Nickel and Dimed - Barbara Ehrenreich

Nickel and Dimed

By Barbara Ehrenreich

  • Release Date: 2010-04-01
  • Genre: Social Science
Score: 4
From 204 Ratings


The New York Times bestselling work of undercover reportage from our sharpest and most original social critic, with a new foreword by Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted

Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job—any job—can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour?

To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you int to live indoors.

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity—a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom. And now, in a new foreword, Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, explains why, twenty years on in America, Nickel and Dimed is more relevant than ever.


  • Selfish

    By PaM BeAsLy!@
    If she wants to help the poor, and complains that the wealth are stingy, I would like to see her donate profits of this to the cause
  • Nickel and dimed

    By jonesr41
    Best book ever!! I had to read it in a college creative writing course. I fell in love immediately ... I do not care her opinions are her own, and who cares if she’s liberal and she speaks for her family through this book! She isn’t whining about life she is describing the real situation. Becca
  • Nickeled and Dimed

    By Rick & Pat
    This book is by far the worst book I have read this year. I would recommend it to no one. The author whines continuously. She bemoans the stupidity and apathy of the people she is supposedly trying to help. She thinks those who are proud of their work and ability are crazy. She berates the managers and owners of businesses calling them slave do drivers etc.. She also continuously condemns those who use the products and services of the people she works for. In other words she is a rich liberal with no concept of ordinary hard working people even though she claims to come from them..
  • Nickel & Dime

    By Cocomonetxos
    I had to read for a college course their were some aspects I loved about the book and others I did not . I loved how the lives of the poor were put into focus their daily struggles and I'm happy this book has brought the lives of minimum wage to focus and a need for change .
  • Amazing

    By QuiteFrankly89
    Admittedly, this book was required reading for a college class. But after the first 10 pages, I was hooked. This author gives an extremely accurate description of the plight of the working poor! I admit I will never look at Walmart the same way again. I lived this life from the ages of 18-21, and related so many ways. I highly recommend this as a recreational read. And if you too are required to read this for a course, I assure you, it's not a typical "dry" college read.
  • Hated it!

    By JFlo412
    There were so many moments in this books that got too slow because of details that could have been avoided. Unfortunately, I had to read this for a class otherwise I wouldn't have gotten threw the book. Dreadful on the delivery of the experience. It's was a good concept but started to get hard to follow when she stopped telling the story and started interacting with the characters. Hated it!
  • Writer Tells It Like It Is

    By Nowaxz
    Unlike so many nonfiction books that outline the plight of the poor in the U.S., this author of this book took the time to show us just exactly how hard it is to exist on the minimum wage. She shows how hard it is to find and work a minimum wage job (she works several different jobs), find an affordable place to live, and buy enough meals to survive. And she shows how very, very hard it is. Yes, she doesn't show the other side (Wal-mart's or the other employer's.). But after reading this book, one wonders what excuse employers could have for paying people only enough income to keep their employees, effectively, in indentured servitude?
  • Great book!

    By Danielle McQuillan
    Loved it! Absolutely fascinating!
  • Not the whole story

    By KellieArabia
    A worthless read