Picking is like a treasure hunt for collectible junk and picking for a living isn't for wimps. That's the message that I got out of the fun and fascinating book American Pickers Guide to Picking by Libby Callaway. The book chronicles the adventures of the stars of the TV show American Pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz in their quest to aquire valuable items among a sea of junk and reluctant sellers. As the book makes clear, picking does not have the same elegant gloss of collecting fancy antiques. The book is filled with tales of rummaging through old barns, basements and other unglamourous locations.
What keeps these dedicated and enthusiastic pickers going is the thrill of the hunt and their genuine interest in meeting new and interesting people. Mike and Frank come across as two likable guys with a strong sense of ethics that serves them well in the business of buying and reselling collectible junk, such as old signs, vintage motorcycles, old oil cans and too many other items to mention here. In addition to telling stories of some of the interesting people this picking team has met in there many miles on the road, the book is packed with lots of practical advice on how to be a picker, where to look for great finds, how to interact with people successfully and the importance of persistance. I'm too much of a diva to change to a career that involves a lot of knocking on a stranger's door and rummaging through dirty barns full of rusty junk, but I still enjoyed learning about the life of a professional picker.