Never Enough Zeroes

Non-Fiction - Memoir
131 Pages
Reviewed on 05/23/2022
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Author Biography

Joel Soper grew up in Livonia, Michigan, the youngest of four siblings. After graduating from Western Michigan University he moved to San Diego, California. For nearly three decades Joel has run some of the most successful residential landscaping businesses across Southern California. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Philip Wyeth is the author of seven novels and also has extensive experience as a copywriter and editor. Originally from Northern Virginia, he has called Los Angeles home for over twenty years. He’s a film aficionado and enjoys playing golf in his free time.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Never Enough Zeroes is a work of non-fiction in the memoir and autobiographical subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author team Joel Soper with Philip Wyeth. The book follows Joel Soper’s descent into gambling addiction as he gradually burns millions of dollars in the pursuit of his obsessive behavior. The book aims to capture the feeling of helpless addiction with the goal of giving hope to those who are about to hit rock bottom and reminding the rest of us that as gambling becomes a bigger and more accessible industry, there need to be safety measures in place.

Memoirs live or die based on the extent to which the author is willing to share the challenging and unglamorous parts of their life; keep too much back and whatever message you’re trying to share falls flat. With this in mind, author team Joel Soper and Philip Wyeth have succeeded beautifully with Soper leaving nothing out in this tale of succumbing to addiction and obsession that highlights the danger of gambling with emotional aplomb. The beautiful prose when discussing the rock bottom that Soper found himself hurtling toward left me feeling deeply affected, and the call to arms that the book puts forward for gambling regulation and support for addicts was an incredibly compelling case as a result of both the author’s openness and their skill for emotional and effective writing. Overall, Never Enough Zeroes is a memoir with real and palpable power to move the reader as they follow the author's journey from a quick flutter on a race to full-blown addiction – I challenge anyone to read this book from start to finish and not walk away feeling deeply moved.

Philip Van Heusen

What’s a nice Jewish boy like you doing in this den of iniquity? That could be the question asked of Joel Soper. In Never Enough Zeroes: A Memoir, Joel tells the story of his life of vice and pain. He is an addict. Not to drugs or sex, although they play a part in his sordid life. Addiction controls the addict’s life. It is nothing more than a thief and murderer. First, addiction steals all you have—your friends, money, houses, and mind—then it kills whatever relationships might be left. You feel like an outside force has taken over your mind, body, and soul. Finally, you are at the mercy of the addiction. It does not matter if the addiction is gambling, sex, drugs, or even shoes; it has come to control and destroy. Joel finally had enough. He had to admit the addiction was bigger than he was. He also had to find the courage to realize that he needed help. Read this book as a warning that even though you think it won’t happen to you, gambling and other addictions will turn you into their puppet.

Joel Soper is a work in progress. He has been to rock bottom and is clawing his way back up after gambling addiction had taken over Joel’s life and destroyed all he was and had. Finally, Joel became sick enough of his misery to take a chance on himself. Hard-core gambling addicts will bet on anything except themselves. It takes guts and determination to make the bet that one can overcome the addiction and help others. In Never Enough Zeroes: A Memoir, Joel shares the depths of despair that led him to find support and change. Joel’s life is a flashing warning sign for all to see. Addicts can go as far as utter self-destruction. Few can climb out of the abyss. Joel wants to be an inspiration for addicts to believe in themselves and find their way out of the deadly maze of addiction.

Pikasho Deka

Never Enough Zeroes is a memoir and a cautionary tale that warns readers of the ills of gambling and the sports betting industry in general. A confessed sports better, Joel Soper tells his heartbreaking story with fellow author Philip Wyeth. Through this book, the authors demonstrate how the cancer of gambling addiction can ruin the lives of even the most successful and stable individuals. Joel's gambling addiction started in the 80s when he placed his first bet on a race track in Detroit, Michigan. He squandered millions of his hard-earned money on trips to Vegas, betting on sports teams and at casinos. As the years passed by, the bad breaks piled up and started to destroy him mentally, physically, and emotionally to the point that he came close to ending it all.

