But what of those situations where such financial security isn’t a given? I hear often from readers who are truly stretching every dime they can get, even without the burden of a house payment or any significant debt - they simply aren’t bringing in much money, and they have to be creative with their choices. What can we learn from them?

That’s basically the premise behind Scratch Beginnings. The author, Adam Shepard, decided to take on the myths about what it takes to be successful in America. He started off with $25 in cash, the clothes on his back, and a gym bag (no job or anything else) and attempted to build the American dream in one year without using any of his contacts or personal accomplishments (in other words, a blank resume). His goal was to have, after one year, $2,500, a working automobile, and a furnished apartment.