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The Man Who Quit Money Paperback – March 6, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade; 1 edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594485690
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594485695
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This is a beautiful, thoughtful and wonderful book. I suspect I may find myself thinking about it every day for the rest of my life." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"Mark Sundeen's astonishing and unsettling book goes directly to the largest questions about how we live and what we have lost in a culture obsessed with money. Sundeen tells the story of a gentle and generous man who sought the good life by deciding to live without it. What's most unsettling and astonishing is that he appears to have succeeded." - William Greider

"Maybe it's just this odd, precarious moment we live in, but Daniel Suelo's story seems to offer some broader clues for all of us. Mark Sundeen's account will raise subversive and interesting questions in any open mind." - Bill McKibben 

“Suelo isn’t a conflicted zealot, or even a principled aesthete. He’s a contented man who chooses to wander the Earth and do good. He’s also someone you’d want to have a beer with and hear about his life, as full of fortune and enlightenment as it is disappointment and darkness… At its core, The Man Who Quit Money is the story of a man who decided to live outside of society, and is happier for it.” –Men’s Journal 

 “Sundeen deftly portrays [Suelo] as a likeable, oddly sage guy… who finds happiness in radical simplicity [and] personifies a critique that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt remorse on the treadmill of getting and spending." –Outside Magazine 
“Captivating… Suelo emerges as a remarkable and complex character… Sundeen brings his subject vividly to life [and] makes a case for Suelo's relevance to our time.” –The Seattle Times 
“Exquisitely timed… The Man Who Quit Money is a slim, quick read that belies the weightiness underneath. The very quality that makes us see a “man walking in America” (Suelo’s words) and be simultaneously attracted and repelled is exposed here in beautiful detail.” –The Missoula Independent

“In America, renunciation breaks the rules, but, as everyone evicted from Zuccotti Park or bludgeoned at Berkeley or just steamed in-between knows, the rules require breaking. Sundeen… sets out to understand the process and logic behind a money-free lifestyle while tracing the spiritual, psychological, physical, and philosophical quest that led this particular man to throw over our society’s arguably counterfeit-yet-prevailing faith in money, or, more precisely, in debt.” –The Rumpus 
“A fascinating subject… both resonant as a character study and infinitely thought-provoking in its challenge to all our preconceptions about modern life—and about the small and large hypocrisies people of all philosophies and religious paths assume they need to accept.” –The Salt Lake City Weekly 
“Thoughtful and engrossing biography that also explores society’s fixation with financial and material rewards...Although few readers will even consider emulating Suelo’s scavenger lifestyle, his example will at least provoke some serious soul-searching about our collective addiction to cash.” –Booklist 

About the Author

Mark Sundeen's work has appeared in The New York Times, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and The Believer. He is the author of Car Camping and The Making of Toro, and co-author of the New York Times bestselling North by Northwestern. He lives in Colorado. Author website:

More About the Author

Mark Sundeen is the author of The Man Who Quit Money, published by Riverhead/Penguin. His nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, the Believer, and elsewhere. His previous books are Car Camping (HarperCollins, 2000), The Making of Toro (Simon & Schuster, 2003), and North By Northwestern (St. Martin's, 2010, co-written with Sig Hansen), which was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. He has taught fiction and nonfiction at the MFA creative writing programs at the University of New Mexico and Southern New Hampshire University, as well as the Taos Summer Writers' Conference. He lives in Montana and Utah. Learn more at and

Customer Reviews

You will have a hard time putting this book down.
This book will change your views on life and the society in which we live in.
Anol Roeder
The book itself is well-written in an interesting and easy to read style.
erika kar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

159 of 165 people found the following review helpful By Damian Nash on March 22, 2012
Format: Paperback

It is an honor to be called "Daniel's best friend" in this gripping book about him. The author, Mark Sundeen, recounts how Daniel Suelo learned to live abundantly by rejecting our cultural beliefs about money. Daniel and I were roommates at the University of Colorado 25 years ago and have remained close ever since, living in the same tiny town in the desert. So the stories in this book are familiar and dear to me. Sundeen describes Daniel's many adventures with vivid detail and incredulous mirth, letting the reader decide if he is a Prophet for our times or just a lovable, amusing and interesting bum. In my opinion, Sundeen makes a serious case for how Suelo contends for the Dos Equis beer title of "the most interesting man in the world," as he barely wins all-out fistfights with Death and personal demons on glaciers in Alaska, in a monastery in Thailand, high in a redwood tree in Oregon, in a remote village in Ecuador, and finally atop one of Colorado's highest peaks.

