Review of 'Gold! A Gringo's Guide' by Jack Livingston, Reviewed by Rob Farrugia

by Robert Farrugia
(Island of Malta)

Gold! A Gringo’s Guide, Written by Jack Livings
Reviewed by Rob Farrugia

Let me begin by saying that this book was a genuine pleasure to review. Having started with little knowledge of the practicalities of Ecuador or the practices of searching for gold in Ecuador, I can honestly say I feel fairly well informed about both topics now, and part of that was the way that Livings was able to transfer an actual feel for the place through his writings.

The book reads in a down to earth, direct and no nonsense style, and the reader comes away with the sense that he has just spent a couple of hours down at the local pub discussing the subject with an old friend. The book starts off with a brief introduction to Ecuador, and then proceeds to cover every major question that is usually encountered by a newbie. Practicalities of dealing with local fauna, flora and Ecuadorian customs and people are addressed. Costs and legal advice are described. Although Jack does spend some time on large scale operations, which are the norm in Ecuador, and which I may point out, few books have been written on, he does in no way ignore small scale prospecting and describes several methods a small scale prospector can use to find gold, from the use of GPS, panning, dredging, and even a brief analyses of the water currents and curves of a flowing stream in relation to the optimal places to pan for gold! In addition, he covers different methods of striking a claim, how and where to make a claim legally, the different types of forms gold may present itself in (such as alluvial gold Vs. Hard rock), and an introduction to many of the intricate and vital pieces of equipment used in the mining and prospecting industry. His amusing anecdotes about life in Ecuador are great illustrations of what and what not to do (learn from his mistakes – and why you should never crash into a wild bee hive!), and his practical observations leave nothing to be desired. I think ‘practical’ is the best word to describe this book. Livings didn’t write this from a compilation of other texts: it was all learnt on the job, from practical experience. He actually made a living through prospecting and mining, and continues to do so today. Clearly, he is well informed. This immediately separates his work from 95% of other books out there written by ‘armchair authors’.

But Livings doesn’t stop there. He goes above and beyond the other 5% of books by describing in detail what to do once you have found gold and how to not only purify, and melt it down into a form ready to be bought, but also how to go about selling it and converting it into cold, hard cash – something I’ve never seen in any other publication. He even gives the names of reputable gold dealers.

Continuing on, he goes on to analyze and describe the ins and outs of importing, exporting and dealing in gold, as well as advice on the transportation of the metal. His warnings about Ecuadorian laws, such as being presumed guilty rather than innocent if involved in a car accident whilst driving is worth the price of the book by itself, as many people are still far too unaware that such Napoleonic statutes still exist and are enforced.

Overall, ‘Gold! A Gringo’s Guide’ is an excellent and informative read, that anyone, especially if heading down to Ecuador, can learn from. The value of this little volume should not be underestimated and thought limited to this truly amazing South American country, however. The principles contained therein may be applied to any prospecting situation where gold may be found. The text is also accompanied by clear and instructive photographs taken presumably, by Livings himself. And small though the book may be, it packs a mean punch, and is fairly condensed with information for its size. Information gleaned from years in practical, hard work and experience in the field. This makes the text a multifunctional, practical volume for gold seekers, by a gold seeker.
‘Gold! A Gringo’s Guide’ is Available through Amazon.com in Kindle Format

Comments for Review of 'Gold! A Gringo's Guide' by Jack Livingston, Reviewed by Rob Farrugia

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May 26, 2012
More About Gold Prospecting in Ecuador
by: Rob

Hi Guys! What you have to keep in mind is that in many countries such as Ecuador, things are much cheaper than say, in Europe or North America. This allows the value of gold to go much farther for you... in other words, you can live on much less. So you CAN make a living doing this!

Jack, not sure if you have been getting the emails I've been sending you, but me and my buddy should be arriving in Quito on the 16th of June. We'll definitely have to catch up then.

I would like to try and see if it's possible to follow some of the Inca and pre-Inca roads. Not all roads lead to Rome, you know.

Haven't posted the review on Amazon yet, but will when I get a chance. Regards, Rob.

May 26, 2012
How Successful or Profitable is Gold Prospecting in Ecuador?
by: Wojtek Bobilerwicz

Hello, everyone. I've been reading all sorts of comments pertaining to gold prospecting in Ecuador and South America for quite some time. I can see there is quite an interest (or, shall I say, stir) about it.

The question that I have is very pragmatic, down-to-earth, and deals with an issue of just how profitable that sort of "profession" is.

Between the two extremities of a pauper and a millionaire, how would you rate an average weekly or monthly income from gold prospecting?

I still consider this to be quite a remote option, however, it is now an option that would certainly be just slightly more feasible in my life than it was before.

Many thanks, Kindest regards, Wojtek

May 25, 2012
Wow! What a Kind Review of my Book About Gold Mining in Ecuador!
by: Jack Livingston

Thank You Rob for the Kind Words,

I sure hope you posted your review on Amazon. People considering whether or not to purchase the book will appreciate your opinion. I certainly could never claim to know everything about mining; no one does. However, nothing quite takes the place of first-hand experience.

I had good teachers along the way. From the old boy who taught me how to dredge in the California Mother Load in the 70s, to Stan Grist who has been kind enough to share so much hard earned knowledge and his friendship with me.

Some of us who were helped along the way feel an obligation to try and help others who wish to follow a similar path.

Life is short. We only have so many days on earth. There is no time to waste. Follow your heart, live your dreams, have no regrets. What more can we ask of life?

Thanks again Rob. I hope we have a chance to meet one of these days.

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