inspiration to would-be adventurers everywhere! ~
What a great way to see the earth and its people. What a gift to share. ~
Thanks for the chance to peek at the world through your eyes. ~
I just finished your book. Great read, worth taking the time. I like the way you write and the insightful thoughts. I would like to thank you for this effort and hope it reaches wide readership. It should be a primer for every child and on every home bookcase as ready relief for all adults. I liked the last part too with the conversations with Buddha. I wonder why the NEW York best seller list does not have it listed… They are missing so much as is Oprah… There are places in the book that are all about you but then they are totally appropriate. There are parts that preach to the reader but then the reader needs preaching to. There is some self-serving sections that could only be seen by the reader as proof of why they would want to read this book in the first place. In short “Good on ya mate”. ~
You have some deep insights. I have pondered many of the same questions you have encountered on my own journeys. I am still in search of happiness. I think we all are… I feel I will always be a traveler. I will always have that desire that strange urge to experience new things, to see, to do something more, to search. Before and after I am always in doubt and unhappy, only during the journey it seems do I feel fulfilled. I admire your journey. The more I read, the more I remember my own journeys, my own stories, my own difficulties struggling with great questions. I think the format of your book is fantastic — a great idea… You make me want to get out the bike again. But alas, my knees hurt too much, hiking the entire Appalachian trail did them in, and your chapter about eating tripe in Africa and then your chapter about getting poison ivy going to the bathroom made me remember I don’t want to do the hardcore traveling anymore. I have done that. I have had enough of sleeping in dumps, the bad food, getting nearly killed in crashes- the anger and the shield you have to put up to protect yourself from swindlers. And then there is the hardest part about travel and you hit it on the head is the loneliness. ~
Loved the book. A great accomplishment, both the adventure and the book. I definitely asked some of the pessimistic questions like “Were you ever robbed?” but i think i also asked some of the better ones. I recognize the struggles you described since being home, not so much because I traveled as far or as rough as you, but the struggle a lot of us have to be more appreciative of our lot in life. And to see the world with new eyes every day. I find myself quite often fighting the daydream that there is a place and if i go there i will find happiness. Cape town, Patagonia, Thailand. Of course, maybe there is, but i try harder to find beauty wherever i am (a definite challenge at times). Anyways as you can see your book both brought back some great memories of my own and made me think. ~
I found it very enlightening and profound. Through your words and experiences, I have learned a lot about myself, had many self-realizations and observed where I am and what I’m looking for or not looking for. See so you have made a difference. Our path and thinking are similar, but to find myself I must journey on a similar quest. I’m not sure still if I’m running away or running to something. I guess I’ll soon discover this. The last part of the book with Budda was very thought-provoking, well thought out and humorous. I especially liked the part where you rode past the lions (not actually seeing them but they were there) thinking positive and being non-threatening. I believe they can sense if you are a danger or threat to them. This applies to any situation time or place — a lesson well learned. I think that took a lot of courage to venture through their domain. Thanks again good luck lecturing across the country your story needs to be told. We here in the US and Canada have it good. And happiness is not about wealth and material things — as you discovered. Hey, I’ll be leaving in the new year of 2010 if you want to do it again. LOL ~
I absolutely loved your book and was quite sad when I’d finished it. I think that you showed great insights and I loved your courage to say things that I think about but never talk about. All the inner talk that goes on, but one never voices. I felt that I was on the journey with you, because the book took me on a journey with my self. I got to see a lot about myself, by you revealing yourself. I loved the structure of the book. It was not just a travelogue, it has great stories, and always an interesting point to make. So, I was entertained, I learnt a lot and got an insight into other peoples lives in a way that travel magazines and books never show. ~
I think your book will inspire lots people to push their strength to see the world and see what’s out there rather than everyday focus on material things, money or other stuffs. ~
Loving your book! My husband Scot took it from me and now he is reading it, and I had been reading it for 2 hours non-stop before he took it from me! It is so well written. I am really impressed! You are a great writer Scott!!! [Update: I LOVED the book. Can’t wait for your next one!] ~
Very creative way of telling the story of the journey in questions, I must say. It’s been a wonderful way to reminisce a little, plus to get a glimpse on how someone can take the same journey but see something in a different way. Thank you so much for articulating your experience and your perspective – and not least for sharing it! ~
