Quick executive summary: overrated.
Backing up, the book is not completely useless. Say you pick up a travel guide to the USA. Many of them will point out possible places of interest all over the country. It’s, however, very hard to differentiate between the importance/value/significant of a former gold mining ghost town from Gettysburg unless you already have basic knowledge of American history or unless the guide book writes a special feature on one. As foreigners reading objective tone-less guidebooks, it’s hard to prioritize.
In comes books like 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. It provides, at best, a starting point to identify which locations have some more presence or may be worth going out of your way to visit.
Key word: starting point. I was extreme annoyed to find the book populated with so many luxury hotels as the destinations themselves. Really? You’d recommend for someone to fly across oceans, continents, just for a hotel? No matter how luxurious the hotel.
And the recommendations have a strongly luxury travel slant. Cruises valuing thousands of US dollars in third world countries. I’m all for pampering myself every now and then, but not to this volume or price. I put more emphasis in witnessing, if not experiencing, the local culture, which would mean less of the canned tour packages and more of figuring ways to get around myself.
Ultimately, I don’t recommend the book. It wouldn’t be any different than any other books listing “top destinations” or “journeys of a lifetime” etc. While it has a few gems that I would never heard of without proper research, it serves, at best, merely a starting point.