Money for Nothing
Edward Ugel

Book cover image

Narrated By: Arthur Morey

Duration: 9 hours and 11 minutes

What to expect

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.


Memoirs, Biography: business and industry, Business and Management, Gambling: theories and methods

Listen to a sample

“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.”


“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.”


“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.”