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The Scavengers' Manifesto

3.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  141 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Destined to become the bible for a bold new subculture of eco-minded people who are creating a lifestyle out of recycling, reusing, and repurposing rather than buying new.

An exciting new movement is afoot that brings together environmentalists, anticonsumerists, do-it-yourselfers, bargain-hunters, and treasure-seekers of all stripes. You can see it in the enormous popular
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 19th 2009 by TarcherPerigee (first published February 20th 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Nov 06, 2009 Trane rated it did not like it
I was really disappointed in The Scavengers' Manifesto, which is not helpful at all in terms of practical information or concrete examples. At the same time, it's far too diffuse and soft in its attack to generate the emotional force of an actual manifesto.

Here are my three main issues with the book:

1) There is a serious lack of detailed information about scavenging. Unlike a classic alternative lifestyle text like Shelter, which includes photographs, building details, concrete accounts written
Apr 13, 2010 Sarah rated it it was ok
Almost completely content-free--when the authors weren't patting themselves on the back about how great it is to be a scavenger, they were writing a weak history of scavenging that reminded me of the worst of Wikipedia. It doesn't offer anything to learn about being a scavenger, just self-congratulations.
Michael Grills
Aug 11, 2011 Michael Grills rated it liked it
Shelves: lifestyle
This book was ok. I can't stand how much this author repeats herself. I think she mentioned Gleaning the fields no less then 4 times. Maybe the assumption is that people will only read certain chapters instead of from start to finish. I actually started to skip paragraphs as they would offer nothing new. She could have easily shortened the book by 100 pages and it would have been a lot better.

As for the philosophy discussed inside. Interesting ideas and as I write this review I see that there is
Jun 14, 2012 Ed rated it really liked it
The authors bring to light our over consumeristic lives in a very light hearted manner. The manifesto asks us to consider what we really need in our lives and how we can consume goods in such a way as to keep the planet healthier and to simplify our lives. For some people, their Scavenger Code of Ethics and Scavenging Commandments go a litle too far. But for those of us already in the know, the book serves as a reminder. Besides, there is some very interesting history on scavenging that few peop ...more
Jul 08, 2010 Sally rated it liked it
This is NOT a "how-to."

Great stab at describing a lifestyle that doesn't rely wholly (or at all) on retail consumerism. The authors tried to make scavenging into a religious experience (whilst debunking true religion), which may be their experience. I tend to look out for bargins, shop at thrift stores, barter and trade out of necessity, and also in small part, out of rejection of "all new, all the time." And out of respect for the resources that God has given us. They've turned thrifting into a
Mar 21, 2010 Prettytaz83 rated it did not like it
I finished about 100 pages of this book and got rid of it. What I was hoping for was a helpful guide to figuring out how to go about redirecting my purchasing to getting used items and a "how-to" guide on where to find good buys that are used. What I got was a book that felt like it was written by a 16-year-old rebellious punk telling me why he is awesome for dumster
Diving and being a pack rat, and why I'm just a mindless consumer with no soul. I really liked rufus' other book ("stuck: why we ca
Sherry Lee
Apr 09, 2012 Sherry Lee rated it really liked it
I was given this book as a gift. I would have given it five stars if the authors had spent less time writing about the history of the negative connotations of scavenging. As a woman who buys 99% of her wardrobe from thrift stores and garage sales, as well as most of her household items including furniture, I found the detailed information regarding "recycling" of utmost interest. I was particularly amazed by the overabundance of goods in the USA, so much so that much gets sold to other countries ...more
I don't want to say I hated this book because I weirdly enjoyed the chapters on the history of scavenging, the bits about the economy and "scavenomics," etc. However, the first few chapters were incredibly hard for me to get through. It felt almost like propaganda. Like "Look at how spiritual and aware I am because I don't conform to social norms or marketing ploys." The tone was condescending and defensive. I think you can definitely tell that two separate people wrote this book- I just wish I ...more
The cover says, "A guide to freeing yourself from the endless cycle of buying more and more new stuff, and discovering how salvaging, swapping, repurposing, reusing, and recycling can save the earth, your money, and your soul".

It sounds like a really cool book, but the emphasis is on "manifesto" and not "a guide".

The book is more philisophical than practical. It has a lot of environmentalist/leftist/evolutionist leanings. If I were reading it again, I'd skip about half of the chapters and breez
Jan 05, 2016 Amanda rated it liked it
“We, the authors of this book, redefine scavenging as any way of legally acquiring stuff that does not involve paying full price.” [pg viii]

It's definitely a manifesto, written in staccato, almost poetic sentences that read like a rallying speech. It makes you feel good to be a scavenger – proud and empowered about your unusual state. It makes you want to fly your freak flag. Early on, they liken standard consumers to screaming, pouting soiled brats [pg 9] and non-consumer scavengers to “capital
Apr 02, 2013 Denise rated it liked it
I picked this book up at the Dollar Tree for a buck. I thought I could learn some techniques and secrets about scavenging. I never wanted to be a "freegan," but I do enjoy yard sales, thrift stores and never paying full price for new stuff. So, when I saw this during my weekly trip to the cheapest retail chain in town, I tossed it into my basket.

