Reddit Reddit reviews Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream

We found 13 Reddit comments about Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream
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13 Reddit comments about Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream:

u/mugrimm · 25 pointsr/ChapoTrapHouse

I think people really underestimate the power of the rich and powerful to seclude themselves. It's why weird shit like spirit cooking and pizzagate are so believable, because the banal story of what actually goes down is so insane people assume there is malice. A bunch of rich powerful people doing hippie drum circles they call spirit cooking seems like something too fake to be real, but it's the kind of thing that totally happens.

There's an insular nature of wealth when combined with power that is just absolutely stunning to watch, and I really do think it has so much to do with how both society and politics are organized. Every CEO involved in the VR homeless simulator had no idea how awful it would look because to them it was this cool woke thing they were doing.

It's not that they work hard at it or it's their singular goal. They are very correct when they say that their time is valuable, so most of the time it's simply them choosing to not engage with anything that makes them feel uncomfortable and having the support and mechanisms through society to accommodate their comfort.

This ideology is so damaging that people vie for recognition even when they're not of that class. Is it any wonder you have dumb fucks who write books about 'living like a homeless person to move up the ranks' who don't take into account their race/gender/college degree all as a means to portray the ideals of the ruling class. You get candidates like Clinton who cynically exploit the fact that ignoring class when talking about race and gender lets you focus on lots of fundraisers with local POC based chambers of commerce without having to step into icky working poor people apartments any more than you have to.

The degree of casual detachment is profound. People are making laws on lending practices who literally do not know what the fuck pawning something means or how profoundly awful payday lenders are.

They choose to use a different water source just to spite a public union and then get shocked when they're arrested for manslaughter because it ended up killing people.

They very openly talk about kicking 9% of the nation off their healthcare and then get absolutely shocked and offended that one of them gets shot over it.

The irony of course is that their fundamental belief that nothing is wrong and everything is working well because it's run by 'experts' (often credentialed literally by calling themselves experts and making the ruling class happy) is a big part of the problem. They love talking about the need for 'balance' and 'nuance' for precisely the reason populists are coming out everywhere to find any form of anti-elite movement. The system so perfectly helps them right now that any change, no matter how significant or beneficial, is viewed with disdain because it could ruin how comfortable they are.

People overestimate how good the ruling class is though at trying to quell dissent, because most of the time they don't see it there.

When Obama made MAJOR cuts to LIHEAP in the middle of one of the worst winters on record, he had to immediately use emergency federal funds to restore the program temporarily and it has happened every year since. This legislation and decision was viewed by at least 200 democrats, and not one in 200 thought "Hey, maybe we look for money somewhere else rather than heating oil for elderly people who will die if they don't get it".

All 200 of those people were former campaign workers, lobbyists, and elected officials and they had removed themselves from so much from the concerns of people on the ground that "Meh, Grandma's house will be 45 degrees instead of 65" seemed totally reasonable to them. We all have bubbles but most of us are forced to really interact with each other in some capacity at some point, but for the powerful it's a totally different story. It's how Hoover at the height of the great depression's start told soldiers marching for bonuses that the depression is over and his logic was literally "I haven't seen a single poor person in months!"

u/REInvestor · 18 pointsr/CrazyIdeas

There is a college-aged guy who did basically this a few years ago to counter Nickel and Dimed.

Book is called Scratch Beginnings and I think he started out homeless and ended with an apartment, a car, and like $5k in the bank after 1 year.

u/fuhko · 3 pointsr/needadvice

So I recently graduated with a 3.0 GPA with a Biology degree. I'm two months out and I've still been having a tough time finding a job. I wanted to go into research but lab jobs are scarce.

However, I have been taking some classes at my local community college and I discovered that there are some programs that are relatively cheap to get into. For example, getting certified as an EMT only costs a few thousand dollars or so. This is a lot but if you save up, you might be able to afford it.

Basically if you can't get a job in your field, look into getting retrained cheaply, either in Community College or trade school or even military. You may not necessarily want to do this immediately but think about it.

And I absolutely second JBlitzen's advice:

> It would be beneficial, though, for you to start asking yourself what value you intend to create for others. And how your current path will help you to do so.

Essentially, figure out a plan on what you want to do with your current skills. Next, figure out a backup plan if it goes bad.

It definitely sucks to graduate knowing that you didn't do so well in college. I feel for you man, I'm pretty much in the same spot. Don't give up, don't get discouraged, lots of people have been in worse situations and have come out OK. Just read the book Scratch Beginnings or Nothing to Envy. In both stories, the protagnoists succeed in overcoming incredible odds to live a good life.

