Starting from Nothing: Book Review of Scratch Beginnings

October 20, 2008 - Get free updates of new posts here

I asked this question to Adam Shepard who wrote Scratch Beginnings which is a great story of him starting from nothing (literally) in a town and what happens 6 months later…

Why should anyone read this book and what will they get out of it? 

There are a couple of reasons to read this book…

First off, it’s entertaining as hell. I met a cast of guys that are way more fascinating than myself (and got my butt kicked by one of them), and to be able to tell their story is what this was all about for me. My story is cool, sure, but the guys I met have some pretty interesting tales to tell.

More importantly, though, I learned so much about what it takes to really make it. Not just with $25. Not just out of a homeless shelter. But in life, and, more specifically, in business. I was humbled to the Nth degree by the experiences I had, and I’m happy to carry those experiences with me now that I have more than $25. Not much has changed in my life. I still drive a beat up hooptie. I still go on cheap dates. My friendships are stronger today than they have ever been. And now, I don’t, by any means, take work ethic for granted. Or the strangers I meet every day. (If you only happen to pick up Scratch Beginnings at the bookstore for a few minutes, read “Job Hunting 101 with Professor Phil Coleman,” where Phil, a random homeless dude, teaches me – “Adam Shepard, the King of the American Dream” – how to get a job. My ego went for a ride, but I didn’t care. I’ll never forget meeting that guy.)

What was the most unexpected thing about starting from nothing?

The whole experience was way more difficult than I expected. I figured I would get off the train on Tuesday night, sleep under a bridge, get a job on Wednesday, and move into a weekly rental by Thursday or Friday.

And then I got off the train in the frickin’ ghetto and immediately saw that things weren’t going to go as I had planned. I quickly made my way to the shelter where I gathered my bearings and strategized what I needed to do to start working my way up.

What can entrepreneurs learn from your experiences?

The same rules still apply for me now as they did when I was walking down Rivers Ave. in North Charleston with a twenty and a five-spot in my back pocket. It’s always a hustle. And that’s what Scratch Beginnings is about, and that’s why I think so many people are able to relate to this story regardless of whether they have $25 or $25,000. When you’re ahead of the game in the world of entrepreneurship, you can either make the decisions to take your business to the next level OR you can squander your money to country club memberships and expensive trips just because, “Hey, I get to write it off anyway!” I’ve had friends whose businesses have flourished or failed because of what they do with their money. And that’s the same way it was for me in Scratch Beginnings.

The most interesting comment will get a free copy of the book.

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11 responses to “Starting from Nothing: Book Review of Scratch Beginnings

  1. Sam Purtill Reply

    I’ve heard about this book before, not sure where. I find the concept very interesting though, it reminds me of that book Into the Wild. Will definitely pick this up at the bookstore next time I go…

  2. Rachel Reply

    unemployed. plenty of time to read. on my way towards a $25 lifestyle.

    Most importantly though, I like winning. And I won’t even make you ship it. You can just bring it with you when you come to visit. (:

  3. Dimitry Reply

    Interesting paradox is that if I’m reading this book, I’m in fact not pursuing my American dream, but rather pausing to read about someone else’s American dream!

  4. Olavo Reply

    Interesting break of paradigm to think where you are in the moment is always a scratch point, comparing to where your objectives and goals are.

    Definitely inspiring…

  5. EP Reply

    Umm, sounds interesting, but ive heard that most of the self help gurus made their money selling their books, courses or seminars and not necessarily what they preach. Im not saying thats the case here, Ibut its something to keep in mind…

  6. iPod Reply

    So this person had nothing but $25? They lost all contact with friends and family during the experiment?

    I saw before where a person decided they would make themselves homeless and prove that they could make money straight away. They tried selling stuff on the streets and soon learnt that it was illegal to do so. They then found out how hard it was to apply for a job when they had no permanent residence.

    This book looks interesting. I have always stayed away from make money books like this due to the point EP made. Most people make money by selling how to make money. That is not really a legitimate business model in my opinion.

  7. jon Reply

    One problem with these “I was down and now I’m up” stories is that the author usually forgets to include his vast store of personal resources. Usually these authors are from upper to upper-middle class and have had good nutrition, good education, and a vision of where they want to “go” financially. They’ve been there before, they’ve seen it. Walking a path you are already familiar with is easier than forging ahead into the unknown.

    I started as a welfare child and now would be considered living the American dream. However, there were many years in there where I had to unlearn poor habits, poor concepts of money, and lowered expectations. I had to seek relationships with people from upper classes (financially) to learn how they think about money and achievement.

    Once I had a framework and a vision of where I needed to go (which presumably this author started with), I was able to start down that path.

    I’d like to read this book to see just “where”