A compilation of case history and simplistic how-to--""make a realistic appraisal of what your financial needs will be""--is the result of Hewitt's cross-country tour in search of independent souls who've spurned the confines of ordinary employment to sample an arcane assortment of avocations like motorcycle maintenance, cider manufacture, quilt restoration, and goat farming. ""Small-timers"" the author calls his subjects. And small-timers they are, reaping miniscule profits as compensation for the pure pleasure of their herculean efforts. We are treated here to every conceivable in-and-out of the intricacies of, say, herb farming. ""Of course, as in any agricultural endeavor, there's a lot of unromantic work involved,"" says one such pioneer. ""I'll be drinking an organic beer, watching television, and stripping plants or breaking up garlic cloves."" He must have an inflated idea of romance; we think that's positively Byronic.