Figure out what your dreams are and keep going after them. I believe you can reach them. And no, I'm not just saying that.


Also, network! Get to know your teachers and make sure they like you so you have references!!! Show interest in your classes this last semester. You have no idea how important personal references are. Better yet, ask your teachers if they know of any jobs or have any job advice.

All job searching is personal. Employers want to hire people they know will do a good job. Hence the need for personal connections or references (At least someone though this guy was competent.) or demonstrating interest in a particular position. You're still in school so you still have a solid amount of opportunities to network.

Also, some hepful links

u/thrownaway_MGTOW · 3 pointsr/MGTOW

>I need some advice.

Actually, I think you need the OPPOSITE.

You've been following everyone's advice -- shit like "go to college" and "follow your passion" and "here, dude take a toke on this and relaaaaax, man!" or your parents' enabling that "it's just a phase" and etc. -- for far too long.

That's why you're basically still a child in an adult body, and you're stuck in this "rut".

BTW it is a "phase"... but it's one you SHOULD have outgrown a long time ago. Yes, you're still (relatively) "young" -- probably what 22, maybe 24 or even 26? -- but that's arguably NOT very "young" anymore; it's certainly old enough for you to have gotten your proverbial "shit together".

Your problem is that you're surrounded by people who are still

  • feeding you the same kind of bullshit advice that got you into your present "rut"

  • who are "enabling" you in your drug addiction, your bullshit "whiney" attitude towards life... and

  • who are quite probably "codependent" types -- needing and feeding off of your still being basically a directionless "little boy";

  • you haven't learned "how to save" because YOU HAVEN'T HAD TO -- mummy & dada are always there to pick up the slack and pay for your basic necessities -- ergo all of your money gets blown on stupid shit (as if you were some 10 year old mowing lawns and buying comic books and bubble gum; except in your case it's porn & drugs).

  • you haven't learned "how to handle money" because again -- you HAVEN'T HAD TO -- you don't do any long term planning, you don't pay any basic "life necessity" bills, no rent, no utility bills, no grocery bills, nothing... you're living with "mommy" (who probably not only still washes & folds your underwear, but probably even still BUYS it for you).

    All of that is evident throughout EVERYTHING you wrote, to wit:

    >"I do not own a car or wish to learn to drive."

    What a pompous crock of pseudo-elite bullshit. Driving and/or owning a vehicle is a UTILITY FUNCTION -- it's how you get your ASS from point A to point B in time to do the days work; it's how you get supplies (food, etc) from the store back to your home -- and while in SOME places (certain population-dense urban environments -- say NYC -- you neither need nor want to drive a car to do things) in many places driving is NOT an "option" but a necessary skill (and one which if you DON'T acquire, you will forever be a BURDEN on others).

    This kind of a statement smacks -- to me -- of the "Oh I don't ever want to learn how to cook, that's what restaurants are for." or "I don't own a washer and dryer, and I refuse to do laundry."

    Doubtless you justify this "I don't want to drive" based on some bullshit you've been fed about being all "eco" and "green" and "save the planet" -- but it's complete BULLSHIT -- it's a euphemistic cover for an elitest mentality.

    So suck it up buttercup, and change your fucking bullshit attitude: if you NEED to learn how to drive, and move somewhere you NEED a vehicle, then learn it, and buy one. But ditch the "greenie" millennial SJW bullshit already. Nuff said.

    Or likewise this:

    >"I once had a reasonable passion for art, studying it has completely killed that and I now resent making anything remotely related. I cannot see myself working in this field any longer, [snip]"

    Oh BOOO fucking HOOOO!

    Listen dipshit. Despite what you've been told (especially by various "life lottery ticket winners" in HS graduation & college commencement speeches -- or even university enrollment marketing brochures {designed primarily to turn you into a "sucker" customer who pays tuition to "play" with shit they could do at home for a 1/4 the cost}); WORK isn't about "pursuing your passion" -- it's about doing whatever it is you are SKILLED AT, and then using it to make enough money to pay for your OWN food, shelter, clothes, etc. Being an ADULT is about doing the stuff that NEEDS to be done -- the toilet is backed up, you get the fucking plunger out and you plunge it; the toilet is broken you fix it (or work at something else to earn money so you can pay someone to fix it for you).

    Do you think the plumbers that fix toilets do it because they have a "passion" for it?


    You want to get OUT of the fucking "rut" of a life that you (and your 'rents, et al) have created around you?

    Well, what is actually stopping you? You want out of that "rut" you need to climb the fuck out of it.

