I love business/Wall Street books as I work at a regional investment firm. Also, the movie "Boiler Room" is one of my favorites and supposedly this is the firm it was modeled after. Unfortunately this guy tries to be too cute in his writing style and he's not nearly as funny as he thinks. He wants to impress you with his drug use and his wild life and also manages to get in quite a bit about his business. BTW, he does appear to be very talented as a chop shop owner/manager and just from a few tidbits you can see he knows the aggressive sales techniques necessary to be successful. But this book is confusing, boring, too long, and has very few interesting points. The author tells you what he wants you to hear, then gets to the end of the story and runs out of time without completing the full story. For example, after going on forever about his beautiful wife and drug use, after rehab they divorce. But instead of completing the story for full disclosure it's about two pages with no mention of fault or what really happened.
The synopsis of this book is exactly the type book I like: true stories of Wall Street. But this book is hugely disappointing and not worth the time. I'd take a pass on this one as it's not worth the time invested.
on January 5, 2014
I gave this 5 stars, not because it is a good read or a truthful memoir, but because it is a fine example of criminal psychology and drug addiction.
The supposed facts related by Belfort must be taken with a large dose of salt. He readily admits with some pride deceiving everyone he deals with including his wife and supposed friends and business partners. We would be quite gullible to then take his writing at face value.
He portrays himself as generous to a fault, but of course the money he passes out is mostly stolen. The judgement against him included a requirement to pay over 100 million in retribution to those he defrauded. Most of that has never been paid even though his income from books and movie rights is quite substantial. By the way his sentence was lighter than those of all his cohorts because he turned against them when the law caught up with him. This after spilling a lot of ink in his book about loyalty, trust and "omerta." Does he still have hidden assets that rightfully belong to the victims? You guess. I bet he does.
He tries to present himself as a reformed bad actor who has seen the light and conquered his addiction. I hope he has conquered his addictions, but that wasn't his only problem. He is quite intelligent and seen as such by all around him. The schemes he ran were carefully designed and couldn't have been conceived and executed while stoned, so there is more to this than addiction. The most important part of the story is left out. How did a broke guy starting at the very bottom of a major brokerage firm get to be a criminal millionaire? That's the guts of the real story, and it was left out. We only see him at the climax just before the downfall.
Sex and drugs sell books and movies and that's the new scheme, and it is lawful even if only partly true and even if the main facts are left out.
The schemer and deceiver is still at work.
on September 21, 2008
The even split between 1-start and 5-star reviews is very telling - you'll either love it or hate it, there seems to be very few in between. In short, the book is an over the top, fast paced, recount of non-stop drug abuse, sex, money laundering schemes, and stock manipulation. About halfway through the book I had to go online to confirm that this is, in fact, a non-fiction work - it reads more like a thriller.
If you're looking for stock market know-how, this is not the book that will teach you that, albeit the "chop stock" machinations on top of which Belfort built his empire are definitely an interesting historical artifact. Instead, this is a great tale of the lifestyle of the "rich and dysfunctional".
If you suspend your sense of reality, it is actually a quiet engaging book. Albeit personally, I am still shell-shocked from the thought that Belfort has lived and survived through all this.
on January 12, 2008
I bought this book after reading an excerpt printed in Registered Rep magazine. I thought that the book would be built around the rise of the author's business, detailing how he earned his nickname; instead the entire book is based on his fall from greatness, and doesn't recount any of the rise.
I find this ironic in that during the fall the author was supposedly drugged up nearly 24/7 (which is the primary reason for his demise) to the point any other man would have overdosed, yet he depends upon his memory during this drug-induced haze for all of the details of his story.
The Author's Note hits the nail on the head: "...a true story based on my best recollections of various events in my life."
I'm sure there is plenty of truth in the book, but the bottom line is that Jordan Belfort can no longer make money spinning lies in the securities industry, so he is trying to make money spinning lies as an author instead.
If you want to read this book borrow it or buy it used.
on December 7, 2007
This is a sad book on many levels, not because the characters are at all sympathetic but because its mere existence underlines many of the dysfunctional elements in American culture and society.
The book itself is horrid in its style, lazily edited and ultimately uninformative. Whoever edited this thing should be banished from the publishing industry. On top of the aforementioned "loamy loins" this manuscript contains literally repetitive similes, tired, cliche, over the top dramatics and impossibly unbeleivable and hackneyed dialogue. The acknowledgements thank an alleged industry professional who encouraged the author to quit his job after reading the first three pages. One wonders if any of the folks involved here had read anything by Raymond chandler, Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson or Don DeLillo, all writers who have dealt with this genre of the American underbelly that make this effort look like a comic book. My sense is that everybody concerned figured this would be a really hypable book and everybody could hustle their way to a big payday. Some things never change.
Not a word really from Mr. Belfort about the hundreds of millions of dollars that was the result of defrauding gullible folks out of their hard earned dollars. It's all me, me, me, even when he has supposedly hit rock bottom in rehab, he's still the smartest guy in the room and everybody is just a mark or a schmuck. Even though the guy can't get through an hour without being massively sedated and insensate. Sure.
His wife in this pasted up love story is also a prize. You can bet she held on to the very last moment and then dumped her unconditional love right after he got indicted. Time to move on to the next wallet and sperm donor. Can't blame her too much, her husband was engaging in unprotected sex with call girls and strippers, despite professing his eternal love every third paragraph.
Mr. Belfort says very little about the real nuts and bolts of his operation which leads one to second the suspicions that he was probably a front for some real heavyweight folks. If you are looking for a sober rendition of corruption on Wall Street, forget it, you'll learn more on a Yahoo message board at four in the morning.
