Required Reading: The Man Who Quit Money

Live free or die trying

Man Who Quit Money

Outside correspondent Mark Sundeen's account of Daniel Suelo's life without money     Photo: Courtesy of Penguin Group USA

On a snowy night in 2000, Daniel Suelo, a 39-year-old resident of Moab, Utah, left his last $30 in a phone booth. It was a grand gesture to free himself from what he called “the servitude of money.” Among the many disquieting surprises of The Man Who Quit Money (Riverhead, $15), Outside correspondent Mark Sundeen’s account of Suelo’s life, is how well it worked out. For more than a decade, Suelo has dumpster-dived, couch-surfed, and scavenged America’s excess. And this being 21st-century America, he has blogged about it. Sundeen deftly portrays him as a likable, oddly sage guy (albeit with bad teeth) who finds happiness in radical simplicity. Does he make us want to ditch our Volvos and Völkls? Not entirely, but Suelo personifies a critique that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt remorse on the treadmill of getting and spending.

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