Absolutely.I didn't sense any smugness. His ability to provide insight or at least make it look like he is providing insight, into European history, art, and even the life of the wealthy is interesting to read, for me. Going off on tangents of historical reference and so on, fine. The only problem I have is yes, it is the same formula book after book. But its still a good read. There are a lot worse out there to trudge through. His writing style is clear and vivid. I don't have any issue with it at all, although it doesn't transcend his norm and it stays within his boundries it seems.