Never Enough Zeroes is a book that is a must-read for anyone who has ever gambled or placed money on a game. Joel Soper lays bare his soul and holds nothing back while telling the tale of his addiction that almost ruined his life. Co-author Philip Wyeth has a firm grasp on the narrative, and it breezes past without a single hitch. The prose is crisp and, quite frankly, entertaining to read. Despite the serious subject matter, there were some genuinely funny moments. The most impressive aspect of the story was that through all the struggles and setbacks, Joel continued to persevere until he successfully changed his ways. An informative and enlightening read that I highly recommend.

Jamie Michele

Never Enough Zeroes by Joel Soper, with Philip Wyeth, is a non-fiction memoir that focuses on the impact of a years-long gambling addiction and the no-holds-barred insight into what that addiction actually looks and feels like. Soper tells us that he has lost over a million dollars in his attempt to make a success of sports betting, but the reality is that the cost was so much higher than these figures. His personal life was annihilated as friends disappeared, time ran away from him, and a woman who was heartbreakingly committed to the relationship finally said she was done. Soper's story begins with a middle-class upbringing and every advantage. The trajectory of his life changes when he takes a job working for a bookie that puts the still-just-a-kid Soper on the path to addiction.

When I was 18 years old my parents took me on a cruise, where I was at the legal gambling age in international waters, and I placed my first ever casino bet: $5 on red-nineteen at the roulette table. It hit, I won $175, and my father looked at me and said, “That is the worst possible thing that could have happened.” He then made me continue playing until the $175 was lost again to teach me how loss in gambling is swift and inevitable. When I read Joel Soper's Never Enough Zeroes, I am reminded of the fleeting thrill of a winner's high and the devastating, crushing blow of the loss after loss after loss that follow. Soper gives us a memoir, not a self-help book, which is what I think the world needs in situations such as this.

Addiction is a DISEASE. There is no such thing as weakness in a mental health crisis. He shares his story to inspire through a wonderful conversational writing style that is relatable, authentic, and profoundly honest. The inspiration is there for readers who believe recovery and remission are impossible, and the inspiration may lead others to seek help to find success in a new way of living that does not include thousands of dollars lost on...women's curling. Did that really happen to Soper? Yes, really. Should you read this book even if you feel like you are at the end of your rope and are a hopeless case? Yes, really. Very highly recommended.

Edith Wairimu

In the powerful, thought-provoking memoir, Never Enough Zeroes by Joel Soper and Philip Wyeth, Soper reflects on his life and the cost of his addiction to gambling. He recalls the electrifying events and his excitement at the Detroit Race Course in the 1980s where his gambling addiction began. Later, he almost served jail time for selling illicit substances as a college student. His addiction dragged him into mounting debt, the loss of millions of dollars and many important relationships, and the loss of his dignity. Soper examines his life and candidly reveals what it is like to lose everything and remain chained to an insatiable addiction for decades. He also analyzes the changes in sports betting and shows how current trends are further enabling gambling addiction.

Soper writes openly and is unafraid of exploring and exposing his deepest desires that perpetuate his addiction. The work is crucial as it contains eye-opening revelations about the motives, thoughts, and habits of gambling addicts. Its blistering coverage of the rot and greed within our society and the less apparent addictions that continue to afflict modern society will challenge us to review our perception of addiction. By showing the destructive impact that compulsive gambling has had on his life, Soper’s memoir is also a powerful outcry against the sweeping trend of sports betting legalization which is leaving a trail of more compulsive gamblers. The memoir will also serve as a deterrent, preventing some from becoming involved with gambling, and will resonate with anyone who has struggled with the addiction. Never Enough Zeroes by Joel Soper and Philip Wyeth is a bold, open memoir with messages that society needs to hear.