- Self Improvement
The book I want to tell you about today doesn’t really fall under one of the above categories. But here’s the thing – that’s okay!
I was sent a copy of No Grey Areas: The Inside Story of the Largest Point Shaving Scandal in History and the Consequences Thereafter to review on Self Help Daily. I actually allowed the e-mail to sit in my inbox for 24 hours while I thought about it. If a book is an obvious “fit” (as in it fits comfortably in one of the categories above) and sounds like something my readers would be interested in and inspired by, I reply immediately.
However, every now and then, a book will come along and I’ll have to think about it. I decided that this would be an interesting “change” from the regular books I read and review, so I gladly accepted the review copy.
After all, it’s always been my FIRM belief that we can learn from and gain inspiration and motivation from any book. This is never more true than when the book is a biography or autobiography. I mean, what could be more thought-provoking that getting inside someone else’s mind and world and seeing where their actions took them – for better or worse.
“Answers never come on our time, but they do come in time.” – Joseph N. Gagliano, Page 164, No Grey Areas
In 1994, Joseph N. Gagliano calmly sat back, put his hands behind his head and smiled as the NCAA clocked ticked down the remaining last seconds of the game. It was the third game in a row Joe had bet on where the point spread had to land on a specific number. With millions at stake, was he nervous? Not at all.
As the buzzer sounded on the 3rd game, his duffle bags were filled with millions in cash. How?
Joe had fixed the outcome of the games.
No Grey Areas tells the incredible, true story of the man who orchestrated the largest sports point shaving betting scam in sport’s history. But that is only where the story begins…
It is always the cover up, not the crime, where white collar criminals get caught. Joe was caught, convicted and served time in Federal prison for his role in coordinating and financing the 1994 ASU point shaving scandal.
His journey continued as Joe came out prison in late 2000 with a passion to clear his name and a desire to remove perceptions held by others of him. He embarked on an aggressive path to success; building a sizeable chain of full service car washes, making millions in real estate, living a life of luxury, and even buying a private jet just to get to his yacht in San Diego quicker.
But the story does not end there….
A few years later, the 2008 financial collapse engulfed the world and because of Joe’s “grey areas” a banking deal landed him in prison for a 2nd term. Labeled a 2-time felon, he made some brilliant and yet morally questionable decisions while searching for the true meaning of success.
Inside these pages, you’ll get a backstage pass on what it was like to slowly fall into the “grey areas” of scandal, greed, corruption, money, and business. Joe’s honest, detailed telling of this life of infamy, history, and successes along with the consequences of his decisions will amaze and inspire you.
No Grey Areas is a riveting read, filled with all the elements of a great non-fiction book, except that is a TRUE story. Reminiscent of The Wolf of Wall Street and MoneyBall, this gripping personal life story will carry the reader through the internal struggles of poor life choices and fortune squandered. It is a captivating journey of morally questionable decisions, and the pursuit of freedom, all during a harrowing ride to redemption.
As I said at the top of the review, No Grey Areas is a real page turner. It’s the type of book that reads fast. When I’m reading a book that I’m going to review, sometimes I have to tell myself, “Pump the breaks… ” so I can be certain I catch everything I need to catch without speeding by something that’s extra special.
This book is a very fast-paced, highly enjoyable, and exciting book to read. I had to pump the breaks in every chapter if we’re being honest because I was always anxious to see…
- …. what Joseph (the author) was going to get in next.
- …. how he was going to get out of it.
- …. if he’d ever get it all turned around!
I had gotten only a few pages into the book when I realized that the old saying is true: You can’t judge a book by its cover. While No Grey Areas does not resemble the more traditional “inspirational” or “motivational” books I’m exceptionally familiar with – it is, in the end as inspiring and motivating as any I’ve read in a very, very long time. Author Joseph N. Gagliano set out to simply tell his story, but in doing so, he has given others danger signs. Signs that can keep their own “story” from having similar destructive and heart-wrenching chapters.
If that’s not inspiring and motivating, I’m not sure what is.
In one of my favorite chapters, Chapter 21, I had forgotten about pumping breaks – or that any breaks even existed. I was cruising right along, pulling for Joseph, when something he said stopped me in my tracks. It wasn’t a “stand alone” quote that you see coming or a revelation that sits apart from other paragraphs. It was actually something he said in the middle of a paragraph… in the middle of a sentence no less.
