Thursday, 2nd July 2020

Paul Spencer Sochaczewski

Launch of An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles – 2nd Edition

Posted on 26. Apr, 2017 by in News and Events

Announcing a new edition of Paul’s classic “campfire conversations” with Alfred Russel Wallace: An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles

Special ebook launch price of 99 cents through May 2, 2017
(paperback also available—see below for ordering information)

ISBN: 978-2-940573-25-7
Buy on Kindle US
Buy on Kindle UK

An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles follows the Victorian-era explorations of Alfred Russel Wallace through Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. While Wallace is recognized as co-discoverer of the theory of natural selection (and was perhaps deliberately sidelined by Darwin), he was also an edgy social commentator and a voracious collector of “natural productions”—he caught, skinned, and pickled 125,660 specimens, including 212 new species of birds and 900 new species of beetles. 

Sochaczewski, who spent more than forty years following Wallace in Southeast Asia, has created an innovative form of storytelling, combining incisive biography and personal travelogue. He examines themes about which Wallace cared deeply—women’s power, why boys leave home, the need to collect, our relationship with other species, humanity’s need to control nature and how this leads to nature destruction, arrogance, the role of ego and greed, white-brown and brown-brown colonialism, serendipity, passion, mysticism—and interprets them through his own filter with layers of humor, history, social commentary, adventure, and provocative personal observations.

This revised edition includes an expanded chapter on the Wallace-Darwin controversy; a new chapter on the search for Ali, Wallace’s “faithful companion”; an elegant, easy-to-read layout; and new insights about our need/fear relationship with nature.

Critical Praise:

“The feeling I got reading An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles was as if I had boarded a time machine to accompany Wallace as he marveled at and studied the natural wonders of Southeast Asia. The book is a revelation of Wallace’s mesmerizing natural history insights interwoven with Sochaczewski’s unique view of the world and our place in it.”

Thomas E. Lovejoy, professor, George Mason University; fellow, National Geographic Society

“This book occupies a new category of nonfiction—part personal travelogue, part incisive biography of Wallace, part unexpected traveler’s tales—which coalesce into an illuminating, sometimes irreverent, and always entertaining volume. And running through the book is a deep respect for the natural world that Wallace and Sochaczewski spent years exploring.”
Jeffrey Sayer, professor of conservation and development at James Cook University

“Simultaneously funny, sardonic, and insightful. Sochaczewski isn’t afraid to shake Wallace’s pedestal once in a while, and doesn’t take himself too seriously either. I particularly like its unusual thematic structure … The book is like a pizza with everything … entirely new and refreshing.”
Jim Thorsell, senior advisor to the Unesco World Heritage  Convention

“The rhythm and magic of a verbal fugue. Read, laugh, and ponder the uncertain future of the people and wildlife in this gloriously biodiverse archipelago.”
Dato Sri Gathorne, author of Mammals of Borneo

“Explores the very basis of what science should be all about, and which Sochaczewski explores in his conversations with Wallace—a curiosity-driven “splendid madness” to understand our natural world at all costs.”  
Peter K.L. Ng, professor and head of Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore

“Important, fun, and thought-provoking.” 
Natarajan Ishwaran, director of ecological and earth sciences at UNESCO

“Woven around the adventures of Alfred Russel Wallace and of the author, An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles is a fascinating view of culture, biology, and nature conservation in both historic as well as contemporary Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. Wallace, the unsung co-discoverer of revolution, is brought to life in a new and informative way here.”
Sir Ghillean Prance, former president of the Linnean Society and former director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew


If you prefer a real book (I understand), you can buy An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles as a paperback for $19.95.

visit Amazon US for paperback

visit Amazon UK for paperback

Note: If you are Amazon-averse, the paperback should be available to order at any bricks-and-mortar bookstore, as well as through (US only) after April 24, 2017.

And to help you write your own personal travel stories …

Available in Kindle (ebook) and in classic (paper) formats
ISBN: 978-2-940573-15-8
Buy on Amazon US
Buy on Amazon UK

Share Your Journey is an easy-to-use handbook for people who want to write their personal stories but aren’t sure how to start and how to make them interesting. It’s based on the writing workshops I’ve run in more than twenty countries.

