Books & Review
Updated: Jun 15, 2012 01:02 PM EDT

"The Man Who Quit Money"

"The Man Who Quit Money"
(Photo : Riverhead Books)

Daniely Suelo has lived without a dime to his name for 12 years. In 2000, leaving his entire life savings in a phone booth, he made a radical decsion to go moneyless. His savings at the time was just a meager thirty dollars but the act of leaving the money behind was a symbolic gesture for a new beginning in his life.

In a new(ish) book "The Man Who Quit Money" written by Mark Sundeen and published in March, Suelo's monumental decision is traced from his motivations to how he's managed to survive with no money for more than a decade. The book was on the San Francisco Chronicle's bestseller list for 5 weeks.

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Suelo's quest is as much personal as it is a call for a universal awakening. He has said that he had been dismayed by the corrupting force of money for many years, particularly after returning from a Peace Corps mission in Ecuador. Seeing that money was at the root of social problems there as it was in the U.S. made him rethink his way of living and questioned the possibility of a life without money. 

I wanted to be a sadhu (a wandering holy man who renounces material attachments)," Suelo told Sundeen in the book. "But what good would it do for me to be a sadhu in India? A real test of faith would be to go back to one of the most materialistic, money-worshipping countries on earth and be a sadhu there."  

Suelo grew up in an evangelical Christian household and he says that spirituality has always been important to him. He also said that since he was a child he's been intrigued with the idea of living without money. During an interview with Joshua Becker of the blog "becoming minimalist" Suelo said, "I wondered why, if we were followers of Jesus, we didn't practice his teachings-namely giving up possessions and doing not for the sake of reward (money and barter), but giving freely and receiving freely. 

Logistically, Suelo has survived on the trash and kindness of others. When he's not eating wild vegetation or road-killed animals in Northwestern states such as Utah or Oregon, he scavenges dumpsters and at times gets fed by strangers and friends. He is quick to point out that he does not take food stamps of government handouts though he does not pass judgement on those who do.

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