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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions

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

1 rating: 1.0
2007 non-fiction book by Edward Ugel

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, … see full wiki

Author: Edward Ugel
Genre: Gambling, Lotteries
Publisher: Collins Business
Date Published: September 17, 2007
1 review about Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through...

Be careful what you wish for.

  • Mar 5, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+1
The year was 1964.  The State of New Hampshire introduces the first state sponsored lottery in this nation in nearly a century.  The logic was quite simple really.  Lotteries were a relatively painless way to raise additional revenue for the state.  The New Hampshire Lottery was an immediate success and so it was not too long before other states followed suit.  Now in 2009 there are lotteries in at least 42 of the 50 states.  The proliferation of state lotteries would spawn an entirely new industry.  "Money For Nothing: One Man's Journey Through The Dark Side of Lottery Millions" tells the little known story of the "lump-sum" industry.  Author Edward Ugel spent several years as a key player in one of the biggest firms in the business.  What he has to say will probably shock and certainly sadden you. This is a ruthless business!

Perhaps the most poignant observation that Ugel makes in "Money For Nothing" is how many of these winners wish they could just get their old lives back.  It turns out that winning a lottery is not the panacea that is portrayed in all of those commercials you hear on the radio and see on television.  For so many people life becomes much more complicated after winning a large sum of money.  For one thing lottery winners tend to lose their anonymity.  Suddenly these people are inundated with requests for money from family, friends and charitable organizations.  And of course it goes without saying that many of these folks will splurge on things like big new homes and fancy new cars.  Most winners are totally unprepared to manage large sums of money and before long find they themselves in dire financial straits.  This is where folks like Edward Ugel and others in the "lump-sum" industry jump into the picture.  As Ugel explains many of these multi-year jackpots are paid in relatively small annual payments over a period of 20 or 25 years.  Before long many of these winners come to realize that they have spent far more than they should have and find themselves desperate for cash.  Seemingly from out of nowhere guys like Edward Ugel show up with a check in hand to cover immediate expenses and a buy-out deal that looks awfully appealing.  Before many of these folks realize what they are doing they have signed away their remaining payments to one of these firms for a one time lump-sum payment.  Although these deals may be perfectly legal one would have to question the morality of it all.  Edward Ugel points out time and again in "Money For Nothing" that the "lump-sum" industry is not a career for the faint of heart or those afflicted with any kind of righteousness.

In
"Money For Nothing"Edward Ugel introduces us to a couple of his clients.  Their stories are fairly typical and you will see how they are identified and pursued by the industry.  It certainly makes you wonder if you would ever want to find yourself in their shoes.  One of my major frustrations with "Money For Nothing" is that while it is certainly apparent that these clients have been taken for a ride it is not quite clear just how lopsided the deals actually were for them.  Seeing the actual numbers involved in some of these transactions would have been quite helpful but this important information is simply nowhere to be found.  Ugel also spends a considerable amount of time discussing his own addiction to gambling and the reckless escapades that resulted.  I could have done with a bit less of that stuff.  At the end of the day "Money For Nothing: One Man's Journey Through The Dark Side of Lottery Winnings" is O.K. but it could have been so much better.  When this book was released back in 2007 I recall that a number of other reviewers noted how "hilarious" this book was.  I fail to see the humor.  In my opinion this was a project with lots of potential that just misses the mark.
Be careful what you wish for. Be careful what you wish for. Be careful what you wish for. Be careful what you wish for.

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