on 13 January 2014
I am a left-leaning, mainly vegan, socialist simplicity seeker who loves reading books about environmental issues, 'downsizing' and philosophy around the way the current materialistic and capitalist system is shaping everything from the built environment to human happiness. So surely this is the book for me, right?
I have the audiobook, and my heart started to sink as I heard the author start with his little simplified explanation of how in the past everyone happily bartered, and then someone came along and invented money, and debt, and then things went pear shaped. Sorry, but this is just totally inaccurate, especially the whole 'everyone used to barter' idea. Perhaps the author should have read a book such as 'Debt: The First 5,000 Years' by David Graeber, which explains why this is just simply untrue (and is a much better book about the effects of debt and money).
There are also some other philosophical and historical ideas that really rubbed me the wrong way - Boyle falls in to the 'noble savage' fallacy idea at times that primitive tribes that weren't as materialistic didn't have theft or crime or whatever - and he can be very, very judgemental of other people's choices, alternating his 'my way or the highway' standpoint with some really naive viewpoints such as that you don't notice the changing of the seasons if you live in a city (speak for yourself), or that everyone except those that live in isolated country can connect with nature.
I really wanted to like this book. And I think his experiment, and many of the ideas behind it, are valuable. But his philosophy, writing style and frank naivety were off-putting for me.
on 20 January 2013
One thing i must express before i write about this wonderful book is my surprise at the kinds of criticism towards it. It's one thing to be put off by the lifestyle that Boyle promotes in the book, but some of the views seem almost bitter, or dare i say it, tinged with a hint of jealousy that Boyle has recieved a little publicity as a freeconomist. One comment even suggested that this book should never have been printed in order that it keep with the beliefs of freeconomy. How else are we(the non freeconomists) supposed to learn about freeconomy if no one writes/blogs about it? Psychically? Some have also suggested that Boyle is preaching to the converted, but i think people have to remember that it's not just freeconomists or those with knowledge of freeconomy who are going to read it. I feel personally that Mark was probably NOT aiming at freeconomists, but that's just my opinion. I think he may have been aiming it at people like me, people who are tired of the money problem, yet have no knowledge of any other way. i really learned a lot from this book. In my opinion there are not enough books out there promoting this lifestyle. (and just imagine if every single person that cared about freeconomy, instead of finding fault with each other, supported each other and genuinly believed they were a team, a family; imagine what could be achieved!)
The Moneyless Man was a brilliant read. While of course i'm not certain, i imagine that most people in their lives have wondered "what if", what if you somehow found yourself faced with living in the outdoors with no money, no heat, no food. Would you have what it took to survive? It's a book that clearly affects people in different ways as can be seen in the positive and negative feedback. For myself, it made me recall all the teachings that my father gave me, about trees and how to identify them, about the various wild plants. It made me look at nature in a different way. If you were starving for food and had no access to any, it's nice to think that dandilions and nettles are, at the very least, a substitute. I think this would be an enjoyable, interesting book for many people, especially those who are tired of the ways of modern day civilisation.
on 9 June 2011
Thanks to Mark Boyle for sharing his experience through his book - The Money-less Man- I suggest that his 'journey' is more than a 'survival manual' or a busy 'eco-talk'.
This book is a gem to me. Showing genuine care and deep insights accomplished by a good sense of humour, shared as they appealed naturally to Mark.
I'm inspired and motivated. I feel wholeheartedly happy that another man walking this Earth has changed this world by 'being the change' himself.
He cooperates with people and the environment. The whole theory is brought here in considerate action.
(in my opinion it is also about working the best with whatever we have and created..incl. money, system...and balance it back. Publicity here is necessary to get results for sustainability... the NOW)
Even though English isn't my first language 'The Money-less Man' is easy to read, empowering and educating.
Just by reading it I am invited to participate in environmental care and friendly community, without hearing what is right or wrong and without clichéd judgements of one's action.
Any questions I may have after reading it would be answered by a community of infinite Love.
Mark's book has had no end for me, it left me with an open door for me to continue my own spiritual journey which Mark has helped me to realise......
on 1 June 2010
Just finished a fascinating story about an even more fascinating project. I found it really funny and moving and an insight into a creative way of dealing with some of the problems we now face as a society. Not sure I agree with all of the arguments, but it's given me a lot to think about. I enjoy reading about different philosophies and ways of looking at the world and this book gave me both.