    You need to GET AWAY from the bullshit place & people that are keeping you/enabling you to STAY in the "rut".

    GTFO of dodge, and go out and begin being responsible for yourself.

    You want "advice" and need an "example" -- go get this:
u/Thornsten · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Check out the book Scratch Beginnings (

The guy who wrote it picked a town out of a hat and bought a train ticket there bringing some clothes and I think $25 or $50 with the goal of having a job, furnished apartment, and paid-for vehicle within a year. He started out staying at homeless shelters and working day labor jobs. He did have a college degree but didn't tell anyone.

Good luck.

u/mrhymer · 2 pointsr/needadvice

Not easy but doable. Here is a book about it.

What can you get with $25 and a dream?

Adam Shepard graduated from college feeling disillusioned by the apathy around him and was then incensed after reading Barbara Ehrenreich's famous work Nickel and Dimed—a book that gave him a feeling of hopelessness about the working class in America. He set out to disprove Ehrenreich's theory—the notion that those who start at the bottom stay at the bottom—by making something out of nothing to achieve the American Dream.

Shepard's plan was simple. With a sleeping bag, the clothes on his back, and $25 in cash, and restricted from using his contacts or college education, he headed out for Charleston, South Carolina, a randomly selected city with one objective: to work his way out of homelessness and into a life that would give him the opportunity for success. His goal was to have, after one year, $2,500, a working automobile, and a furnished apartment.

Scratch Beginnings is the earnest and passionate account of Shepard's struggle to overcome the pressures placed on the homeless. His story will not only inspire readers but will also remind them that success can come to anyone who is willing to work hard—and that America is still one of the most hopeful countries in the world.

u/Naptownfellow · 2 pointsr/Libertarian

So, as a libtard, I’d say your went to far libertarian with the first book you got him. It’s kinda like sending a evangelical a Dawkins book. I’d suggest something a little tamer to start OR do what me and a libertarian friend of mine did. We bought each other a book, agreed to read it and then discuss it (respectfully). Now it can’t be you sending him Atlas Shrugged and him sending you the Communist Manifesto.

We did these books.

Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream

Who Stole the American Dream?

u/rankao · 1 pointr/AskReddit

> Bottomless second hand market.

I don't think it is a bad thing. Especially for the poor.

u/ThisIsMeYoRightHere · 1 pointr/CrazyIdeas

I'd also recommend the "response" book Scratch Beginnings:

u/jenilynTX · 1 pointr/CrazyIdeas

I just went and got the link to that book to reply here! Because that's basically what he did.

u/NPPraxis · 1 pointr/Frugal

I'm in an extremely similar situation to you.
My rental income covers my cost of living at the moment, but I want to increase that safety margin before I stop taking a paycheck.

> I believe that I could be dropped into the shoes of 99% of people living paycheck to paycheck or worse and turn their situation into a successful one.

I actually feel the same way, and in fact, this book (I haven't read it yet but have been meaning to) posits that thesis.

However...keep in mind that, being dropped in someone else's shoes, you'd still have your education and experiences that many of them never got the chance to.

Yeah, I wouldn't have my degree, but I'd have the skills to do my job, so I could find a lesser job to get my foot in the door even if I started from scratch.

So if I was stuck in someone else's shoes, I'd still have an advantage. That said, I frequently see people with a fraction of my income living on more than me (I live in a tiny apartment).

Oh- and expect downvotes.

u/BoredomHeights · -1 pointsr/bestof

You're not too off. There was a book where the author made himself homeless (picked a major city at random and went with just $20) to see how long it would take him to get a furnished apartment (obviously not a fancy one or anything, just livable). It was only like 6 months or something, maybe less. He obviously also wasn't allowed to use his degrees or anything, he couldn't just suddenly get a job as a software engineer or something.

A big part of the point of the book was that a lot of homeless people have some kind of mental illness or need further care, the book was supposed to be what a "regular joe" could do. Also, having worked with a decent amount in some charities and things (I'm in SF), a lot of homeless people aren't exactly mentally ill, but have extreme problems with authority. Which makes it very hard to keep down a job.

The author's path to "success" was basically as soon as he got into town he found a police officer, said I'm homeless where do I go. Officer took him to a shelter. At the shelter he asked about work programs. Pretty quickly he got accepted into a program as a mover and started getting money through that. Obviously wasn't exactly an easy time, but it's also not impossible to drag yourself out of if you're mentally sound and can present yourself well. My memory of the whole situation's a little hazy, been a while since reading.

edit: Found the book. He went to South Carolina and it was actually $25 and a sleeping bag.