Sundeen also captured the highlights of each major stage in Daniel's spiritual life, showing his growth from an enthusiastic fundamentalist to a serious Old Testament scholar to a mystical cultural anthropologist to a gifted student of world religion to a disillusioned social worker to a desert naturalist to a beloved hobo to a profound visionary in our troubled economic times. Moreover, Sundeen paints Daniel's portrait against the canvas of recent social and financial trends in America. He interrelates trickle-down Reaganomics, the rise of neo-Conservatism, the Religious Right and multinational corporations with the Occupy movement, the Rainbow gathering, environmental activism, social welfare programs, the growing rich-poor gap and "freegans" around the world.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Chris La Tray on March 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
A fascinating, thought-provoking, inspiring read that is very well written. Sundeen nails the story of Suelo and does an excellent job of showing the man, warts and all. There aren't too many counter-arguments to Suelo's choices that aren't raised, and the responses, whether one agrees or not, are thoughtful. I knew I'd like this book; didn't expect to like it as much as I did. A must read, particularly for people not opposed to holding a mirror up to their own lifestyle choices.
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69 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Tuttle on April 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read this book after high praise from my mom. She knows my tastes and is usually spot on with her recommendations. Several others I know also read the book and their reviews were also positive. So, I had high expectations from the get go.

Besides the interest of reading about a man who gave up money, I also have ties to the Moab area. I have friends and family there and have spent many days hiking, biking, and floating. I can understand why one would choose this as a place to "find oneself".

Unfortunately, I never got into the story. I found myself halfway through the book and not really caring about the character, I couldn't get behind or into his struggles. Although his problems weren't mundane, I know of others who have overcome much greater struggles and inner turmoil. And yet there are no books about them.

As one reviewer put it, the author lets us decide if "he is a Prophet for our times or just a highly amusing bum". Unfortunately, I came down on the side of the latter. I suspect he's very endearing and engaging in person, but to me that didn't come across in the book. I got the impression he's a well traveled and intelligent freegan, hardly a worthy subject for an entire book.

One thing that continually grated me: money is not the evil, greed is. Money is just a tool. A pitchfork in the hands of a farmer is good, in the hands of an angry mob, a weapon. They're both the same tool.

Finally, it's not a bad book and I don't feel cheated by the time spent. I learned that I have a lot to learn about world religions. Also, I'm going to find out more about William James (he's come up in my last two reads). But as far as any resonance in my life afterwards, this book didn't do it - and to me this is the delineation of a good read and a great one.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Whitey on March 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You will have a hard time putting this book down. Both the writing and the subject matter are extraordinary. I was not only entertained by Mark Sundeen's portrayal of Daniel Suelo, I was moved to consider my own relationships with love, money, and spirituality. Sundeen has masterfully illustrated the complications of living an uncomplicated life.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By B Reilley on March 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is All-Time. First and foremost it is a compelling story of how a man ventured from an unusual childhood in Colorado to South America, to a community in Utah, to life and death adventure in Alaska, to Thailand and India and back again. The book tackles interesting practical questions-Where does he eat? Has he almost died (hint: yes, a few times)? Does he have a love life? The book also has many fascinating and well-researched pages on the US western frontier, religion, and the origins of paper money itself, and how these make up the American identity in my daily life. I had no idea. This work has humor, drama, adventure, and history, kind of like, let me see, let's say a Walden, On the Road, The Razor's Edge, and Into Thin Air all in one. Keep your eye on this author, this book had me staying up late to turn the pages.
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