You Gotta Give It Away to Keep It

Sometimes it’s best to give away one’s work in order to prevent people from profiting off your efforts. This is my philosophy about the book, When Money Grew on Trees, which I co-wrote and edited 20 years ago, but for which I was never compensated.

By contract, I was supposed to receive 15 percent of all book sales. That never happened, and David McElyea sold thousands of books before he committed suicide in 2009. To this day, David’s family continues to sell the book without compensating me. It can be purchased today at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Fayetteville, Ark.

Below you will find a PDF copy of the entire book that you may download for free. Please share the book with anyone and everyone for free, as I have.

For complete background on my efforts to publish the story, including events that led up to David MacElyea’s suicide in a Fayetteville Walmart manager’s office, please read my blog post from January, And Now For Something Completely Different.

Readers will find errors in the book, which were included by David McElyea when he first published the book in 2003 without my consent as editor.

For example, the word “skull” is misspelled “scull” throughout the book, among other simple-to-correct typos that David failed to address (and never cared to alter). In other parts of the book, sentences trail off into oblivion and paragraphs end without proper conclusion.

Despite those editing flaws, the book offers a great story and an important historical archive about a unique time in Arkansas. Enjoy the read!

3 Replies to “You Gotta Give It Away to Keep It”

  1. I read Jason’s story segeral years ago and it is one hell of a wild ride. Well written, and harrowing, to boot!


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