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Dear Reader Books + Stationery

Selling the Dream: The Billion-Dollar Industry Bankrupting Americans

Selling the Dream: The Billion-Dollar Industry Bankrupting Americans

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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.

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