You’ll learn the (surprisingly easy) techniques professional writers use to write personal memoirs and travel stories that connect with editors and readers. Some highlights:

  • Recognize the dynamics of your own hero’s journey
  • Create instant intimacy with the reader
  • Tell the story by following the Little Red Riding Hood Strategy
  • Create conflict with the Nancy Reagan Principle
  • Write like Steven Spielberg directs
  • Eliminate fluff like Michelangelo
  • Keep ’em hanging on with the Scheherazade Scenario
  • Invoke the Story of One to represent the Story of Many

Share Your Journey is to good writing as Joy of Cooking is to good food. I wish all my students had this book before taking my writing classes; hell, I wish I had this book earlier in my career. It’s smart, fun, and every page contains nuggets of essential advice.”  
Gary Goshgarian, professor of creative writing, Northeastern University

“Paul Sochaczewski learned his craft carefully over decades and he now shares the secrets to why he’s successful. He offers ten simple, but too often overlooked guidelines, them amply (and memorably) illustrates each one with samples from his own works and a library full of other writers demonstrating how easily it can be done.”  
Jerry Hopkins, former editor of Rolling Stone, best-selling author of Elvis: The Biography and No One Here Gets Out Alive 

“Paul’s Ten Tips, buttressed by some great to-the-point examples, will stand among the best advice a nonfiction writer can ever hope to have.”  
James Clad, former Far Eastern Economic Review bureau chief in Malaysia, India, the Philippines; author of Behind the Myth: Business, Money and Power in Southeast Asia

“If I had to parachute only one book to a Robinson Crusoe-type stranded on a deserted island who wanted to write his personal story, I have no doubt it would be Paul Sochaczewski’s Share Your Journey: Mastering Personal Writing. The toolkit Paul offers allows the person with a story and some raw talent to build a word castle that rises to the heavens.”  
Christopher G. Moore, author of the Vincent Calvino novels and Heart Talk

“If you want … your writing to leap off the page and click its heels in mid-air, read this book and follow its good advice. This is a lifetime’s wisdom, offered by a pro.”  
Thomas Bass, author of The Spy Who Loved Us, Vietnamerica, and The Predictors; professor of English and journalism at State University of New York

Laugh, cry, get angry with a new edition of Paul’s classic comic eco-thriller Redheads

Available in Kindle (ebook) and in classic (paper) formats
ISBN: 978-2-940573-19-6
Buy on Amazon US
Buy on Amazon UK

What is Redheads about?

In the middle of a Borneo rainforest, a band of near-naked Penan tribesmen, encouraged by an equally clothes-challenged renegade Swiss shepherd, hesitantly blockade a logging truck, testing their commitment to protect their forest home. Nearby, a researcher studying orangutans is threatened with being thrown out of her study site unless she can reach a delicate compromise with the powerful minister of the environment. Meanwhile, loggers are busy at work, devastating the rainforest. And rehabilitant orangutans are not playing nice.

Time is running out for the people and the orangutans who share this threatened environment. Who has the answer to saving the world’s oldest forest—the marketing experts of an international nature conservation group or the earnest monkey-wrenchers?

At the heart of Redheads‘ black-humored fictional action lies the very real problem of rainforest destruction and the philosophical question of where the real boundaries lie between apes and humans. And just what is it about red silk underwear?

Also includes:

A Foreword by James Clad, professor of South and Southeast Asian studies at Georgetown University, and former United States deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asia Pacific affairs.

And an Afterword by Jeffrey McNeely, former chief scientist at IUCN, and senior advisor to Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation. He is co-author of Mammals of Thailand and Soul of the Tiger.