I am very impressed and this is the best book I have read since Tom Hodgkinson's "How to be free".
on 3 June 2010
I have just finished reading The Money-Less Man - it is a great read!
The book is interesting and very easy to read. It taught me several new things, reminded me of things I had forgotten and re-iterated things I already do myself. The book is set at the right pace and tone for anyone to pick up and is casual enough to read on holiday (if you so wish), but informative enough that your brain can explode with easily applicable ideas! I intend to go back through and pick out some of the skills shared and use the list of websites at the back.
I found the beginning of the book more informative, passionate and well structured than the end. As I am keen on all topics environmental I am not resistant to any of the ideas suggested so they could be phrased any way and I would consider them. However even my partner (fairly resistant and new to all of this) couldn't resist picking it up and was soon 30 pages in before remarking what a good book it is! I think it's an excellent book to share with others to introduce them to new ways of thinking and it is on the whole appropriate for everyone, I couldn't find anything offensive just thought provoking. :)
I found the book reassuring in it's discussions of how many people were prepared to help with so many different things, you really get a sense of there being lots of like minded people out there. The book also reveals Mark's personal journey of thinking and leads him to a point of being less preachy and more supportive of people who may be living in more consumerist ways. Although it is good to be supportive it's also good to be passionate and determined and not resolve that so long as everyone switches to energy savings bulbs that's good enough, because it's not good enough. Mark doesn't reach such a point but he comes close and could benefit from continuing to be clear about his passions as is highly represented at the beginning of the book.
Mark addresses many of the criticisms thrown at him during the year from readers, journalists, tv presenters, friends and communities with explanation and facts and accepts that he may have made errors along the way. Mark makes it very clear that he is not suggesting we live in a money-less society tomorrow, more that we use our current position (with or without money) to create a more sustainable way of living in the future. Money can have it's place in our current money driven society in making a difference, for example Mark's proposal to use the proceeds of this book to buy land for a freeconomic community, you can't buy land with anything else at the moment to my knowledge and I think Mark is right to keep one foot in a realist camp and suggest that we use our current money position to better the future.
I think a second book would be lovely to come out of this, not a 2nd year of money-less living, please, but perhaps a manual type book done in Mark's style (much as he explains rocket stoves and keeping clean without soap) with additions from his favourite mentors and friends (Fergus I'm looking at you here, and all the others he mentions) as a way of truly sharing skills in detail. I realise Mark's focus, and he is right, is on learning from doing, however a book is a good way for lots of people to begin and is a stepping stone to bigger things. This is not to negate all the brilliant books that are out there already. There's a lot of tips and tricks books and websites, but they don't always get down to the details of dirt, condensation, shoe making, the actual practical ongoing living skills rather than the 'turn your t-shirt into a bag' which certainly has it's place, and is very fun, but there's an abundance of less useful eco-information out there already.
I love Mark's statement "My experience has been that when you give freely, with no thought of what you'll get in return, you receive freely, without fail". This is the way I have strived to live more recently, Mark's book contains hundreds of examples of this working out, and in my experience so far it definitely works out well and makes you happier. On top of all these positives, any communication I have had with Mark he has responded to with kindness so he even seems like a great person!! :)
on 29 May 2010
I am a member of the online Freeconomy community and have followed Mark's blog through the past year, so I was aware of some of the trials, tribulations, and joys that Mark has faced over the year covered in this book. I bought it because I believe what Mark is doing is both an interesting exploration of modern society (do we really need all this "stuff"?) and a noble philosophy (being free and open, giving with no desire to receive, can benefit us all) and I hoped I would gain some insights into how on earth you can really live without money.
The Moneyless Man asks some difficult questions and while I may not agree with all of the answers, it is a thought-provoking, inspiring, and well written documentary of a year filled with emotional and mental highs and lows. Maintaining a narrative style throughout, it's full of practical advice, thoughts on how we live our lives, and presents well sourced data when necessary without being full of numbers. Oh, and it's funny (and occasionally tragic) too!
It seems that "being the change you want to see" is not just a mantra, but something someone can really do.