I found the book amusing, but not what I expected. I didn't take the term "manifesto" in the title seriously, but I should have. That's exactly what th
Feb 08, 2014 Sherri rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I love garage sales, thrift stores, and scavaging, so I saw this book at Half Price Books, and picked it up thinking it would be a fun read. It has a lot of interesting ideas, but a lot of it was repetitive, it seemed as if the writer could not find enough information, so they went on and on with a lot of useless information that was not inline with what the book was actually about. It does give an insight to the many forms of being frugal. It does cover most topics on the frugal lifestyle, and ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Natalie rated it it was amazing
I love Anneli Rufus' books. She skillfully approaches any subject she writes about, uncovering the truths that everybody knows, but rarely speaks about. The best I like about Rufus’ style is her ability to deftly embellish narration with historical facts and scientific research, while sticking to simple language, and clearly communicating ideas through logical explanation of any subject she picks to reflect on. Rufus is witty, hilarious and a “must read.” Even if you disagree with the author, yo ...more
Lauren Anderson
Jan 10, 2013 Lauren Anderson rated it it was ok
I was really hoping to thoroughly enjoy this book and learn a lot from it. However, it ended up being quite disappointing. I felt as though every chapter was simply a way for the authors to justify their lifestyle. I GET IT, a lot of the world looks down upon scavenging, I am NOT one of those people... That is why I picked up the book. But I can understand, why they would feel a need to justify themselves, when they have probably been constantly criticized. This is just not the book I was lookin ...more
May 31, 2016 Beth rated it it was ok
The beginning of this book is extremely preachy. The middle is interesting talking about the history and evolution of scavenging and how societies ideas and philosophy about it has changed. The rest of the book seemed like an endless series of repetition of common sense things. Maybe if you come from an upper-class background, this would be eye opening and revolutionary but for me it was just meh.
Jan 27, 2010 Jeff rated it did not like it
I tried to like this book, because the subject matter is so dear. But this thing is more a soppy love letter to scavenging than a manifesto, and an apologetic where none is needed. I more skimmed than read the thing, because it contained so little useful information for me.

Fortunately, I checked it out of the library. =)
4fabfelines Cox
Apr 05, 2010 4fabfelines Cox rated it it was ok
This book had a very good exhaustive information and history of scavanging. But it did not, until the end, have practical ways to scavange and how to's. I was rather disappointed in it at that. I wanted more practical ideas on scavanging, repurposing and such.
It is a great history lesson though.
Dec 01, 2009 Cheri rated it did not like it
Reads like a manifesto, complete with "you are a radical" message that's as junk as a $2 bill. I kept waiting for more substance, but instead got platitudes about how almost anyone could be a scavenger (clip coupons? shop sales? buy second hand? You're in!).
Louise Taylor
Jul 27, 2011 Louise Taylor rated it it was ok
not what i thought it would be. initially the background info was interesting, but i kept hoping it was just an introduction. didn't realize it was actually the entire content of the book. like others i guess i was looking for more of a how-to book....
Blythe Christopher
May 01, 2012 Blythe Christopher rated it really liked it
Love this book. I have done my fair share of scavenging and this outlines almost all that I know of. The author also cautions folks about being a good citizen and representing all scavengers (read: "don't be a douche").
May 04, 2013 Agent rated it really liked it
The scavengers manifesto was a fascinating book that held my interest to the end it explored the economics and history of scavenging along with its ethical guidelines. overall i would recommend it to anyone
Feb 05, 2012 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
I will start it despite the bad reviews. I have no expectations, just looks interesting. Who gave it to me? Or did I buy it? Hmmm...

Okay, gave up after 2 chapters. Bad writing, repetitive, pointless.
april violet
Jul 17, 2010 april violet rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
It's what the title says it is, a manifesto. This book seems to be written to help budding scavengers feel less icky about rooting through castoffs. Overall, there is very little practical info provided.
Emily Farrar
Oct 15, 2010 Emily Farrar rated it did not like it
Stopped reading it because it wasn't what I thought it was going to be. Disappointing.
Jul 27, 2013 Fourborne rated it liked it
It sound better than it read. I was truly hoping for some insightful guidance.
Joshua Alan
Mar 18, 2010 Joshua Alan rated it liked it
where did this book go??? wtfffffffffffffff
Megan Dawn
Apr 10, 2013 Megan Dawn rated it it was amazing
I think everyone should read this book.
Rashmi Ranjan Padhy
Rashmi Ranjan Padhy marked it as to-read
Jun 14, 2016
Beth marked it as to-read
Jun 10, 2016
Lori Padgett
Lori Padgett marked it as to-read
Jun 02, 2016
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Anneli Rufus is an award-winning American journalist and author.

Born in Los Angeles, California, she first went to college in Santa Barbara, then to the University of California, Berkeley. Rufus earned an English degree and became a journalist. She's written for many publications, including, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Boston Globe. Currently she is the literary editor for the Ea
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