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Scratch Beginnings

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Author  Adam Shepard
3.4/5 Goodreads

Originally published  2007
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Poverty books  The Working Poor: Invi, Reconsidering Culture and Pove, Poverty lines in theory an, Slumming: Sexual and Social Po, Health Financing for Poor P

Adam shepard on scratch beginnings at wpu

Scratch Beginnings is a book by Adam Shepard, a graduate of Merrimack College, about his attempt to live the American Dream. It was conceived as a refutation of the books Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch by Barbara Ehrenreich.


Scratch beginnings by adam shepard


While Shepard states that his story is not politically motivated, he did intend it to be a rebuttal to Barbara Ehrenreich's books Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch on a socio-economic level. He writes, "Ehrenreich attempted to establish that working stiffs are doomed to live in the same disgraceful conditions forever ... my story is a search to evaluate if hard work and discipline provide any payoff whatsoever or if they are, as Ehrenreich suggests, futile pursuits."


In achievement of his goal, Shepard resolved not to use his college education, credit history, or any of his previous contacts to help himself. Additionally, he would not beg for money or use services that were not available to others.

Social issues

Along the way, Shepard explores controversial premises, such as:

  • Why the book Nickel and Dimed was flawed from the beginning.
  • Why raising the minimum wage does not stimulate the economy of the lower class.
  • Why immigration and job outsourcing are not the causes of decreasing opportunity in the American workforce.
  • How certain individuals are profiting from the consumer's fear of the death of the American Dream.
  • Final outcome

    A February 11, 2008, article about the book in The Christian Science Monitor states, "During his first 70 days in Charleston, Shepard lived in a shelter and received food stamps. He also made new friends, finding work as a day laborer, which led to a steady job with a moving company. Ten months into the experiment, he decided to quit after learning of an illness in his family. But by then he had moved into an apartment, bought a pickup truck, and had saved around $5,300."

    While he achieved his goals through hard work and discipline, he also received invaluable advice in getting over his 50 job rejections that were biased against his homelessness. It is not discussed whether job seekers facing other types of bias know how to overcome many job rejections. From a February 16, 2008, interview from NPR, Shepard admits, "you know, I was sitting there, and I was not really happy that I had passed out 50 applications, and nobody was getting back to me, and he just went nuts, and he said listen, Adam, you are a homeless dude. Nobody looks at your application—you know because I had my homeless shelter as my address—nobody looks at that and says hey, yeah, I want to hire Adam Shepard, the homeless guy."


    Scratch Beginnings Wikipedia

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