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
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