Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions

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Harper Collins, Sep 18, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 238 pages
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In his wry and funny memoir, Edward Ugel tells the story of America's addiction to the lottery from an astonishing angle.

At age twenty-six, Ed found himself broke, knee-deep in gambling debt, and moving back into his parents' basement. It all changed, however, when he serendipitously landed a job as a salesman for The Firm—a company that offered up-front cash to lottery winners in exchange for their prize money, often paid in agonizingly small annual payments, some lasting up to twenty-five years. For the better part of the ensuing decade, Ed spent his time closing deals with lottery winners, making a lucrative and legitimate—if sometimes not-so-nice—living by taking advantage of their weaknesses . . . weaknesses he knew all too well.

Ed met hundreds of lottery winners and saw up-close the often hilarious, sometime sad outcome when great wealth is dropped on ordinary people. Once lottery winners realized their "dream-come-true" multimillion jackpots were not all that they were cracked up to be, Ed would knock on their door, offering them the cash they wanted-and often desperately need. This cash sometimes came at a high price, but winners were rarely in a position to walk the other way. As Ed learned, few of them had the financial savvy to keep up with the lottery-winner lifestyle. In fact, some just wanted their old lives back.

A charmingly neurotic gambler, Ed traveled deep into the heart of the country where he discovered the American Dream looks a lot like a day at the casino. And Ed knows casinos. In fact, his own taste for gambling gave him a unique insight into lottery winners: he intimately understood their mindset, making it that much easier to relate to them. And like lottery winners, Ed struggled to find balance in his own life as his increasing success earned him a bigger and bigger salary. Even as he relished his accomplishments, he grappled with the question: "If you are good at something that is bad for some people, does that make you a bad person?"

Ed Ugel takes the readers inside the captivating world of lottery winners and shows us how lotteries and gambling have become deeply inscribed in every aspect of American life shaping our image of success and good fortune. Money for Nothing is a witty, wise, and often outrageously funny account of high expectations and easy money.

 

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Money for nothing: one man's journey through the dark side of lottery millions

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Ugel is a self-proclaimed gambler. He's also a born salesman. So it was a good fit when he landed a sales job with a firm that pioneered the lottery "lump sum" industry. Basically, his firm stalked ... Read full review

Contents

GONZO GOES FISHING
1
LOTTERY FOR DUMMIES
25
EVERYTHING YOULL WISH YOU NEVER KNEW
36
GO WEST MY SON
49
THE FIRM
65
CAN YOU HEAR ME IN THE BACK?
105
SALLY STONE
114
WHAT IS THE SOUND OF NO HANDS CLAPPING?
154
EVERY TIME I TRY TO GET OUT THEY PULL
166
OF ALL THE GIN JOINTS IN ALL THE TOWNS
182
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF MY BASEMENT
199
THE GAMBLE IN ME
211
ENDNOTES
237
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About the author (2007)

Sales and marketing expert Edward Ugel spent his late twenties and early thirties working among the nation's most infamous lottery winners and gamblers in the high-stakes lump sum industry. He writes for the Huffington Post and has also written for the New York Times and contributed to PRI's This American Life.

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