Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Catching the Wolf of Wall Street - The Sequel

Much less cynical and vulgar. Much more honest and descriptive. Catching the Wolf of Wall Street, the sequel of the famous autobiography The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort is quite different from the first novel.

The Wolf of Wall Street was brutal and shocking, answering the vital question How to spend a billion of dollars on drugs and prostitutes? It described the senseless and corrupted life of a clever man, who used his intelligence to manage frauds with securities. We see Jordan as a ruthless alcoholic and drug addict, who doesn't value any social norms and morals - the only rule he follows is the rule of capitalism - earn as much as you can at the expense of others. The result is a disaster - he loses his family, his freedom, and his self respect.
In Catching the Wolf of Wall Street we meet a different Jordan - not the vulgar and ruthless broker, who stole more money than the GDP of a small country but a Jordan who realizes the degree of his mistakes and attempts to fix them; a Jordan filled with regret and remorse.  I enjoyed the sequel better because it is the agony and the ecstasy of a tragic character - one who became a victim of power, glory, and avarice only to be reborn a sincere, honest, and faithful man.

Catching the Wolf of Wall Street begins where the first novel left us off - excited and impatient to understand Jordan's destiny after he was detained by the police. In the sequel throughout endless interrogations with the FBI crew (including Gregory Coleman, the FBI agent obsessed with Belfort's life and the reason for his denouncement) the protagonist shares his path - from meant to be a dentist to one of the most powerful brokers in history.  In that sense Catching the Wolf of Wall Street is a manual of the destructive power of money, glory, and abundance - Belfort transformed from an innocent, naive, and ambitious boy into a ruthless man, who doesn't value any boundaries; who doesn't express any compassion or sympathy; who sacrifices his humanity in favor of the seemingly ideal and glamorous life of the rich and the successful. Quite familiar, huh?

If you thought the first novel too vulgar you will be surprised - we hardly see any of Belfort's typical language in the sequel. Here he is calmer, more patient, and most importantly SOBER. His life proves an important point - you have to hit rock bottom before you start going up. And that is what he does. Even after spending 22 months in prison, Belfort manages to use his intelligence in a constructive way - now he is a motivational orator, teaching businessmen how to earn money without sacrificing ethics and integrity. Sounds ironic coming from the Wolf of Wall Street but who knows better than the man, who lost his family, betrayed his friends, went to federal jail, and still came back?

If you are wondering how he actually looks I posted a picture. Also, I believe the movie by Scorsese will be mainly derived from the second novel, as it will encompass a conversation between Belfort and Coleman, where the former shares his experiences.

@ Amazon: Catching the Wolf of Wall Street: More Incredible True Stories of Fortunes, Schemes, Parties, and Prison

1 comment:

  1. It's another variation on Scorsese's favorite kind of a story, the rise and fall. In this case, he and frequent collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio go on a full-out cinematic bender.