Maxed Out by James D. Scurlock

If you finance your life with a brace of credit cards, this book may stop you in your tracks.  On the Maxed_out other hand, if you lead a cash-only existence, Maxed Out will definitely reinforce your convictions – you’ll probably recommend it to everyone you know.  Scurlock does a thorough, humorous muckraking of the credit industry in the U.S.  The individuals he interviews redefine debt as a numerical horror show that’s (seemingly) hard to imagine for the average American.  Or is it?

The author takes on all aspects of the credit “industry” – unwanted credit card mailers, credit counseling scams, out of control government spending, etc.  He spares nothing with his scrutiny.  It’s a good thing – the institutions that he targets deserve every barb. 

When reading, I found it overwhelming to take in the very swiftness in which credit debt has infiltrated the average person’s lifestyle, according to Scurlock.  It’s also quite chilling to find out how much some financial institutions know about our personal lives.  But despite the pessimistic outlook of our present debt-ridden situation as Maxed Out depicts it, Scurlock infuses enough humor into his observations to make it a good read, if indeed an eye opener.  The credit cards just won’t look as inviting as they used to be.  To quote Bill Monroe:  I got some scissors if you need ’em…

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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