Top critical review
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A Fun Read...
on May 25, 2010
I'm an artist and as I write this am extremely broke. I think that "broke" is a relative term; if someone who was making $200,000 a year was laid off and found themselves with $10,000 in the bank and an unemployment check coming in for $400 a week they would think they were broke and this would most likely be true if you consider what their expenses probably are. With the money I make in my chosen profession, if I had $1,000 in the bank and no other money coming in I would think I was rich.
Ms. Lee is an excellent writer and what speaks to the point I just made is that she teaches you in this book a great perspective on how to view "broke-ness" and live a "broke lifestyle". Personally I feel the book is of more value to artists than those in what I like to refer to as "civilian" professions, for the simple reason that she is an artist and it seems to come from that perspective. That being said there are certain things even I would not engage in, such as diving through dumpsters looking for food that is still good. This is portrayed in the book as somewhat of a hobby for the upper middle class, which I'm assuming is an attempt to say "and you see, you thought only the homeless do this!" Again the artists' perspective at work; I don't see executives who have lost white collar jobs doing this sort of thing. I'm not saying that Ms. Lee doesn't back this up with examples of folks who do engage in this practice, including one who is a college student in NC who has a blog detailing his exploits, I just don't feel it is as widespread as it is portrayed. I will admit that I have found furniture pieces in this way, and she talks about that as well.
One section I really loved was when she discusses not falling into the trap of what society views as normal regarding at what age you should be married, have reached your career success, had kids, etc. So true. People get so caught up in that these days, but once again I feel it is artists more than most because it can take so long to establish any kind of success, if you even reach the point of success at all. This principle can be universally applied, however. I'm in my 40s, a bit older than the author, so I completely understand this point. Societies pressure to fit some "norm" when we are adults can be worse than any peer pressure we ever experienced as adolescents.
Ms. Lee discusses making a living from different sources so you don't rely on any one employer to be your sole source of income. As a freelancer I believe strongly in this concept as I'm not a 9-5 type of person. I temp when I have to and always hate it. I admire the way she has come up with different ways to make an artistic living and I try to go that same route. Bravo. Once again, however, I'm not sure if people in more standard professions will apply this. They will have to be willing, like the artist, to think totally outside the proverbial box.
The links in the back should have been more carefully researched; one of them concerning bartering (I won't list it to avoid giving these people publicity) was really just a cheap web portal with a bunch of useless links. Not the author's fault that people put these things up but I feel it shouldn't have been listed; perhaps it was legitimate before the publication of the book. Of everything listed Craigslist is the most viable, in my opinion, and unless you live in a cave you are already aware of it. Even with that site you have to take a position of "caveat emptor" or "trader/barterer-emptor". I recall using it when I was forced to leave an apartment and had to get rid of some furniture; it worked but I encountered some real loons in the process. If a second or updated edition comes out these links ought to be more thoroughly investigated.
There is something in this book for everyone who is having money issues, even if you don't find everything useful. All in all a good read and a nice job.