9. JAMES FREYWhat is the American dream? Is it lacing up your work boots every day and making an honest living all while bettering your life through freedom? Or is it sitting around, smoking crack, and then writing a best-selling book about your struggles? We’re going with the latter.
James Frey was one of the lucky authors to be whored out to Oprah’s Book Club for A Million Little Pieces, his "memoir" about crack addiction, lawlessness, and rehab. The wild story tugged at Oprah’s million-dollar heart strings, and before long, the onetime crack addict was bathing in millions.
Eventually, The Smoking Gun exposed that many parts of his memoir were exaggerated or entirely untrue and Frey drew the ire of Oprah and her millions of followers. But that didn’t stop him from selling five million copies of the book, or going on to write or co-write three more bestsellers: 2005's My Friend Leonard, 2008's Bright Shiny Morning, and 2010's I Am Number Four.