A few important approaches Shepard takes in contrast to Ehrenreich: Openness to take advantage of a homeless shelter (not to mention the ease with which he got in), thus putting more money aside for savings. Decent access to public transportation, while Ehrenreich kept her car. Shepard also thinks strategically when contemplating sharing an apartment with another roommate while Ehrenreich never seriously considers this option.
On the one hand I generally agree with Shepard on one point: People should take responsibility for their lives. Be ready to help themselves [Putting aside people with mental illnesses or physical impairments that prohibit them from functioning well on their own day to day.]
On the other hand, I'm well aware of the advantages and supportive backgrounds both Shepard and I have. It's not possible to hide a college education or 12 years of education regardless of saying you will. Significantly Shepard mentions at one point that he had people supporting him throughout his childhood through his early 20s. This likely had an immense positive influence on him that if a person doesn't get as a child, he doesn't get it. And of course, as a single male, a white male who's healthy, possibilities are typically easier, and Shepard admits in part to this. His argument remains that he's still proof that anyone in the US can make it because he did and that hopefully his characteristics (health, race) won't detract from his message.
Yet if his situation was different (if he had a child, lacked a GED, was a minority) he would be at a disadvantage even as simply as in regards to finding work. Shepard grossly underestimated his advantages. What he does do though, is acknowledge and recommend ways US social systems (i.e. education) should provide support for people of less fortunate backgrounds.
Despite my critiques, I would recommend this book because I enjoyed reading Shepard's journey. His project took strength. I recognize Scratch