Have a great time cycling the US promoting your book every school in your country should have it on their reading list. And thanks for correcting peoples blinkered view of Americans wherever you went you are proud of your nationality and you should be. After all, you were one of Americas best ambassadors during Americas worst 4 years… Good travels and keep those wheels rolling. ~
I’m half-way through your book (a great distraction from my in-laws). I just have to say how brave you are to have done that. I’ve always chosen the easy, safe path. I just never knew that such unimaginable things are tangible. I am a mom and a wife and a nurse, and I do have a happy life. But I do often think “what would have happened if…” Your thoughts about the forks in the road really are true. Have a great new year ~
I’m nearing the end of your book. Fantastic experiences all around. What stood out to me, though, is the monarch butterflies huddled together and weighing down tree limbs like snow in Mexico. Your friend’s (it was Dennis, I think) crafty pen exchange for the baby lamb from the herder’s flock is hilarious. Particularly so because it was the unintended result of a lesson that somehow wasn’t quite conveyed. ~
I’m reading your book and I love it! Just read about your trip to Nowhere. If you want to go Crazy I have directions. ~
Loved the book. ~
It’s incredible. It gives me chills. You are my hero… But, there are things in this book that no mother should ever have to read about her son. ~
I’ll say one thing, you’re damn brave to be so brutally honest and I have to admire how you put it all out there. I think you are (and I am being totally serious here) are the most self-reflective and spiritually enlightened person I’ve ever known… I respect and appreciate your honesty, but those are not words a girl wants to hear! ~
I thought your book was really really good and I’m not just saying that because I’m your sister. Every sentence was well crafted and there wasn’t a bunch of extra fluff like some books. I felt inspired and hopeful by the book. The biggest impact it had on me was being able to hear about your interactions with everyone around the world. The hospitality, the friendliness, and most importantly remembering that people are really the same no matter where you go. I think it’s really helpful in this day and age to get that message out. It would be a much better world if we had open minds and tried understanding each other. ~
I am reading a chapter each morning. Always interesting and gives me lots to think about. ~
Finished UPHILL, loved it, thanks again!! Rock on brudda. ~
I am really enjoying your book and am almost finished. I’m glad you were doing the trip around the world and not me, but then you got the benefit from all the co-creations and your soul was very happy!… ~
Just wanted to let you know I finished “Falling Uphill” and enjoyed every minute of it! I’m in Vancouver, BC for a conference. Sat next to the Tanzanian ambassador to Canada at a pub tonight and gave him the name of your book, with my recommendation. (His question: “How many times was his bike stolen in Africa?” ~
[Falling Uphill] is FANTASTIC!! The writing is wonderful – insightful and funny. I am making a lot of connections in my own life while reading about you. Thank you for writing the book, it is really having a wonderful effect on me. ~
I read [Falling Uphill] in a time I was brooding quite a bit about the bigger questions of life. You had some very interesting points of view in your book and it felt good to know I wasn’t the only one questioning many things. ~
Now I’m in Holland, where I’m volunteering on an organic farm. Your reading has provided many hours of entertainment amidst the thousand weeds I’ve picked. It’s also sparked many conversations- lately, is happiness something you find, or something you create from within? Even people in miserable situations can choose to be happy, we decided… Yesterday over dinner at the farm I told Herma, my host, about you biking around the world for years. She remarked how much she would love to do that… she’s an avid biker herself. Then looked at her partner, Tineke, and the farm (both of which she loves immensely), and remembered our conversation about happiness earlier. “But I am already so happy here,” she said, giving Tineke a kiss. Aside from being university professors, they’ve created a beautiful community of friends and travelers always coming and going on their small farm… they are, indeed, already living their dream. Not only does your story inspire people to live out their dreams, it helps others to realize they’re already living them! Hope your book is allowing you to grow & learn as much as your bike trip did. ~
This guy’s a legend. I’m on the way to Africa at the moment from Ireland — on the east coast of Spain as I type — went through Ireland, Wales, England, France and now here — truly amazing. It’s my first cycling trip too, didn’t even own a bike until I decided to do this. Anyone thinking of it — Get up and go!! ~
I loved Falling Uphill. It gave me hope that I can overcome my disabilities. ~
Fantastic tales of the road! The ending is chock full of life lessons. I might have to read it a few times. ~
I finally finished every last page of it last night! Great book. I highly recommend it! This book was perfect for me–but not everyone. In my experience, it has been uncommon to find people who think that deeply about life…(Or at least talk about it out loud..haha). I will still recommend it though! ~
And many more…