i have to disagree
To me, _Dharma Bums_ is far far below _On the Road_, which is Kerouac's best book (IMHO). The writing of _Dharma Bums_ lacks the lyrical beauty of the best of _On the Road_. Thematically, it's even more problematic, veering far into an ill-considered orientalism. There is an enoyable wanderer's view of California and Berkeley of the day, but ultimately it is closer to _Pic_ (another problematic one) than to _On the Road_.
If you are interested in thinking critically, i would recommend _the Subterraneans_ and _Tristessa_ next. Compare the representations of non-white characters in the three books, and I think you'll find some revealing parallels.