[Caveat: I've met Mark and I'm mentioned in this book. Which I did not expect, until he told me!]
I decided to buy this book because I was in a crippling financial position at the time and needed all the help that I could get.
I was drawn in to the book from the onset and couldn't put it down. The book is well written and the information is structured in such a way that enables you to absorb a significant amount of information quickly with minimal effort. I read the book in two days.
The book activated a wide range of emotions in me throughout and it made me want to experience his journey for myself.
I viewed the world in a different way after I read it and I felt very guilty about some of the life choices that I have made throughout my life. I have now made many positive changes to my life since reading the book which has benefited me, the local community and the environment.
If you are thinking about buying this book in order to save money and are expecting to see a list of 1,001 money saving tips you will be disappointed although there are a number of areas in the book that will save you money if implemented effectively (i highlighted the money saving sections as I read through the book which is much easier than having to read it again and search for them).
Summary: A thoroughly enjoyable and life changing book that will change the way you view the world
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on 16 March 2012
I had high hopes for this book but came away feeling jaded and a little cynical of the author's true motives.
Mark raises some great points about our capacity in the west to over consume and live unsustainably, but I get the feeling he's already preaching to the converted. The vast majority of people who read this book, like myself, have already come to the realisation long ago - probably way before the author did - that over consumption is directly correlated to money and the destruction of planet earth.
There's way too much of: "my well connected friend" this... and "my well connected friend" that... to not smack of a year long publicity stunt to achieve the aim of notoriety and thus potentially lucrative writing deals. Not to mention the flagrant contradictions that seem to crop up. For instance, supposedly giving up oil, yet hitch hiking to Ireland for christmas, and not feeling compelled to use local honey from a beekeeper, if the beekeeper gives sugar to his bees, because the inherent CO2 production wrapped up in sugar production (plus stealing/"foraging" honey from bees wouldn't be very vegan), yet happily using nepalese soap nuts for his washing "foraged from a local eco store that had gone out of business" (probably because everyone was "foraging" waste from its bins after closing)
I liked the concept of this book and I'm all for the environmental message and the re-building of communities through trust, but I just felt that, here was a man blagging his way through a year, who, although not spending money directly, relied heavily on someone else having to.
If the author really stayed true to his principles, that's if he had any to begin with, this book should never have been published, due to it's CO2 impact and use of oil in printing inks and the plastic of the matt laminate cover.
on 12 May 2011
Reading this book reminded me that most people lead a life based on the habits and aspirations of those around us: our family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues. Few people stop to question themselves as to whether this is the best course of action. To challenge the benefits of using money in a modern society is to shake the very foundation upon which most of humankind lives.
Amongst original thinkers, it is even rarer to find someone prepared to completely re-shape their lifestyle to adapt to an original philosophy. Mark Boyle is such a person. Having become convinced that the use of money is the root cause of excessive consumerism and that this is contributing to environmental degradation, human suffering and unsustainable lifestyles, he sets out to spend a year living in the UK without money. "The money-less man" is not just the account of successfully completing the challenge he set himself. It is an account of a journey of self discovery, of learning to give and accept instead of to buy and sell, and to tread lightly on the earth's fragile ecosystem. It is about taking time to enjoy doing simple things in life instead of constantly seeking faster ways of getting jobs done.
If you read this book, it is unlikely to motivate you to follow Mark Boyle's example of moneyless living. However it may make you realise that there are alternatives to the status quo. You might be inspired to grow some of your own food or collect wild food instead of buying it all in the supermarket, or to share your skills and possessions more freely with your friends and neighbours.
on 18 May 2011
The title really appealed to me, and the fact that the author lives in the same area of England. I read the book in less than a week as it was a very easy read and was a kind of 'diary', that made me feel as if I was a friend of Mark's:) Today's lack of care and respect for the FREE natural world, and cynicism of people who don't 'feed' into the consumer society really does make me /us feel sad ,but Mark's stand for the old way of life without a dependance on cash and 'style',makes the reading of his book a special uplifting experience.I am 66 years old and believe very much in his principles, its just great, to me that he's a young man with this passion to share the real life experience and use the book sale to continue the way of life ,a revolutionary spirit!