Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Making Money--Pre-Teen Style

Lawn Boy
By Gary Paulsen
Random House, 2007

I read this book early on a Sunday morning before the sun even came up. It was a fun, easy read. I tried and tried to find the main character’s name, but I don’t think it is ever mentioned. The twelve year old narrator gets a used lawnmower from his grandmother. It once belonged to his late grandfather. He doesn’t know how to mow a lawn. In fact, his lawn never needs mowing because it’s always dead. One day he starts mowing it just to test out the mower. He is approached by a neighbor who needs his lawn mowed. He soon has more lawns than he can manage. Then a 70’s-dressing stock-broker wants him to mow his lawn, and instead of paying him cash, he invests the money for him, and essentially becomes the manager of his lawn mowing “company.” He helps him hire employees, whose legal working status might be questionable. But the company grows and grows and grows. So does his stock portfolio. His $40 that he received from mowing the stock broker’s lawn makes returns in the thousands.
Within two months time, this kid, who doesn’t have money to buy an inner tube for a flat bike tire, is rich to the tune of close to $500,000. Unbelievable? You bet. Show me where I can invest $40 and be $400,000 richer in the matter of 2 months. But it’s a fun book. Paulsen uses all of those hard-to-define economic terms in ways that makes good sense. Isn’t it every kid’s dream to mow lawns and get rich doing it?

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