Tag Archives: mark boyle

the moneyless man

The Moneyless Man by Mark Boyle, read by David Thorpe

From Audible:

Imagine a year without spending – or even touching – money. Former businessman Mark Boyle did just that and here is his extraordinary story. Going back to basics and following his own strict rules, Mark learned ingenious ways to eliminate his bills and discovered that good friends are all the riches you need.

Encountering seasonal foods, solar panels, skill-swapping schemes, cuttlefish toothpaste, compost toilets, and – the unthinkable – a cash-free Christmas, Boyle puts the fun into frugality and offers some great tips for economical (and environmentally friendly) living. A testament to Mark’s astounding determination, this witty and heart-warming book will make you re-evaluate your relationship to your wallet.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

This is the first book that Mark Boyle wrote and the start of his journey that culminated in his living completely without technology as well as money. This was covered in a previous review of The Way Home.

I did enjoy listening to this and definitely didn’t find it boring. However, I felt it was a bit light on the day to day details of life without money. The main reason for writing the book was to promote the Freeconomy concept and to encourage others to give it a try and get involved. He spends a lot of time explaining the Freeconomy concept and the ethos behind it as well as giving tips and information. He also goes into detail why he feels that society needs to change. He doesn’t come across as preachy in any way and does a good job of promoting the lifestyle but I was expecting something more along the lines of his other book and was disappointed not to get the details of life without money.

The best section for me was describing how he managed to get from Bristol to Donegal for Xmas without spending money or compromising his ideals. This involved an appearance on RTE’s Grainne Seoige Show. The narrator is English and it did make me giggle listening to him trying to pronounce her surname. I think I heard at least 4 different attempts and none of them correct!

The narrator was good but had a slightly irreverent tone throughout the whole book. This suited the early chapters that are written in a very self-deprecating style but I found it a bit jarring in some of the more serious later sections.

Overall a good book and I’d recommend reading it before The Way Home.

Finally, I only realised this morning that I saw Mark Boyle being interviewed on The Tommy Tiernan Show a few months ago. The video clip below is short piece of that interview.

Header image source: fossbytes.com

the way home

The Way Home by Mark Boyle, read by Gerard Doyle

From Audible:

It was 11:00 pm when I checked my email for the last time and turned off my phone for what I hoped would be forever.

No running water, no car, no electricity or any of the things it powers: the internet, phone, washing machine, radio, or light bulb. Just a wooden cabin, on a smallholding, by the edge of a stand of spruce. 

The Way Home is a modern-day Walden – an honest and lyrical account of a remarkable life lived in nature without modern technology. Mark Boyle, author of The Moneyless Man, explores the hard-won joys of building a home with his bare hands, learning to make fire, collecting water from the stream, foraging, and fishing. 

What he finds is an elemental life, one governed by the rhythms of the sun and seasons, where life and death dance in a primal landscape of blood, wood, muck, water, and fire – much the same life we have lived for most of our time on earth. Revisiting it brings a deep insight into what it means to be human at a time when the boundaries between man and machine are blurring.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I find it hard to explain why I enjoyed this so much. It’s far from exciting and the story jumps around a lot, not just within the author’s own life, but also between his development of the smallholding and the islanders of the Blaskett Isles. I think my enjoyment stems from the openness of the author. He is very aware of his faults but also proud of his achievements. He doesn’t try to glorify his struggle without modern technologies but neither does he romanticise his new life.

He also openly acknowledges his struggle to live his new life without technology but also exist in the modern world. At times he must make compromises in order to see his parents and to help his neighbours. He’s also starting from scratch so in order to become established he needs to use the proceeds or results of modern technology.

The reader in this case brings a lot to the experience. I believe I enjoyed this more as an audiobook than I would have as a regular book. Once I became used to his pronunciation and tone, his voice added to the story making it a richer and more enjoyable experience.

Header image source: fossbytes.com