Selling the Dream: The Billion-Dollar Industry Bankrupting Americans (Hardcover)

Selling the Dream: The Billion-Dollar Industry Bankrupting Americans By Jane Marie Cover Image
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A Next Big Idea Club Must-Read for March 2024 * A Bustle Best New Book of Spring 2024

Peabody and Emmy Award–winning journalist Jane Marie expands on her popular podcast The Dream to expose the scourge of multilevel marketing schemes and how they have profited off the evisceration of the American working class.

We’ve all heard of Amway, Mary Kay, Tupperware, and LuLaRoe, but few know the nefarious way they and countless other multilevel marketing (MLM) companies prey on desperate Americans struggling to make ends meet.

When factories close, stalwart industries shutter, and blue-collar opportunities evaporate, MLMs are there, ready to pounce on the crumbling American Dream. MLMs thrive in rural areas and on military bases, targeting women with promises of being their own boss and millions of dollars in easy income—even at the risk of their entire life savings. But the vast majority—99.7%—of those who join an MLM make no money or lose money, and wind up stuck with inventory they can’t sell to recoup their losses.

Featuring in-depth reporting and intimate research, Selling the Dream reveals how these companies—often owned by political and corporate elites, such as the Devos and the Van Andels families—have made a windfall in profit off of the desperation of the American working class.

About the Author

Jane Marie is a Peabody and Emmy Award–winning journalist, a former producer of This American Life, and the host of podcasts The Dream and DTR. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Cosmopolitan, The Toast, and more. She lives in Los Angeles with her daughter. Follow her on Twitter @SeeJaneMarie.

Praise For…

“In Selling the Dream, [Marie] goes even deeper into these dubious organizations and their marketing practices, keeping us entertained all the while with her chatty wit.”

“What a strange and insidious world Jane has chosen to explore and share with us, one that is hiding around every corner of American life.”
Susan Orlean, New York Times bestselling author of The Library Book

“So, my former intern wrote a book. You're looking at it. I knew nothing about this world and loved learning about it from Jane.”
Ira Glass, host and producer of This American Life

“Charting the dark underbelly of multilevel marketing isn’t for the faint of heart, but in Jane’s capable hands we’re along for a wild ride. In Selling the Dream her big heart and clear-eyed reporting are on full display.”
W. Kamau Bell, author of The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell

“[A] piercing debut investigation into the pyramid schemes underlying such well-known American brands as Amway, Avon, and Mary Kay…[Selling the Dream] is an urgent and riveting exposé of the fraudulent tactics behind direct sales organizations.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Marie offers a biting exposé of multilevel marketing schemes (MLMs), triangular business structures that exploit people hoping to realize riches and success....Eye-opening reporting on a prolific scam.”
Kirkus Reviews

“[A] breezy, pulls-no-punches deep dive into the world of pyramid schemes—oops, ‘multilevel marketing opportunities’…. Firing off her sassy asides, Marie’s blunt honesty will attract readers of Amanda Montell’s Cultish and Emily Lynn Paulson’s Hey, Hun.” 

Product Details
ISBN: 9781982155773
ISBN-10: 1982155779
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: March 12th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English