Book Club Kit: Nickel and Dimed

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in AmericaNickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
by Barbara Ehrenreich
First Published: 2001
10 Copies & Reading Guide

Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the “lowliest” occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.

Reading Guide:
From the Author: Includes Information about the Book & Author and Discussion Questions
LitLovers: Includes Author Information, Reviews, and Discussion Questions
Northern AZ University: Includes Discussion Questions
Rocky Mountain College: Includes Historical Contect and Discussion Questions

The New York Times – “Making Ends Meet” by Dorothy Gallagher
Business Week – “Down and Out in the Midst of a Boom” by Anne Colamosca
The Independent (UK) – “Nickel and Dimed: Undercover in Low-Wage USA” by Jeremy Seabrook

On the Web:
Barbara’s Official Website –
Other Experiements – Adam Shepard and Charles Platt
NPR – Interview with Barbara Ehrenreich (Audio)

Other Books by Barbara Ehrenreich:
Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America
Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream
This Land is Their Land: Reports From a Divided Nation

If you enjoyed Nickel and Dimed, you might like:
Fast Food Nation (Book Club Kit) by Eric Schlosser
The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World’s Most Powerful Company Really Works, and How It’s Transforming the American Economy by Charles Fishman
A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present by Howard Zinn
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck


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