Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mother Talk Review: Money for Nothing

Who hasn't wondered about the people who win the lottery, or fantasized about what they would do if they won? I was interested in reading Edward Ugel's book, Money for Nothing, to feed my voyeuristic side.

Mr. Ugel falls into a position selling lottery winners lump sums of cash in exchange for their future payments. The book is about his personal story much more so than the story of any lottery winners, but it was still interesting to read about his life.

After finishing the book, I'm not sure what message the author was trying to share. I feel like he wrote the book to share a lesson with his readers, but I'm not sure what it was. He seems to feel dirty by what he did, but the reality is that he is filled a need.

Perhaps I feel a bit sensitive because my husband is a salesman, earning 100% commission. He works hard, helping people fill a need that they have (he sells heating and cooling). Many times the author would write of a sales technique, and appear embarrassed by it -- but often it was a simple sales techniques used by salespeople in a hundred different industries. Perhaps the lesson had nothing to do with his stint as a salesman, but was instead about personal choices and money management. I'm just not sure.

I did learn things that I never knew about the lottery industry and what happens to individual winners. It fed my fantasies for a few days about what I would do if I ever won, (and my hopes that I would handle my winnings intelligently.) I can see how a sudden windfall could wreak havoc in many lives, but I still think that the company he worked for met a need that people obviously had when they got in over their heads.

Overall, the book was okay. I think I would have liked to know more about the individual winners, rather than the author's ongoing struggle.

I'd be happy to pass it along to one of my readers. Please comment, or email me, with your lottery-winning fantasy and I'll choose someone to receive the book.

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