Friday, 2 July 2010

The Wolf of Wall Street - Jordan Belfort

Brutal, cynical, vulgar, shocking, mind-blowing, sincere, honest, and real - this is the world of Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street.  Indeed one of the best contemporary novels I have read.

Jordan Belfort was born in 1962 in the USA. He is an American author, motivational speaker, and YES ex criminal. The Wolf of Wall Street, his autobiography, focuses on his rise and fall, from one of the smartest and most powerful brokers on WallStreet in the 90s to a drug, sex, and alcohol addict.

As a 31-year old multimillionaire stockbroker Belfort owned the scandalously famous brokerage firm Stratton Oakmant. His subordinates, hungry and vulgar young brokers, were given a script written by Belfort himself to persuade investors to buy stocks over the phone. The Wolf (his nickname at the time) used the popular "pump and dump" scheme, where stocks are artificially inflated through false positive messages. Once the overvalued stocks are dumped, the stock price falls and investors lose their money. For this fraud, as well as for money laundering and drug abuse he was arrested and spend 22 months in a federal prison. For almost 10 years he lived like a rock star - during the day he managed to earn more money than the average person earns per year. During the night he spent them on drugs, alcohol, and prostitutes. It seemed Belfort was a God's favorite as he miraculously escaped death several times: flying smashed the broker landed his helicopter in the back lawn, he sunk his expensive yacht, he crashed into more than 10 cars, and he sniffed a variety of drugs enough to kill a whale.

Due to his fraud and abuses Belfort separated from his wife Nadine and his children but they are now in a good relationship and share custody. In an interview Belfort claims he lives modestly in a three bedroom house in Manhattan. I don't know about you but this doesn't really sound modest to me. Anyhow, 50% of what he earns now covers his debt to deceived investors. Belfort says he is a clean man using his powerful rhetoric skills to lift the curtain in front of the life on WallStreet in the 90s - avid, ruthless, and brutal. In addition, Belfort travels around the world as a motivational speaker, teaching people to be successful without sacrificing integrity and ethics. There is a popular saying in Bulgaria that a wolf may change its appearance but never its nature. I sincerely hope that is not Belfort's case.

At the beginning, I have to admit I was shocked by the language. It was too brutal and vulgar and I believe I haven't heard that many curses from only person even in the most dangerous ghettos. Still, as the novel progressed, I realized that this brutality is the most appropriate approach to fully understanding Belfort's world. His life was indeed shocking and provocative. When reading The Wolf of Wall Street I kept thinking: I admire his honesty, his courage, and his strength. It takes a lot of manhood to stand up to your mistakes, to share your most embarrassing secrets, to admit to pushing your wife down the stairs or nearly killing your daughter, to falling asleep in a pile of cocaine, and to deceiving hundreds of people for personal benefit. What is more, Belfort doesn't attempt to defend himself, nor to blame others for his failures. He sincerely shares his experience without hiding even the most disgusting and gross events. So if you are repelled by his vulgarity and brutality think again. Do you want a soft, romantic, Holywood-type story or do you want the real thing? Because in life, no one is going to sugar-coat it for you - this is the life of the big money and power.

There is a sequel, Catching the Wolf of Wall Street. I don't have to tell you that I can't wait to finish this post and enjoy a little bit more of Belfort's brutal and scandalous, yet addictive and unique style.


For the sake of fun trivia, you should know that his life-story is being turned into a movie by Warner Brothers and Leo DiCaprio is set to star and Martin Scorsese - to direct. Can't wait!!! 

6 comments:

  1. The author of this book is simply cashing in on the success of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, tho this was a more extreme example of a corporate psychopath. The general public seem fascinated with these types of characters, real or fictional. Leo Dicaprio was due to star in American Psycho aswell but chickened out, he was worried how it would effect his public persona. The funniest thing Jordan Belfort did was to have a midget throwing contest to entertain his brokers, you got'ta love the mentality of these people. I would like to have a how many times I could kick J Belfort in the nuts in 1 minute contest, start your timer. The english Proverb is a leopard cannot change its spots, the notion that things cannot change their innate nature.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hahaha, I couldn't stop laughing at that moment with the midget. As cynical and inappropriate as it is, you've got to hand it to these guys - they had some balls and a weird way to party.

    PS: Thanks for mentioning the proverb :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well I am only 4ft tall and wouldn't like to be tossed by a bunch of bankers :(

    ReplyDelete
  4. At the moment I am reading the sequel, Catching the Wolf of Wall Street. It is much more interesting as it describes Belfort's road to success - how he created one of the most famous and successful brokerage firms. It is also far less cynical and vulgar; I believe Scorsese and DiCaprio will mainly use the sequel as the basis for the movie.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Less cynical! ? I don't think I'll be reading the second one then. I love cynicism if it is done in a comical way :) . I hope these books aren’t sullying your view of the world, it isn't that dog eat dog as the media would have you believe. These are just the extreme examples of people who say they are "driven by money and success" when really what they mean is they are driven by insecurities and try to fix them by simply wanting to be perceived as successful in a way that can be quantified and assigned a number by themselves and seen by others e.g. money, company position, size of house, car…etc all can be assigned a number and totalled up. They can compare their numbers and work out who has the highest score, which should equal being the happiest in their world without actually knowing or having the time to experience what happy is, as they have to rush off to get the latest iphone 20 to keep their scores up in the game. I think they should have GDP like number system for a countries emotional economy (well-being and happiness) I'd call it GDH:) for short. Would it make the news though if a country moved out of its GDH:) recession and experienced a 20% growth on the previous year ? I think not.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We’re bombarded by people and things, wanting our time and money, so naturally we’ve evolved a filter that’s highly attuned to the first few seconds of any interaction. And if you happen to be selling something, you almost get less than an instant. You have to establish that you’re a person worth listening to straight away. How long did Jordan Belfort’s Stockbrokers in Stratton Oakmont, have to make an impression on the phone?Just seconds, in a tough cold calling environment where they were looking to secure significant investments. Yet this firm was making over $50 million a year off the back of these calls. here are Jordan Belfort sales training,Straight line Jordan Belfort,Jordan Belfort straight line persuasion,The wolf of wall street Jordan Belfort,Jordan Belfort straight line system and Wolf of wall street movie.
    How was it done?
    Through a tried and tested System What’s on offer here is that exact System, used to train Thousands of Staff to make hundreds of Millions. There will be no more uncertainly in you or your method. You will close whoever is closeable. This is the absolute fast track to sales success.

    ReplyDelete