What happens to a person when she or he wins an enormous amount of money? One widespread belief is that hitting the jackpot kick-starts a downward spiral, and that winners end up isolated from friends and relatives, sad, lonely, and, in some scenarios, even taking their own lives. Is there any truth to this, or is this a myth perpetuated by those 'normal folks' whose winnings are rather less? Either way, winning a lottery jackpot can be perceived as a sort of laboratory experiment that reveals what happens when it suddenly becomes possible to make 'all' one's dreams come true. Beginning with people's personal aspirations and hopes of winning, this engrossing book discusses the 'fates' of lottery millionaires and, more broadly, what these say about Western culture. The issue is really not winning, but the relationship between people's dream worlds and reality. Winners talk about the instant ecstasy of winning, taking possession of the money, future plans and raising children. How do winners tame the jackpot? Who do they share the secret with? Do they resign from work? Do they travel around the world? What do they buy and what not?
The unexpected lottery win signifies a crisis, a break in the continuance of life, a need to take control of one's life as a lottery winner. This book provides a uniquely revealing window through which to examine how personal behaviour, patterns of consumption and relationships withstand or succumb to the pressures of a pivotal, purportedly felicitous, life event.