No Grey Areas, The Inside Story of the Largest Point Shaving Scandal in History and the Consequences Thereafter by Joseph N. Gagliano – Review

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.

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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.

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My Review –

From the intro – The buzzer sounded. I had just fixed three college basketball games in a row, and I gently smiled as a cool five million dollars went right into my pocket. A few short years, later, however, my joy and abundance would come to an end…almost to the point of suicide. As of this writing, I’m sitting on a wooden stool, typing my story on an antiquated twenty-plus-year-old typewriter, with no correction tape, while currently an inmate in a federal prison for the 2nd time in my life.

Who am I? Why should you care?

I’m a guy who has made poor choices for the sake of greed and success. A guy who applied God-given talents to build wealth and success, and then managed to misapply those talents and got a very different end result. A guy who charted a path that took him into grey areas and then had to pay the price for those ill-fated choices.

I am the guy with a story that can make a difference…a real difference in your life or the life of someone you know.

…You may not be wandering into that grey area of your life right now. But, at some point in every person’s life, temptation is placed before you. What you do with that choice is up to you.

There is a recurring theme throughout the book – poor choices. No one makes them for us. We make them for ourselves, and damn if the consequences don’t just stink. And, make no mistake, anyone who is old enough to have made a bad choice will tell you – it does come back to bite you. One of the most important things we can ever learn AND remember is that we do NOT get to choose the consequences. They choose us.

Joseph Gagliano learned a valuable lesson, albeit a little late in life – he wasted time chasing an elusive dream – happiness. Time, when he could have been a better father, a better husband, a better friend, and a better person. Time is something, no matter how hard we try, we cannot get back.

No Grey Areas reads at times like a thriller, other times like a sorrowful confession. Joseph Gagliano is a surprisingly good writer and you can feel the thrill of the chase as he is fixing games, and running through an airport with a duffel full of money. There were times throughout the book where I found myself holding my breath. Other times, I wanted to slap him and ask him if he hadn’t already learned this lesson!

He is brutally honest about his adventures and his mistakes. He is honest about his lack of judgement when it came to friends and business acquaintances. He is honest about his regrets.

The book will educate you if you don’t already have some inkling about how corrupt our government is, on just how corrupt our government really is. It will also educate you on the fact that just because it walks like a duck, dresses like a duck and sounds like a duck, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good attorney. When it comes to having your back, sometimes the only person who truly has your back, is you.

Most of us count on a level playing field. Don’t kid yourself; it doesn’t exist. I was so naive and a glutton for punishment that I actually believed in the honor of others to do as they said they would. That’s another life lesson learned. As my buddy Andre says, everyone will disappoint and let you down one time or another. The faster one accepts that, the quicker you’ll take responsibility for your own life.

…It’s your life and you have your own choices to make, so make them carefully. What will you do? How will you make them? Whichever way you decide to go, you have but to remember one thing, this one key fact of life…

         There are no grey areas.

I was very impressed with the book. It was well-written. No Grey Areas was a book full of hard-learned life lessons and those having a hard time with life would benefit from reading this book. If you love memoirs, this one should definitely be on your short list. I am giving the book five stars.

Good luck Joseph Gagliano. I hope you take your lessons to heart and have a wonderful life.

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