…no, I don’t know why
The Doclopedia #363
Assorted Books (Bad Style): The Book of Winning
“Any young person who reads The Book of Winning, by Reverend Bertram K. Bonner, will surely profit from it. The sound moral stories and examples of how leading an upright life will help one “win” in life, especially when absorbed at an early age. This book is highly recommended for boys and girls age 8 to 12. 400 pages, $1.10”
That’s what the advertisement said in 1900 when the book was published, and it sold over two million copies in the United States, but for people who knew how to really read it, it offered a hell of a lot more than a righteous life.
The truth was, “Reverend” Bonner was merely one of the many identities used by Stanley Jessup, a con man & gambler of legendary talent. Young grifters who showed a natural aptitude were often referred to the book by their older counterparts. By reading only certain sentences, one could learn dozens of secrets for separating the gullible and/or greedy from their money, as well as the best ways to avoid detection by the police or detective agencies and which parts of the United States were best for which kind of cons.
Not a bad deal for only $1.10!