SD on Matthew Lesko

You know, that crazy money guy on tv. Can someone please fill me in with the W5 and what not?

Mr. Lesko is, once again, in the running for Most Annoying Advertiser of the Year.

Having never read his book, I have very little commentary outside of the impressions I get from his commercials.

The man appears to be, on its face, providing a $29.95 collection of information anyone with the gumption and drive to search the internet for hours on end could probably get for free. His book contains information available for public consumption, but that people might not necessarily know, regarding government subsidies and available funds.

Again, having never read the book, I can’t speak for the veracity of any of the information in it. I’d wager that a goodly chunk of the money available is solely available to minorities and women, neither of which I happen to be.

That said, the guy definitely came out of nowhere with a hook-laden concept – a weirdo with a question mark suit and bizarre hair-do, yelling at you about free money. Plus, every time I see the commercial, it’s typically on a station broadcasting syndicated television, and nearly always at some ungodly hour of night – not the epitome of high-profile advertising, and yet I know plenty of people who know who he is, and by name.

I wonder how useful his information really is, but he’s obviously successful in his business efforts thus far – he’s got at least 5 books, according to

I looked through a copy of his book at the local Borders. Chastain86 is right, the book is full of addresses to government departments that you could find on the internet or phonebook and a majority of the money seems to be for very specific segments of the population.

Free!! Government Program!! Allows you to borrow books for free!!

In other words, your local library may have this book, or can get it from an associated library.

I have read and used his books. They are true but very misleading. His book called “Get Free Stuff” (or something similar) should be called “Get Free Information.” Most of his books only tell you how to get a loan. The grants are virtually exclusive to non-profit groups.

Need housing, it tells you to sign up for Section 8. Right if you are a single male forget it. And even if you qualify it can take YEARS to get on the list.

A LOT of the information is outdated and all of it is available if you look yourself.

For instance I was uninsured and found that I was eligible for a program to get discounted meds. I applied for this in 1995. I got a letter in 2001 saying I was now on their list to be eligible and needed to resubmit. Of course after 6 years I had insurance and wasn’t eligible.

He quotes Hill-Barton for many things that just don’t work out in life. Hill-Barton was a program that gave low interest (in a few cases interest free) loans to hospitals that were being built in the 50s. This basically said “Ok you treat up to say 50,000 dollars per year free and the government gives you low interest loan.”

Sounds good except hospitals were not told how they need to spend it. For instance they could treat 1 person for $50,000 or 10 people for $5,000. Most hospitals only had to do this for 25 years. Now since hospitals aren’t really being built most have filled their obligation for free service. A few which are Hill-Barton in perpetuity fill the $50,000 requirement by January 1st or 2nd. (each year it stars over) with the rising cost of meds etc.

So does Hill-Barton work. Yes but in reality it is virtually impossible to get.

Any of the grants you will have to spend a lot of time proving you should get the money, and this money is very restrictive about spending it. (which is fine as they ARE giving you the money)

Basically you get a book with places to LOOK for free informaton.

A lot of the information just gives you the number or address to an association. For instance stop smoking sites like Phillip Morris which is a cigarette manufacturer but has a listing on it’s website about how bad cigarettes are for you.

I checked all these books out of the library. DON’T BUY THESE. Go to the library first.

I don’t think there’s anything sleazy about this – while the information in Lesko’s books is publicly available, that’s not the same as saying it’s publicly known. The books are probably about useless if you’ve got a ton of time on your hands, you’re well educated, and you have access to the internet, like many unemployed humanities majors a year or two out of college. However, if you’re don’t have quite that much free time or level of education it’d be a real hassle to track down every helpful suggestion that might be in the books.

That said, the library is definitely the way to go.


I think they are terribly misleading. While nothing he says is wrong…I don’t consider a loan “free money.” I doubt anyone else would either.

He says “millions qualify” and this is true for the loan. However few will qualify for any of the grants.

Look at it this way “someone will make money with Don Lapre’s [is that his name - he looks like a Ken doll] system” but 99.9% won’t.
Pyramid schemes make someone money, but everyone will not.

Lesko overstates facts. Let’s put it this way…He may not make you jump to a conclusion but he leads you to the edge.

I agree that this is misleading. I looked through the book at my library and found that most of what he was talking about was geared toward women (especially single moms), or the poor, or both. I was hoping to find info on health coverage for me and my kids but discovered that I make too much money to qualify for what was listed–and I’d already found the programs he’d listed by doing a simple Internet search.

When you get right down to it, he doesn’t lie, but he does lead you to believe that you get “free stuff” or “free money” (which I had interpreted as grant funding), and that’s not really the case.

If you’re curious, check your library, they probably have the books.

I haven’t read anything by him; however, I went with a friend to a semi-local italian restaurant and he was there. (MD suburbs) He was wearing that annoying Riddler suit and chatting up a girl at the bar. The waitress said that he came there often and would try to pick up single girls in the bar (definately not a pick up bar either) but always left alone. He also carried a briefcase and tried to sell his books out of there as well.

He hasn’t exactly come out of nowhere. IIRC He’s been doing this since at least the 1980s and possibly longer. He just dropped out of sight for a while. I seem to recall him making the rounds of the talk shows years ago as well as doing TV (and, I think, radio) ads. He used the same crazy yelling personna but I think the question mark suit is new.

Go read the reviews at Amazon. That’s always a good indicator.

They’re scathing.

I think that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.