How to win free books with very little effort.

My heart hammered against my rib cage, and I slid to the front of my seat. Sweaty hands gripped the small fold-up writing table, and my pen slid to the floor.

I didn’t need the pen. I had to focus on freeing up my hands. It was the EntreLeadership simulcast, and I had to win a book.

“I have two more books to give away at this time,” she said. I needed one I needed one I needed one.

I’d seen the stack on the table when I arrived to the class 45 minutes before it started — I had to get a good seat before anyone else! — and I knew what that stack meant: winners. Eight of them. My stomach started to churn; I had to win one.

The first two giveaways of the morning went by me. The questions about Dave Ramsey were beyond my knowledge; I was not familiar with his card table activities, or his wife, and so I couldn’t respond to the questions which required such obtuse answers. Frustration had swept over me like lemmings at a cliff. My co-worker, sitting next to me, won a book earlier, and she was already winning in the Great Post-It Note Battle Of September 2012 back in the office. I felt like Dewey next to Truman, or Brett Favre in the 2010 NFC Championship Game. So close!

The giveaway had shifted into multiple choice, though, and I knew how to game that system. At the edge of my seat, I waited.

“The first person to raise their hand after I get done reading the last of the question gets to answer first,” she said.

You have to want the book, Julie, I told myself, preparing myself for raising my hand in front of a crowd of strangers. Own it. 

Strategy was simple: I didn’t have to technically be first if could be exuberant and nearly first. Plus, due to my early arrival, I had a cherry seat up front. Front + severe upward protrusion of the arm = win.

“…and C, the team member’s personalities.”

I threw my hand into the air, activating the muscles I’d worked so hard to build this last year. All of those hours of agonizing reps on the weight machines were for this moment. I was an athlete, for this book. I reached for the multitude of stars in heaven and imagined the $12.99 I was going to save on Amazon. Never had I achieved such boldness, such winning form, such efficacy of movement. The glory of winning gave me the strength to hold my hand up several seconds, the weight of anticipation not able to bring me down. Chariots of Fire began playing in my head.

“Gosh, this is a tough call,” she said, turning to the other woman who was helping her run the room. “What do you think?”

“I think maybe this fellow in the back was first,” Tokyo Rose said, but she was hesitant. I sensed it, and moved in for the kill, keeping direct eye-contact with the woman who thought it might be me. I willed her to call on me.


“Hmmm….I think…” and she pointed at me. “What’s the answer?”


“That’s correct!” and she handed me the book.

I win!

I saved $12.99!

(Competition is killing me.)

3 responses

  1. I thought this was just another funny little post. Then I looked up what a “EntreLeadership simulcast” was, and my stomach turned. So you opened the door, so I shall step through.

    For a while I listened to Dave Ramsey’s radio show every day. The guy’s highly opinionated, and self-assured. Okay, good. Smart and experienced, sure. And successful self-promoter. Just don’t swallow it whole, is all I ask! Take it with a grain of salt. Thanks, and good evening …

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