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Download Money for Nothing: One Man’s Journey through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Money for Nothing: One Man’s Journey through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions Audiobook, by Edward Ugel Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (176 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Edward Ugel Narrator: Arthur Morey Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2007 ISBN: 9781455191970
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This wry and funny memoir tells the story of America’s addiction to gambling from an astonishing angle. At age twenty-six, broke and knee-deep in gambling debt, Ed Ugel serendipitously landed a job as a salesman for The Firm, a company that offered up-front cash to lottery winners in exchange for their gradually doled-out prize money. Ed made a lucrative living by taking advantage of lottery winners’ weaknesses—weaknesses he knew all too well. As Ed saw the often hilarious, sometimes sad outcomes that occur when great wealth is dropped on ordinary people who rarely have the financial savvy to keep up with the lottery-winner lifestyle, he discovered that the American Dream looks a lot like a day at the casino. And like those lottery winners, Ed struggled to find a balance in his own life as his increasing success earned him a bigger and bigger salary.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Mr. Ugel’s roller-coaster ride makes for dizzying, sometimes harrowing reading. Confessional, un-self-protecting, and bitterly funny, it exposes the human failings of his customers, his colleagues, himself, in a personal memoir of greed and hope.”

    New York Times

  • “[A] sordid—and highly engaging—tale.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A colorfully written account by a self-proclaimed overweight, chain-smoking, Krispy Kreme doughnut-eating, fanatical gambler...You will lick your chops, eager to hear the sordid woes of winners gone broke from spending sprees.”

    USA Today

  • “Narrator Arthur Morey gives an exceptional interpretation of the author’s seductive writing. He connects equally well with the tension of the sales encounter, the ironies in the clients’ sad stories, and the ribald self-disclosure that make this exposé so entertaining.”

    AudioFile

  • “Ugel’s natural showmanship makes for entertaining reading. He does little to pretty up his misdeeds…while delivering a well-deserved scathing indictment of the government-backed lottery system.”

    Library Journal

  • “We all have much to learn from the author’s important perspective on the proliferation of gambling opportunities. Written in an informal, sometimes humorous manner, this book contains excellent information for library patrons.”

    Booklist

  • “A breezy, funny writer…By turns amusing and alarming.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “This funny, eye-opening memoir explores the American mania for gambling and the dark side of hitting the jackpot.”

    Details Magazine

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanna | 2/12/2014

    " It's partly about how winning the lottery totally fails to fix your life, partly about how and why businesses turn your yearly lottery payment into a heap of cash (lump sum) for you, and partly about what Ugel was like when he worked in this business. It was pretty interesting, and parts were funny. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Randy Ray | 1/10/2014

    " I enjoyed reading this, but I felt like a lot of information was missing. It seemed likes the book was more a series of vignettes than an actual cohesive story, and most of the characters weren't as fleshed out as I would have liked. That being said, he's a good, entertaining writer, and the book gives a good overview of the other side of the lottery culture. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ray Charbonneau | 12/15/2013

    " More of a salesman's memoirs than the interesting study of lotteries and their winners that's promised on the book jacket. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 12/2/2013

    " I heard the author in a radio interview, and so read the book. Edward Ugel worked for the "lump sum industry", making a living getting lottery winners to sell their tickets for a price. The Firm took a huge cut, the lottery winner got quick cash (instead of having to wait for a future check), and the Firm's salesman went looking for a new lottery winner. To be a salesman in the business one had to be a bit of a gambler. To sell the deal to the lottery winner took guts. It is a world I could hardly imagine existed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kayla | 10/23/2013

    " This book is supposed to be about the dark side of winning the lottery. So far I'm not convinced. The writing is witty and engaging, but not laugh out loud hysterical. A good light read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 carmie | 10/18/2013

    " Note to self: Do not buy any more lottery tickets, it's a scam that will ruin my personal relationships should I win. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 9/12/2013

    " I read this because of the This American Life piece on it. I read it a few years ago, though, so I couldn't say much about it except that it was a quick read and I enjoyed it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric | 8/3/2013

    " funny writer. Ugel had an insane job and tells about it in great detail. He reminds me of David Sedaris. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeremy | 4/12/2013

    " Well, he's a despicable man revealing the seamy underside of lottery annuity sales. Like the JG Wentworths you see advertised on bad TV, these folks pluck coins from the hands of lottery winners, who often outlive their means and end up back where they started. Yikes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bill | 4/1/2013

    " Not a bad book but not a good one either. The business he writes about sounds a whole lot like the mortgage business - I was hoping for some more lottery-specific details. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tatrd | 2/13/2013

    " Learned a lot but it ended abruptly and I didn't really like him, although I got the impression he didn't really like himself for a long time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tobias S. | 10/27/2012

    " A look at how people who win lots of money suddenly blow it, and the predators who prey on them... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Deborah | 11/5/2011

    " It could have been more interesting if he had stuck to the stories about the lottery winners. I wasn't interested in the sales stuff and just didn't like him. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gary Gray | 9/25/2011

    " Not as good as I had hoped. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JJ | 5/18/2011

    " Very interesting book and I learned a lot about the lottery system. I wish there had been more about the various deals he made and I felt the ending was a bit of a let down. I wondered what happened next. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margot | 3/2/2011

    " This was a really interesting book to me about lottery winners, gamblers and salesmen. It was a fast read but there were parts where I actually laughed out loud. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tim | 1/8/2011

    " The idea was good, but the book itself was not very well written. I learned some things. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Deborah | 12/21/2010

    " It could have been more interesting if he had stuck to the stories about the lottery winners. I wasn't interested in the sales stuff and just didn't like him. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Foster | 6/15/2010

    " I was hoping for about lottery winners. What I got was a navel-gazing, self-indulgent bunch of drivel, written by a total loser. I quit after about 40 pages, and that was 39 pages too late. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Oleg | 4/3/2010

    " Fascinating look into the biography of Edward Ugel, a "lump-sum" salesman.

    Appeals: salesmen (is this an appeal? to me it is), sub-culture, money, addiction, gambling, luxury, clear beginning-middle-end, recovery. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tobias | 10/1/2009

    " A look at how people who win lots of money suddenly blow it, and the predators who prey on them... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lulu | 3/4/2009

    " Not so much. A wonderful premise that seems like it could be seedy, but the entire time he sounds like a used car salesman, not a journalist. D-. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kayla | 12/21/2008

    " This book is supposed to be about the dark side of winning the lottery. So far I'm not convinced. The writing is witty and engaging, but not laugh out loud hysterical. A good light read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rcharbon | 11/13/2008

    " More of a salesman's memoirs than the interesting study of lotteries and their winners that's promised on the book jacket. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeremy | 9/10/2008

    " Well, he's a despicable man revealing the seamy underside of lottery annuity sales. Like the JG Wentworths you see advertised on bad TV, these folks pluck coins from the hands of lottery winners, who often outlive their means and end up back where they started. Yikes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ed | 8/5/2008

    " Disappointing. It started out with an engaging anecdote about deep-sea fishing with a broke millionaire, then a few more anecdotes...and then it was over. Expected more from it, it never really got going for me. Oh, and what's with that epilogue, too? "

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About the Author

Edward Ugel is a sales and marketing expert who 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.

About the Narrator

Arthur Morey has won three AudioFile Magazine “Best Of” Awards: in 2011 for Biography and History, in for History and Historical Fiction, and in 2009 for Nonfiction and Culture. His work has also garnered twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, and he has been nominated for an Audie Award. He graduated from Harvard and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has won awards for his fiction and drama, worked as an editor with several book publishers, and taught literature and writing at Northwestern University. As a narrator, he has received nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award.