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The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

The Wolf of Wall Street (2007)

by Jordan Belfort

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The Wolf of Wall Street chronicles the professional and personal rise and subsequent fall of Jordan Belfort, a world-class stock market manipulator, money launderer, drug addict, serial philanderer, disloyal colleague, and all-around moral vacuum. Billed as a “rollicking tale” and a real-world complement to Tom Wolfe’s superb social satire The Bonfire of the Vanities, this book is really neither of those two things. Instead, it is little more than a tawdry, delusional, and self-aggrandizing memoir written by a very unreliable narrator. Indeed, I found this to be a truly execrable account of one of the most despicable characters I’ve ever encountered in print.

Belfort’s story of frequently depraved and often criminal activity is by now well known, primarily because of the film adaptation that followed the publication of this volume by a few years. However, it is nowhere close to a story of redemption—certainly, I found the author’s myriad reprehensible actions to be far less charming and heroic than he himself does—nor does it even serve as a useful cautionary tale for how not to live one’s life. After all, what do we learn from someone who willfully—gleefully, even—cheats on and lies to two different wives (the second of whom he repeatedly refers to as the “luscious Duchess” for some vague reason), endangers the children he considers to be his possessions, defrauds thousands of investors out of millions of dollars, enlists relatives to engage in self-serving illegal schemes, and betrays numerous friends and business associates? Further, the book’s entire premise appears to another lie: Belfort’s financial activities were far removed from what is traditionally considered to be Wall Street and, as the prosecutor of his legal case recently revealed in a New York Times article, the author was never even called “The Wolf” until he wrote this memoir!

I am not sure when I had such a strongly negative reaction to a book as I did to this one. As a personal guideline, I do not like to abandon any book I begin before reaching the end, but I must confess to questioning the wisdom of that rule for the last 150 pages of The Wolf of Wall Street. The whole time I was reading about Belfort’s exploits, I had to fight the frequent urge to put it down and take a long shower with plenty of industrial-strength soap in order to remove the slime. Ultimately, I found absolutely nothing in this sordid narrative that redeemed any part of the experience of reading it. It now represents several days of my life that I will never get back and I would encourage other potential readers to avoid falling victim to the same fate. ( )
  browner56 | May 1, 2015 |
Wolf of Wall Street
1987 This is the story of Jordan Belfort and he's new on the job at Wall Street where commodities are bought and sold continuously during the day.
Follows his life as he learns from others how to get ahead. Many marriages, hookers, drugs, liquor help him succeed.
Liberties that come with power he feels are his and thus that gets him in trouble on many fields.
Loved the action and descriptive details on furnishings and surroundings. Travel and adventures are great to read about and the downfall and every element
that happened to them both and the outcome.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device). ( )
  jbarr5 | Oct 22, 2014 |
I just can't. I listened to the first several chapters, and I cannot bring myself to turn it back on. The author is incredibly unlikeable - he is supposedly hoping that his children will one day understand his actions, but he talks in way-too-graphic detail about his wife's body (the mother of at least one of his children!), and in way-too-proud-of-himself detail about his drug use. And the narrator is just as awful, although I admit he has a thankless job - he has to narrate just about an entire chapter between Belfort and his wife during which they threaten and say vile things to each other in cloying babytalk. I only hope I can eradicate the memory of the narration and the book quickly.
  ursula | Aug 24, 2014 |
Gutter-writing at it's worst. This was painful to get through. ( )
  RBarfuss | Jun 21, 2014 |
Not bad really. Thought I would not really like this after the first couple of chapters. The writing was not that great. But it did grab me and I found myself interested in the story. No it is not one of the greats but I have to admit I found my self chuckling away. At least he is fairly honest about his life. Although I will say that the ending is fairly deflatory, like a balloon losing air over a week or so: fairly unexciting. But still worth a read on this beach this summer. ( )
  polarbear123 | Jun 9, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553384775, Paperback)

By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could, on drugs, sex, and international globe-trotting. From the binge that sank a 170-foot motor yacht, crashed a Gulfstream jet, and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids who waited for him at home, and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king and did his bidding, here, in his own inimitable words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called…

In the 1990s Jordan Belfort, former kingpin of the notorious investment firm Stratton Oakmont, became one of the most infamous names in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper who led his merry mob on a wild ride out of the canyons of Wall Street and into a massive office on Long Island. Now, in this astounding and hilarious tell-all autobiography, Belfort narrates a story of greed, power, and excess no one could invent.
Reputedly the prototype for the film Boiler Room, Stratton Oakmont turned microcap investing into a wickedly lucrative game as Belfort’s hyped-up, coked-out brokers browbeat clients into stock buys that were guaranteed to earn obscene profits–for the house. But an insatiable appetite for debauchery, questionable tactics, and a fateful partnership with a breakout shoe designer named Steve Madden would land Belfort on both sides of the law and into a harrowing darkness all his own.

From the stormy relationship Belfort shared with his model-wife as they ran a madcap household that included two young children, a full-time staff of twenty-two, a pair of bodyguards, and hidden cameras everywhere—even as the SEC and FBI zeroed in on them—to the unbridled hedonism of his office life, here is the extraordinary story of an ordinary guy who went from hustling Italian ices at sixteen to making hundreds of millions. Until it all came crashing down…

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:45 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Belfort, who founded one of the first and largest chop shop brokerage firms in 1987, was banned from the securities business for life by 1994, and later went to jail for fraud and money-laundering, delivers a memoir that reads like fiction. It covers his decade of success with straightforward accounts of how he worked with managers of obscure companies to acquire large amounts of stock with minimal public disclosure, then pumped up the price and sold it, so he and the insiders made large profits while public investors usually lost. Profits were laundered through purchase of legitimate businesses and cash deposits in Swiss banks.… (more)

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