Critical Praise:

Redheads does for the struggle to save the rainforests of Borneo what Catch-22 did for the struggle to stay alive in World War II.  
Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael

“Free-thinking, intelligent, and irreverent—Redheads reminds me of a Kurt Vonnegut thriller. It’s bold, pacey—even racy … a quirky and often laugh-out-loud funny Robin Hood parable about the willful destruction of Asia’s forests and the price we pay by turning a blind eye. I loved this visceral eco-thriller, a sort of jungle morality play in which there’s more than simply the trees to lose.”  
Benedict Allen, author of Into the Crocodile’s Nest: Journey Inside New Guineaand Hunting the Gugu: In Search of the Lost Ape-Men of Sumatra

Redheads is the perfect example of a new genre, a comic eco-thriller so suspenseful that you learn about this strange world while sitting on the edge of your seat … a roaring tale of tropical suspense. It is witty and smart and altogether a wonderful treat.”  
Thomas Bass, author of The Spy Who Loved Us, Vietnamerica, and The Predictors, professor of English and journalism at State University of New York

“With the trained eyes and the sensitivity of someone who lived among the orangutans in the wilds of Borneo, Sochaczewski tells a captivating story of the struggle to save the rainforests. Redheads reads like a fast-paced, high-powered movie script that makes the issue of environmental devastation come alive and demand reforms.”  
Robert A. Pastor, professor at Emory University and former staff, National Security Council 

Enjoy true Asian tales of folly and greed, ambition,
mysticism and dreams …

All five volumes available in Kindle (ebook) and in
classic (paper) formats

Curious Encounters – Myanmar (Burma)
ISBN: 978-2-940573-01-1
Curious Encounters — Indonesia
ISBN: 978-2-940573-04-2
Curious Encounters — Himalaya
ISBN: 978-2-940573-07-3
Curious Encounters — Borneo
ISBN: 978-2-940573-10-3
Curious Encounters — Southeast Asia
ISBN: 978-2-940573-13-4

Buy on Amazon US
Buy on Amazon UK


This is a five-book series containing true stories I’ve written based on my 45 years of living and exploring in curious corners of Asia.

Some highlights:

  • Can 200-million-year-old fossilized freshwater shark dung bring you good luck?  
  • What’s the attraction of coffee that’s been digested by a civet? 
  • How did Vietnam’s last elephant hunter, at the age of 90, get a lucrative sponsorship deal for a tonic that makes men more powerful?
  • Did a love potion help a Filipino politician become governor? 
  • Why do prominent modern Indonesian sultans continue love affairs with the Mermaid Queen?
  • What’s a woman to do when a Hindu god doesn’t return her mountain?
  • Does the yeti illuminate the dark side of our souls?
  • How do “often frothy” phalluses protect Bhutanese villagers?
  • How close are we to orangutans?
  • Has White-Brown colonialism been replaced by Brown-Brown arrogance?
  • Why did a gentle grandmother spit at a ghost?
  • How did Myanmar’s ruling junta use white elephants to consolidate their power?
  • What arrogance drives Western travelers to seek the “unknown”?
  • What do jumping cats have to do with Buddhism’s Middle Path?

Selected reviews:

“In the great tradition of Asian reporting. The humanity of Somerset Maugham, the adventure of Joseph Conrad, the perception of Paul Theroux, and a self-effacing voice uniquely his own.”  
Gary Braver, bestselling author of Tunnel Vision

“The spirit of Kipling in contemporary Asian journalism. This collection is essential reading for anyone who wishes to pass beyond even the unbeaten track, right to the heart of Asia.”  
John Burdett, author of Bangkok Eight, Bangkok Tattoo, and Bangkok Asset

“Sochaczewski explores the hidden corners, the forgotten people, and their surprising tales. All the personal traveler’s tales in these volumes are captivating, all filled with humor, drama, and insight, with an edgy take-no-prisoners voice. You won’t find anything else like this on the bookshelf.”  
Jeff McNeely, former chief scientist, International Union for Conservation of Nature

“If anyone can pull off something as innovative as Curious Encounters, it’s Paul Sochaczewski. Expect pellucid writing, insightful irreverence, and universal truths elegantly presented, in a genre that defies categorization.”  
John Keay, author of India: A History, China: A History, and Mad about the Mekong

Introducing Paul’s new golf book, which is also about life, courage, ambition, cheating, adventure, and memorable golfing personalities

Available in Kindle (ebook) and in classic (paper) formats
ISBN: 978-2-940573-21-9
Buy on Amazon US
Buy on Amazon UK

Distant Greens travels to the highest golf course in the world, where breathless Tibetan precepts come face to face with the oxymoron of Indian military intelligence. To a golf course in the Amazon rainforest, near the source of rubber, which revolutionized the game. To the Middle Kingdom, to examine claims that it was the Chinese, and not the Scots, who invented golf. And to a volcanic Indonesian course where the Mermaid Queen ensures that “her” sultan always has good weather when he plays.

