On a whim, I ordered Laura Lee’s “Broke is Beautiful.” Good call. The book covered a surprising range of related topics, was full of interesting anecdotes/trivia, and will definitely stand up to repeated reading.
Here are a few of my favorite snippets:
“It helps if you can look on your poverty as a way to lighten your load and a chance to test your creativity and resourcefulness. You might as well look at it that way anyhow, because you’re still going to be broke either way.” – Introduction
“Artists are people who see the value in the things dollars can not measure. Define yourself as an artist and you give yourself permission to be “starving.” This can be a great liberation.” – Chapter 8, Bohemian Rhapsody: Define Yourself as an Artist
“You’ve probably noticed that when teenagers decide to become non-conformists they coincidentally choose to not conform in exactly the same way their peers are not conforming. In the ’60s, non-conformists grew their hair long. In the ’80s they shaved and shellacked their hair into Mohawks, and in the ’90s they pierced something. Nobody decided not to conform by coming to school wearing a tuxedo with giant clown shoes. That would be real non-conformity. No, we do what others do, and buy what others buy, so we don’t have to feel like a bunch of losers.” – Chapter 12, Attention, K-Mart Shoppers: Do you Really Need All That Stuff from China Anyway?
“These days, when we talk about thrift, we’re usually thinking about deprivation of some kind. A thrifty person reuses string, wears shoes until they have holes in them, and haggles over the price of bulk flour. But the original meaning of thrift was quite different. Thrift meant prosperity and growth. It was most often applied to nature, or used as a metaphor for the growth of healthy plants. A healthy garden was a thrifty garden. A sunflower as high as an an elephant’s eye was thrifty. In that spirit, you should not look upon economic as deprivation, but as your means to grow and thrive.” – Chapter 16, Thrift, Horatio. Thrift.
“Because so much modern work sucks, it fools us into believing we don’t like to work. This is unfortunate, because studies show that people report themselves as happiest when they are working toward a goal in a state of flow. We love to work! Yet when you ask that same person if she would be happier working or lounging on a beach, she will invariable tell you to hand over the suntan lotion. We know ourselves that poorly. We have no problem with working. What we don’t like is meaningless work that makes us a cog in the machinery. What we don’t like is feeling we have no direct control over our work lives.” – Chapter 20, Identical Strangers: The World of Work
Pretty cool, eh?