When reviewing books, I am always VERY careful not to spoil things for future readers or to unfairly ruin moments for authors – so I won’t give away the context of his words. I’ll simply say that he is in the middle of discussing a conversation he’d had with two men who proved to be angels on earth for him. He writes, “While I had no intention during that lunch to discuss my plans…. I guess the guilt I was carrying must have had its own way of speaking…”
Although I was, at the time, reading full tilt – anxious to get Joseph to a safe place – I threw the brakes on and re-read the words. “…the guilt I was carrying must have had its own way of speaking…”
I had to close the book and spend a few minutes alone with that thought. DEEP. This is yet another beautiful example of the importance of guarding what we carry around. Whether it’s guilt, anger, bitterness, pain, regret, or any host of hideous travel companions. While in this instance, it was beneficial for the words to come out, that’s not always the case.
Unchecked emotions take on a life of their own and, make no mistake about it, they will have their moment in the spotlight.
Take away: Leave no emotions simmering beneath the surface. Bring them out, confront them, and deal with them. Otherwise, they’ll come out on their terms and that’s seldom a pretty thing.
Well. What do you know… a book I didn’t think would fall into any of the three categories managed to fall under all three.
No Grey Areas is a wonderful book and I hope you’ll read it for yourself.
“A read that will have you saying WOW…! Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” – Andre Wadsworth, 3rd overall draft pick in the 1998 NFL draft to the Arizona Cardinals, Executive Pastor and Founder of Impact Church
About the Author:
Joseph N. Gagliano grew up on the northwest side of Chicago in a strong Italian-American family, the son of Chicago police officer and a housewife. Joe’s family struggled to make ends meet until Joe was about thirteen years old, when the security company his father created grew to into a successful business.
He attended Eastern Illinois University, opened a few businesses and purchased several student rental properties. He dropped out of school early and began working on the trading floor of the Chicago Board of Trade in the bond futures trading pit.
As a young man on the trading floor of the CBOT, Joe’s integrity was initially compromised. The trading environment was one of questionable ethics and seemed to embrace life’s “grey areas”. This learned acceptance tilted Joe’s moral compass to a point that allowed him to rationalize many questionable opportunities for a period of time.
At age 24, Joe organized and financed the multi-million dollar, Arizona State basketball point shaving scandal in 1993-94. To this day, it remains one of the largest known scandals in sports history.
After being indicted for the ASU scandal, Joe lost his license to trade in the markets and was sentenced to federal prison. Struggling to get out from under the cloud of the ASU scandal, upon his first release from prison, Gagliano embarked on an aggressive path to success, making millions in various businesses and real estate.
Joe’s run in’s with the law were not yet over.
A few years later, the 2008 financial collapse engulfed the world and Joe’s “grey area” in a banking deal landed him in prison for a 2nd term. Now labeled a 2-time felon, he made some brilliant and yet morally questionable decisions while searching for the true meaning of success.
It was also the wake up call he needed.
No Grey Areas is not just about the inside details on the ASU scandal, or a story about right and wrong. It is Joe’s personal story of greed, consequences and redemption. No Grey Areas is Joe’s first book and a brutally honest telling of a slice of history, money, and family that will both captivate and inspire you.
Joe’s new motto is simple, “Always perform for an Audience of One”. Whether your “One” is faith based and driven by higher divine principles, or, it’s yourself. Performing for an “Audience of one” will hold you accountable for what is right and moral. All life choices – big or small – will have an impact on our lives. If we can learn to keep our “Audience of One” happy, the rest of our stress will always fall into their proper places.
Joe is married and lives in Arizona with his wife and children.
“Joe has written a book that’s hard to put down with very positive life lessons. Call it the Holy Spirit or simple gut instincts – there are reasons why small voices become SO PRICELESS. And, why most of us have been given two ears but only one mouth. LISTEN UP…” – A.C. Green, 3x NBA Champion and NBA All-Star, NBA Ironman – holds the record for the most consecutive games played in the NBA.
Read more about No Grey Areas on Amazon.