But what if it isn't?
I came upon this book rather accidentally in a used bin having never heard of it, or the author. The title seemed interesting and since it was free I decided to give the book a go.
What would it be like to live without money for a year? What would it be like to part with everything except exactly what was needed? That is the premise at the middle of Mr. Boyle's book.
The story here is more economic than minimalist, and a good deal more focused at social justice than other books on connecting with what is essential as well. At the center of it though the same questions are asked:
- What is really necessary to have a fulling life?
- Do things and money define us?
- How can we continue on our currently destructive path as a society?
Mr. Boyle focuses on "freeconomy" which is the free exchange of resources, knowledge, skills, time, and friendship without the expectation of an immediate pay-off. Its a bold bet on the goodness of man.
The book walks you through Mark's journey in securing housing, transportation, community connection, food, and other common needs without the benefit of money to grease the wheels. He connects with resources right under our noses and works out elaborate systems to get his basic needs met. Along the way he creates memories he shares with his readers that presents him as rather endearing.
I did struggle with some of the ideas he shows support for in the book though. He is a strong advocate for "Organic" food production. Perhaps the UK has more clear standards as to what exactly that term really means compared to the U.S. but I found myself looking sideways at several statements he made on the matter regardless. Mr. Boyle also seems to at minimum support naturalistic "medicine", but also seems to dip his toe into homeopathy as well, regardless of how much both have been either disproved or lack any evidence supporting their validity.
That said these more troublesome and minimally sited statements are but a small distraction from a wider work that presents a solid case for living with less, rethinking one's connection to money, and how they connect with others. These vitally important points rise well above the farmer's market conspiracy theory notions thrown around.
Along the way Mark learns a great deal about himself and is never the same again. Overall, I found this book motivating and quirky. I can't say I made new discoveries in this book having read and being interest in reading about alternative lifestyles for some time. At the same time this book is very accessible and provides good insight. I recommend it overall, but like anything take what you need from it, and respin it into your own journey.