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Jazz Shapers

Shaper: Tony Wheeler

Tony Wheeler is the Co-Founder of Lonely Planet. Setting off on a trip of a lifetime honeymoon in 1972, Tony and his wife Maureen founded Lonely Planet Publications in 1973 in order to publish ‘Across Asia on the Cheap’ – the story of their journey. Their breakthrough came after a trip to India allowed then to publish the ‘India Guidebook’ in 1981, which according to Tony was ‘three times as big, three times the price and sold three times as many copies as previous titles’, and Lonely Planet then materialised over 30 years to become the world’s largest independent guidebook publisher before finally selling it to BBC Worldwide and supporting Lonely Plant shift into a multi-platform brand.

With the New York Times describing Tony as ‘the trailblazing patron saint of the world’s backpackers and adventure travellers’, he has gone on to found Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre and the Planet Wheeler Foundation.

Interview highlights

This is a lonely planet as there aren’t any more we can move to.

I’m not good at knowing everything about a place before I go there. I learn as I go along.

Whenever you go and do something, find someone else who has done it in a more exciting fashion. 

The most fraught years with small businesses are when all you’ve got to do is pay out, not even paying yourself.

Being able to buy a car that didn’t breakdown every time I drove felt like progress.

I loved the books, I loved putting them together, I loved researching for them, I loved recruiting the team and I loved the travel.

There is always somewhere new that I haven’t been.

I never go anywhere where I am not astonished.

Shaper: Steve Levine

Steve Levine is Founder and Owner of Manmade Soul and Co-founder and Director of radio production company, Magnum Opus Broadcasting. Starting his recording career as a trainee tape-op at CBS studios in 1975, Steve soon progressed to an “in house” recording engineer. He produced all of Culture Club’s classic hits and the bands’ three multi-platinum [...]


Jazz Shapers - 5 days ago

Shaper: Bernie de Le Cuona

Bernie de Le Cuona founded de Le Cuona, a specialist in luxury interior fabrics almost 25 years ago. She is one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in the interior textiles industry. She built a global luxury brand from humble beginnings and 26 years later the business has c £10 million annual turnover. Bernie carved [...]


Jazz Shapers - 3 weeks ago