Monday, February 20, 2012

It's been an absolutely awesome first week for The End of Money. First the Wall Street Journal ran this essay of mine about the twilight of cash. A few days later I sparred, albeit lightly, with Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal. And this morning I had an hour-long conversation with Dave Miller of OPB's Think Out Loud, which included all kinds of smart challenges to the idea of going cashless. 

Although I tend to think of my book as more of a missive or disquisition, the New America Foundation is calling it "a rallying cry for the anti-cash movement." Not sure what I think of that descriptor, but it's fun to be in the fray. Elsewhere, Gizmodo's fantastically caffeinated and--on Twitter, anyway--obsessively irreverent Mat (one "T") Honan posted this Q & A, and the Portland Tribune published a flattering profile-y piece. If you're looking for a sample-size portion of the book, check out one of the excerpts posted on TheAtlantic.comPopMattersSalon, or The Awl.

Meanwhile, the bookstore gigs kick off tomorrow night with Powell's here in Portland and Elliott Bay Books in Seattle on Thursday. See you there!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

floored by the response

The initial response to The End of Money has been tremendous. Here is an excerpt posted by, as well as recent interviews with Gizmodo and Wisconsin Public Radio's "To The Best of Our Knowledge." MSN picked up a smart piece written by Suzanne McGee for the Fiscal Times, and I'm going to be on Lou Dobbs' radio show Feb. 10. Keep an eye open for the Boston Globe and Salon next week, as well as an essay I wrote for the Wall Street Journal, which is slated to run this weekend.

Meanwhile, there are some lively, some absurd, and some fascinating comments piling up, both in the comments section below the reviews for the book on the Amazon page, and on the Wired page for my Trash Blaster story. It makes the geek in me proud to know that people will actually read a story I wrote about plasma gasification of municipal solid waste--and want to discuss it with others when they're done.

Friday, February 3, 2012


What an insanely dizzying few weeks it has been. Working furiously on a project for the New York Times website, a feature for Nature, the ceaseless onslaught that is book launch prep, and--fingers crossed--a longer essay landing in a major publication just about when the book comes out (Feb 14). Now it's vacation time. Nicola, young Spencer, and I are outta here tomorrow, unplugging for much of the time, and planning to do not much of anything. We'll be back later this month. Then I jump into the book tour, starting at Powell's here in Portland on February 21. Hope to see you there!

launch date approaches

Huge news! Amazon has put The End of Money in the No.3 slot for it's list of the 10 Best Books of the Month. Huge honor. Here's the Amazon review:

Say good-bye to your beloved Benjamins, because the world is going cashless. So says David Wolman, and in The End of Money, he explores the drastic implications. How is it happening? What's at stake? Why does it matter? Each chapter of this timely and fascinating book focuses on a specific aspect of the coming cashlessness. Its cast of compelling characters includes an end-times fundamentalist who views the growing obsolescence of cash as a sign of the coming rapture; an Icelandic artist whose claim to fame illustrates the complicated relationship between cash and nationalism; an American libertarian and coin-maker convicted on federal charges for the distribution of "Liberty" coins and Ron Paul dollars; and an Indian software engineer (self-billed as "the assassin of cash") whose firm is enabling digital payment methods that are lifting the living standards of thousands of poor New Dehli residents via their cell phones. Raising the stakes with a personal experiment, Wolman goes (almost) a full year without using cash at all. All told, The End of Money offers everything there is to love about popular nonfiction, rendering a complex subject entertaining and easily approachable for a wide audience while proving the ultimate adventurousness inherent in a curiosity about the workings of the world. --Jason Kirk

And here's Booklist:
Money: we crave it, chase it, love it, and despise it. But do we ever really think about it? Money, the cash kind in the form of coins and banknotes, has little intrinsic value and since 1971 has had nothing tangible backing it. It's value is based solely on the faith and trust we put in the institutions behind it, and it's the lifeblood of commerce. Wolman takes us on a tour of the history of currency from the first paper money issued in China to the colonial hodgepodge of bills that ultimately became the greenback... more