Distant Greens also travels into the soul of golf. Why do golfers believe that a tetrachaidecohedron-dimple-pattern can make a difference? Why can throwing junk-shop 4-irons provide an insight into the soul? What does a Zen priest in Japan hope to teach his acolyte golfers? Why do people (including Donald Trump) cheat? Why do golfers remember the bad shots instead of the good shots? And why is golf more important, to some folks, than sex?

And Distant Greens looks to the future of golf: Can golf and nature support each other? What can golfers do to ensure that their golf course is environmentally responsible? 

Critical Praise:

Distant Greens is an intimate golfing tour that travels to all corners of the planet and brings us into the heart, mind, and soul of the game that we all love.”  
Rick Lipsey, Sports Illustrated 

“These enthralling stories take us to some of the world’s strangest golf courses. They are more than travel stories; they are insightful, funny, and often touching human tales that provide new insights on why we play the game. Proves the adage that the quality of sports writing is inversely proportional to the size of the ball.”  
Micah Woods, director, Asian Turfgrass Center

“Travels to golf courses where they oughtn’t be, and visits with some of the most intriguing golfic characters the world over. A quirky, funny, layered, insightful, beautifully written collection for golfers who ponder the meaning of this ever-fascinating, eternally frustrating, always-satisfying game.”  
Daniel Navid, president, International Golf and Life Foundation

“What makes Distant Greens so important is how Sochaczewski addresses the role of golf in environmental destruction and, surprisingly for some, how golf can be a force for conservation.”  
Jeffrey McNeely, chief scientist, IUCN-International Union for Conservation of Nature

“More than a golf travel book, more than a discourse on the spiritual nature of the game, this collection of insightful (and funny) essays and exceptional reportage explores new vistas about some of golf’s most interesting people and places, and gets to the heart of the very reason so many of us love this game.”  
Fred Shoemaker, coach, author and founder of Extraordinary Golf

Distant Greens gets to the core of golf’s eco-spiritual essence with charming, insightful, and often amusing stories, anecdotes, and commentary that traverse the globe yet reside happily in the realm of ‘good heart.”’  
Steve Cohen, president, The Shivas Irons Society

“Paul Sochaczewski brings insight, awareness, vision, and clarity to the unconventional and unsung parts of this historic game. His writing informs and illuminates while drawing attention to the importance of environment to the integrity and future of golf. Indeed, this is big writing.”  
Ron Fream, golf architect of courses in 65 countries 

“The book suggests a new eco-spiritual relationship with the game that each golfer can adopt. Essential (and elegant) reading for anyone who loves the game.”  
Dennis Cone, founder, Professional Caddies Association

“Both insightful and thought provoking, since many of the themes in the book relate to how we manage our emotions and how (and why) we create ‘core beliefs’ based on performance. Why do we make ourselves ‘wrong’?  Why do we beat ourselves up when we hit bad shots instead of patting ourselves on the back for good shots? What is going on in our complex brains? Golf is a beautiful game, and Sochaczewski provides insights into how we might enjoy it more.  
Jennifer K. Jones, consultant in sport and performance psychology, Staffordshire University


May I ask for your help?
If you enjoy the books, I would greatly appreciate if you could:
1.  Share your thoughts with me through email – I’d also love to hear about your personal travel adventures and writing accomplishments.
2.  Tell your friends about the books.
3.  Write a review for Amazon. I understand this takes a bit of energy, but your honest feedback helps other readers and goes a long way in generating sales. The Amazon review page is semi hidden—click on the link for Amazon US or Amazon UK (oddly, reviews on one site don’t automatically migrate to the other)—scroll down to Customer Reviews, then click the box Write a customer review.
 I would be very grateful. Thank you.

All best,


Paul Spencer Sochaczewski
For contact and more information:
Paul’s Amazon author page