Even the children are romanticizd into demi godlike creatures that border on messiah status. another typically American delusion. too bad their parents couldn't even keep together long enough for them to emerge from veritable infancy with an intact family unit. Children as things, not human beings. What can you say? Impulse control doesn't seem to be too evident in this relationship.
That's enough, you get the picture, if you must, take this out of the library like I did. Better yet, go get "Bonfire of the Vanities", "The Long Goodbye" or "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" It will be a much better use of your time, trust me. This book will only have value to future historians tring to document the zeitgeist during the collapse of the great American Empire.
on April 9, 2014
If you loved the movie, the book is even better, it goes into greater details of Jordan's life. My only disagreement with him is that he calls himself a capitalist, yet he's not. Capitalists don't cheat, lie or steal. Capitalists trade value for value. Capitalists want repeat business, why screw someone once when you can help him and get his money time and time again? Now don't take me wrong, Jordan is a great salesman, has lots of self-confidence but he needs to read some Ayn Rand to find out what real capitalism is all about.
"The Wolf of Wall Street" is probably the worst book I've read all year. It consists of non-stop extreme drug use, promiscuous and pornographic sex, money laundering, and stock manipulation, while providing little or no explanation of how author Jordan Belfort built his firm and worked his financial machinations.
Other sources help fill in the blanks. Belfort's business, according to Business Week, was part of a $10 billion/year business that regulators lagged in controlling. "Chop stocks" (bought at a large discount) made up perhaps half the 1997 85 million-share daily volume of the OTC Bulletin Board, plus dozens of stocks on the NASDAQ Small Cap Market. Belfort would purchase a hidden stake in a relatively new firm that would then issue "letter" stock under Rule 144 of the securities laws, commonplace at many perfectly legitimate companies as a way of rewarding key employees and giving them an equity interest. Letter stock and warrants were also issued to compensate consultants in lieu of cash. And stock issued overseas, under Regulation S of the securities laws, is a widely recognized way of raising capital for emerging companies. Reg. S stock is cheap for a simple reason: Since it cannot be legally traded for two years, it is commonly issued at a steep discount. Rule 144 stock is also cheap because it is usually issued at little or no cost and must be held for one or two years.
Belfort would make large profits by ignoring the law and "laundering" the stocks by selling them long before the two years had expired. If customers were to see the stock (marked "restricted"), they might realize that it's not supposed to be sold to the public. So the chop houses had a simple solution: They didn't show the customers the stock. The shares were only a book entry, and the brokers were reluctant to resell it once bought by a customer. If forced to do so, they would by duping a new customer into purchasing the shares.
Belfort served 22 months in prison and has been banned from the securities industry. His firm was closed in 1996, and he is required to repay $110 million to investors at the rate of 50% of everything he now makes. So far less than $700,000 has been paid.
on June 8, 2011
Like from the movie Tropic Thunder, "Never Go Full Retard...." And that is exactly what this author does. What do I mean? The author, Jordan B., loses all redeeming qualities in his story of his drug addicted, criminal activity to his rise to the top. Everyone wants to root for the bad guy; however, his style of detailing his excesses over, over and over again in simple inner dialog make you skip pages and wonder out loud, "why am i reading this?" This is a story of one, dare I say sociopath?
The sad part about this read, is that this could have been good. What drives a young man to apply his god given talents to rip so many people off? To what lengths will someone go to not get caught stealing millions of dollars? How hard would you work if you knew you could make millions almost overnight?
These are questions that the book fails to answer, but maybe the movie will. The story of the author reminds me of people that i know that were in the mortgage game. Everyone was doing it, everyone was making money, and you could literally write your own check by your own work ethic (never mind your moral values and by everyone, I mean everyone in the building).
I was attracted to this book because of the movie Boiler Room, "Slanging the white mans crack rock.....", Youth today, or should i say smart, ambitious, predominately white kids, everyday enlist in legal forms of what the author is trying to describe. I feel he just got stuck on the attraction and excess of it all and not on the heart of the matter. Mortgage backed securities, Enrons', Goldman Sachs, cannot happen unless you have the hustlers, the gamblers, and GREED. Its just that those i just mentioned are ran by old rich white guys from the Ivy League and the author came from Long Island and wanted it for himself.
I appreciate the authors honesty but if he would have stuck to more substance of the how, what and why, this book could have been a voice of a generation - Very disappointing. Read at your own caution.
- JSchulz City of Angles, CA
on October 8, 2007
Did anyone else lose count of how many times Mr. Belfort used the phrase "luscious loamy loins" in this book? The Duchess must have had some interesting private parts if they were indeed "loamy". Hmm.
This memoir is not worth reading unless you were an employee of Stratton Oakmont or had some kind of connection to the people mentioned in it. The book is mostly about Jordan's careless spending, complete disregard for others, and raging drug and prostitute habits. You don't even get the sense that he's remorseful about any of it in the end: it rather seems that Mr. Belfort is boasting about his bad behavior.
The beginning of the book details the rise of Jordan in the broker business and does have some interesting chapters. Then it takes a nose dive and turns into an ego trip down Mr. Belfort's memory lane. It gets painfully boring and quite unbelievable at points: Jordan describes miracle medical cures, his superhuman resistance to deadly doses of various drugs, ridiculous tawdry conversations... It's full of way-out-there stuff that makes you think maybe Jordan imagined these things in his drug-addled mind. Even if some of it is true, it's not very interesting and mostly I just felt embarassed for him and the people whose nasty habits he reveals in this tale.
Save your money, Jordan is a conceited bore.
on December 23, 2012
Synopsis: Jordan Belfort describes his wildly drug and sex crazed lifestyle that is fueled by uncontrollable wealth which eventually destroys him.
The story starts off with humble, interesting beginnings but quickly spirals down with a self righteous and grating reflection of the storyteller's genius, success and arrogance. I felt I was reading some drivel from Ben Mezrich