I heard Mark Boyle speak on NPR and was compelled to buy this book because I was hoping it would be detailed in how to live without money for a year. I was very disappointed. The book is 201 pages of large print. In this short book, it covered mostly the idea of human impact on the earth and what can be done differently in broad strokes. If that is what you are looking for I give the book 3 stars.
I will give you some examples of what I was hoping for.
During this year of no money he gains weight. This is despite being vegan, living off of mostly food he grew himself , foraged, or dumpster dived AND was extremely physically active. He would do 120 pushups every morning and ride his bike 60 miles a week. On the back cover of the book there is a picture of him with his shirt off and he is a beefcake. How did he accomplish this from a diet of chard and dandelions??? He did not write in detail on what he ate. Cooking? Again unclear - it almost seemed that all of his meals were steamed vegetables. For an entire year!!!! Then this gets into really how many meals was he provided as a barter exchange - again I have no idea because Mark did not elaborate. I would have been interested in what work did he do, and what kind of food did he get in exchange - I was hoping for all the nitty gritty. Finally, he had a vegetable garden going as he started his endeavor. Mark does not explain anything about the work done on this garden prior the start of the money less year. On page 135 he lists all the potential food he could eat during the summer. Nice list, but that is not telling a story. And what about the story during the non-summer months? The list has 31 items grown - does that mean Mark grew them all? That is an amazing feat in itself - but again, Mark does not elaborate.
I feel Mark glossed over various details to make it seem much easier to live with out money than it actually is. Some more examples: He supposedly drank from a river possibly exclusively. It did flood, and typically when rivers flood they get very murky - any issues drinking muddy water? Not mentioned.
He lives in a small trailer. Late fall and all of winter it is cold and dark around 6pm. How did he deal with this? Apparently a piece of cake. He has a hand crank flash light, and that is about all we know. How did he keep warm? What kind of clothes did he have? Bedding? He does not elaborate. If it is cold and you crawl into bed at 7pm - then what? Wake up 8 hours later in the dark at 3am? Mark does not explain - other that it is no problem. I suspect he was warming up as much a possible in peoples homes, or some building he was helping out at. I truly believe the cold and dark for months would be a struggle. He does not even allude to this, so I wonder if it is because he wants to maintain the impression that this lifestyle is so doable.
Towards the end of his moneyless year, he sets out chopping wood in March, so he would have it for fuel in case he decides to go for a 2nd year. What is unexplained is why did he have to do that for year 2 if he did not have to for year 1. Did he use up ALL the wood/fuel from other sources in year 1? No explanation.
He gets lonely and puts an ad out to find a date. Does not say where he posted the ad, and did any ladies respond. If none did - tells us about it. If some did, what did you do on your dates? How did it go? Who were the girls? Mark gives us nothing.
Mark writes about the great thing about hitchhiking is meeting great people. He does some hitchhiking, but does not give us a crumb on any of these great people he met.
He has skills in raising food and foraging. Not a peep about how he learned these skills.
I thought I was going to read a book full of daily life details on such an interesting undertaking. But what I got mostly was theories on what is wrong with the world, how it could be different, and only broad strokes on the daily life being moneyless.