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Joe Cummings - Coffee Table Books & Transitioning from Paper to Digital

26 May 2020

In the second part of our conversation, in addition to episodes one and three, we discuss the kind of writing Joe enjoys the most, such as going deep into a subject for a 'coffee table book'. An example of which is Sacred Tattoos of Thailand which is his discovery in to the world of Sak Yant. You can catch up with Part One here.


Joe also saw and had to deal with the transitioning from paper to the digital world, he actually enjoys the digital era for writing but we discuss what it was like.

Joe Cummings was born in New Orleans and grew up in California, France and Washington, DC. An interest in Buddhism drew him to Thailand, where he taught at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology before returning to the USA to write for The Asia Record while earning a master's degree in Thai language and Southeast Asian art history at the University of California at Berkeley.

As an East-West Center grantee, he completed a second master’s degree in applied linguistics.

Joe was one of Lonely Planet's first authors, creating the seminal Lonely Planet Thailand guide, followed by five other new titles as well as updates for other countries in the region. He has also worked for Insight Guides, Moon Handbooks and other guide publishers and contributed to magazines and newspapers around the world. He has contributed to over 50 reference books on destinations in Asia and North America, including Buddhist Stupas in Asia; World Food Thailand; Buddhist Temples of Thailand; Burmese Art, Design & Architecture; Muay Thai; Chiang Mai Style. Lanna Renaissance and Sacred Tattoos of Thailand. Joe says he resides in Bangkok because “it’s the least boring city in the world.