Friday, October 18, 2013

"The Man Who Quit Money" by Mark Sundeen ~ a review

75 pages in I could not continue.  This is the true story of Daniel Suelo who literally walked away from using money in any way, shape or form, to live.  Adopting a philosophy of living only on what others throw away, and only taking what is truly given with no strings or ties or expectations, the man lives in caves in the Moab area, which I believe, is in Utah.  His cave is open to whoever wants to go in and he freely offers the things he has if others want them.  While the premise and idea captured my interest, I mean, really in our culture how does one achieve living without money?, I soon grew bored of the mish mash of religious ideals that seem to motivate the man and the book.   He was raised fundamentalist Christian but seems to have just taken what he wants from that and mixes it together with a bunch of religions thoughts creating what he thinks is right for him, stating that Jesus himself was homeless and itinerant and lived off of what others gave Him.   (Do I even need to say that Jesus also said to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and was trained in carpentry by his father and Paul the apostle even worked making tents so that he could support himself and not live off of others?) 

 While throwing away using money for himself, Daniel has no problem using someone else's money in the form of taking rides or meals or whatever else.  He is a squatter in national parks, using the thought that they are public property and he has every right.  He refuses to eat at soup kitchens stating that they expect something in return, instead he takes from dumpsters, restaurants and individuals whom he had deemed freely give to him.   He goes to the library and uses their computers to do whatever it is that he does.   Is it only in my mind that money had to pay for the vehicle, insurance and gas, coming out of the pockets of those who offer him a ride?  Do tax dollars not pay for the parks to remain public and for their upkeep?  Do restaurants not pay for the food they order with money in order for them to be able to make meals?  Is the library he is so "freely" using not funded by tax dollars taken from the population after they have worked hard to earn a living?    His teeth were fixed by a dentist who did it for free, but did the dentist not have to pay for the materials he used?  With money?   But as long as it's freely offered with no expectations on him I guess, it's ok with him.  He does work, when he feels like it, volunteering his time at charities, never in exchange for money.  

While there were some good thoughts to think on, especially on the areas of the wastefulness the North  American culture generates in everything from food to pleasure items, the position he takes, is to me an extreme position and a lot of it just made me mad.  Is he really advocating we all quit jobs that pay money and live where ever we feel like at the moment, taking off others?  Soon there would be no excess for him to live off of and then where would he and all of us be?  Or is this a just a handy lifestyle he's taken on so he can do whatever he wants, when he wants and not have any worries or be responsible or accountable to anyone?  It is not money that is evil, but the love of money and the greed and excess it produces.   Being a literate and seemingly intelligent individual, would it not be better for him to be a contributor to society and put his intelligence to use to come up with a way to help those who really are on the fringes and dealing with homelessness and poverty through no fault of their own or circumstances of life that have hit them, rather than choosing to walk away and make some kind of extreme statement, becoming a glorified bum with no responsibilities towards anyone?  Would it not be better to come up with a way to teach and bring awareness to excesses of society, other than just removing one's self from it and living off of others?   

Now in all fairness, just to state again, I could not finish the book, but these were my thoughts on what I pushed myself through to read.


6 comments:

Janet said...

I was intrigued by the premise of this book and started to read it, too, but I abandoned it much earlier than you did! I didn't get far enough to formulate my thoughts on why I didn't like it, but I appreciate everything you've said here. It's fine to give up money as long as everyone else around you doesn't.

nikkipolani said...

What Janet said: "Fine to give up money as long as everyone else doesn't." Though the man has made a lifestyle out of free-loading, the book seems pretty gimmicky. And as far as you got into it, didn't seem to address any of your valid points.

Barbara H. said...

I'd get pretty steamed about this, too. I agree with you completely. This is sponging off people, completely foreign to the pioneer mindset of living off the land and bartering what you have.

Faith said...

Barbara H took the words and thoughts right outta my mouth and mind! I saw this book in a local bookstore and at first was intrigued...in fact, I was gonna put it on my library wish list....now I am taking it off!! ICK!!!!! that man seems a bit selfish to me...sponging off people and trying to come across as a great pioneer and "living off the land"....um...no. God has given us all talents to use to be a blessing to others and he also said we need to be using those giftings and tithing!! how does this man tithe???? oh wait...he doesn't earn money!! so...he can't tithe! UGH...thanks for the review as I will make sure to NOT read this.

S. Hodges said...

Might I suggest before writing a review that you at least finish the book and for those who have chosen to comment at least read the book! When a subject invokes such a strong reaction it is often because those individuals have the most to learn!

Susanne said...

S. Hodges: Fair enough, but on the same token I stated twice that I had not finished the book because I could not get past the first 75 pages and that these were my thoughts on those pages that I did read. And just as some put out glowing reviews of books it is fair play that those, such as myself, who couldn't finish it state that they couldn't and give the reasons why.