- Title The Moneyless Man
- Author Mark Boyle
- Year 2010
- Genre Memoir
Imagine living for an entire year without money. Where do you live? What do you eat? How do you stay in touch with your friends and family? Former businessman Mark Boyle thought he’d give it a try. In a world of seasonal foods, solar panels, skill-swapping schemes, cuttlefish toothpaste, and compost toilets, Boyle puts the fun into frugality and offers some great tips for economical and environmentally friendly living. By following his own strict rules, he learns ingenious ways to eliminate his bills and flourish for free. Heart-warming, witty, and full of money-saving tips, The Moneyless Man will inspire you to ask what really matters in life.
I sort of had to split this book into two things as I was reading - one was the memoir of what Mark did, and one was the manifesto of freeconomic living. The two elements worked very differently. As a memoir, it’s brilliant. Mark is open and honest, upfront about the challenges of living like this, about his thoughts and doubts, and experiences along the way. It’s an interesting idea and one that is worth thinking about, so raising the profile of the problems money causes is great.
However, as a manifesto, it leaves quite a lot to be desired. There are problems with using this experiment as a flagship way of living - it wouldn’t be the experience of a lot of other people. Mark is a healthy, young, sort-of single man with no dependents. There’s not a lot of room for kids, for injuries, or vulnerability in this lifestyle. Boyle even thinking to question why an older woman wouldn’t just hitchhike a vast distance was absolutely infuriating, even if he does acknowledge his privilege at the same time.
But I still think it’s an important book, eye-opening, and if it makes you think about making even the smallest of changes in your lifestyle, then it’s worth it.
Rating: 3 / 5