The Man Who Quit Money

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 April, 2012, 12:00am


The Man Who Quit Money
by Mark Sundeen
Riverhead Books (e-book)

Mark Sundeen's subject is, as the title implies, a man who gave up money. Twelve years ago, Daniel Suelo (the name he gave himself after discarding his passport) decided no longer to be part of the capitalist system. The man set up house in caves in Utah and started living on wild fruit and vegetables, roadkill and expired food scavenged from dumpsters. Friends and strangers also helped. Sundeen, who squatted with Suelo many years before, makes much of the fact that while everyone else grapples with 'tax deductions, variable-rate mortgages, retirement plans', Suelo has only his health to worry about. Sundeen points out that Suelo is no hermit, keeping up with friends and meeting new ones via a website he maintains from a public library, and that he is no monk. Readers might wonder, however, whether Suelo is just a tramp with an agenda: he doesn't beg, yet accepts handouts readily and sometimes works as a volunteer in exchange for food or services. The book will force readers to think about what is important in life. But a better volume on a similar subject is Elizabeth Gilbert's The Last American Man.