With the hubbub about Mike Lindell as yet another victim of cancel culture, I decided to read his autobiography, “What Are the Odds? From Crack Addict to CEO,” released in 2019. Not the typical business memoir on leadership and management, the book follows the outer journey of a man living on the edge and the inner journey of a man sabotaging himself.
Lindell dedicates this book “to anyone looking for hope.”
Living on the Edge
From his early life, Lindell fell into a destructive pattern. When quite young, he placed bets with money he didn’t have, starting at first with $20 or $50 bets, but eventually wagering hundreds or even thousands of dollars at a time, regardless of what was in his bank account.
As he got older, Lindell began dealing with organized crime. When his gambling debts shot to $25,000 and the mob threatened his family, Lindell’s response was to get himself arrested to protect his family. He was sentenced to five years of probation and five work-release weekends in jail. The worst part of this episode was that his character was publicly ruined, and he couldn’t get a loan to pay off his debts.
Later, Lindell found success with his ownership of Schmitty’s Tavern in Victoria, Minnesota. Due to his ingenuity, the bar became known as a fun place where customers could dance on the bar, spray each other with Super Soakers, hang upside down from the rafters, and so on. He also created men’s and women’s sports leagues and set up pool and dart leagues. He was selling fun and a sense of belonging.
However, Lindell entered a new, perilous time in his life when he got hooked on crack cocaine, which cost him the tavern. At his worst point, a drug deal in Mexico went awry, and he thought he would die. He states: “But now the game was over. The house had won. I was going to die right here on this dark, deserted street, a small item in the news.”
How he managed to save himself is incredible and says everything about Lindell’s belief that God was looking out for him.
Lindell launched several business ideas: cleaning carpets, raising pigs, and running a lunch wagon. Then there was MyPillow. In 2004, he had a dream that he was going to invent a superior pillow. It gave him a new purpose as he mulled over the pillow he wanted to create. Slowly, he built up his business while still on crack cocaine. Of course, he came close to losing his company more than once.
Throughout the book, readers see Lindell struggling with the idea of getting clean. He was able to talk other addicts off the ledge but not himself. After his wife’s 50th birthday, Lindell’s world really fell apart. His wife left him, his relationships with his children were failing, and he began suffering from debilitating fatigue of body and mind.
Finally, one day he decided to leave his trance-like state and quit crack. He was convinced that God needed him for a purpose.
His success story includes meeting a wonderful Christian woman, growing as a person through new friendships, eventually meeting President Trump when he was presidential candidate, and, importantly, connecting addicts with an effective recovery program on a large scale.
The last words of his book are “to be continued.”
In my short interview with Lindell, he explained that the negative publicity he’s received hasn’t affected his ability to help addicts. He is proud of the Lindell Recovery Network (LRN), which he sees as the most revolutionary platform for addiction ever, one that keeps getting bigger and bigger.
LRN is faith-based and is a way to connect those struggling with drug addictions to recovery organizations. He sees this group as a means to restoring people’s hearts and setting them free from addiction.
To deal with the cancel culture, Lindell suggests that those interested go to “Frank,” his new platform that is coming soon. This platform is “for Americans who want to defend life, liberty, and all the freedoms that have marked America as the longest running Constitutional Republic in the history of the world.” (See the webpage FrankSpeech.com for information about the new platform).
He sees Frank as a combination of YouTube and Twitter, and it cannot be canceled because it won’t rely on servers run by Amazon, Apple, or Google. “It’s going to be the safest, secure platform, and it was built expecting to be attacked,” he said.
Will he write another book? “Probably, but first I want to see a motion picture made of my current book,” he said.
‘What Are the Odds? From Crack Addict to CEO’
Dec. 27, 2019
325 pages, hardcover
Linda Wiegenfeld is a retired teacher. She can be reached for comments or suggestions at email@example.com