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The Man Who Quit Money Paperback – March 6, 2012
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"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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I quite enjoyed 'The Man Who Quit Money,' as to grant it the rare five stars.
It is, first, well-written for a book of its type, with a clean, down-to-earth narrative... Read more
Just ok.Though moneyless, he has no problem using publicly funded facilities including libraries, roads,ect. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Paula Halay
Really enjoyed this book. Well written and provided some interesting insights into the economy and wold of money which we all find ourselves a part of.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The freedom of entering the market with X amount of money is akin to standing on a highway with your life savings tucked in a pocket wondering what will happen next. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Passin' Through
...not saying it's the life I completely want to live, but it showed that there a ways that are different, and that's ok.Published 3 months ago by Teresa Van Earden
Was mostly what I assumed it would be.
Decent read but definitely not a how to tell all book