The Man Who Quit Money by Mark Sundeen

In these trying times, budgeting is the word of the day, every day, to many.  What if money were not part of the equation at all?  The Man Who Quit Money is about an individual who has lived off the monetary grid since 2000. 

Our hero is Daniel Suelo, an fifty-something itinerant man who has done stints in the Peace Corps, medical clinics, and the open road.  Convinced that money and its trappings were contributing to a long-running personal depression, Suelo left his last thirty dollars in a phone booth and walked away toward a happier life.  Through personal resourcefulness and an extreme openness to the universe, he makes it work. 

Daniel came to his peculiar world view through a fairly rigid fundamentalist upbringing – his parents belonged to the Plymouth Brethren and were strict as to biblical interpretation, but were both surprisingly open about things.  Suelo went to the University of Colorado to study medicine, but other things, namely other religious traditions, led him onto a different path. 

The Man Who Quit Money recreates Suelo’s life story as a fascinating yarn, crisscrossing often between past and present.  Sundeen’s approach reminds me of Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Last American Man (she has a brief endorsement on the book cover), which is to say it’s a page-turner – if you like reading about people who live differently from the status quo, Daniel Suelo is a prime example of someone who does. 

The book is also a great introduction into the strange and wonderful subculture that pervades Moab, Utah.  The town has been a magnet for alternate thinkers for ages.  Someone like Daniel Suelo fits right in. 

Other books/DVDs of interest:

Mongo: Adventures in Trash by Ted Botha

The Gleaners and I (DVD) by Agnes Varda

Into the Wild by John Krakauer

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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