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The Wolf of Wall Street Paperback – August 26, 2008
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An Amazon Book with Buzz: "Punch Me Up to the Gods" by Brian Broome
"One of the most electrifying, powerful, simply spectacular memoirs I—or you— have ever read." —Augusten Burroughs Learn more
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“A rollicking tale of [Jordan Belfort’s] rise to riches as head of the infamous boiler room Stratton Oakmont . . . proof that there are indeed second acts in American lives.”—Forbes
“A cross between Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities and Scorsese’s GoodFellas . . . Belfort has the Midas touch.”—The Sunday Times (London)
“Entertaining as pulp fiction, real as a federal indictment . . . a hell of a read.”—Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
- Publisher : Bantam; Reprint edition (August 26, 2008)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 528 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0553384775
- ISBN-13 : 978-0553384772
- Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #17,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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The author does a great job of establishing his frame of mind and his mood in the given situation with his use of language and structure. He does not write things like "that made me angry." His sentences get shorter, his words get harsher, and his venom becomes tangible.
Well executed, fun romp through depravity at warp speed. Folks who are upset by the curse words and descriptions of sex, drugs, and excessive spending need to get over themselves. Jordan Belfort will not be censored by your old fashioned notions of etiquette and weak sensibilities.
Enjoy, folks. This is Goodfellas on paper, with corporate murders instead of real ones.
A couple observations about the author himself:
a) He is a world-class, egocentric jerk, even to this day. Some of what he did in the past is reprehensible, which I imagine he and almost everyone would agree on (cheating on his wife, kicking his wife, using massive amounts of drugs around his kids, endangering countless people by driving around/flying helicopters/sailing his yacht into a storm while stoned out of his mind, swindling investors, etc.). But how he writes about it in this book is just as bad. He finds a way to justify almost everything – in his mind, even today. Sure, he makes half-hearted attempts to make it seems like he knows what he did was wrong, but he always follows it up with something to explain it away (“yeah, I kicked my wife down the stairs, but I was high on drugs and, see, all these therapists and intervention specialists say that it was the drugs/disease and not me, that I’m a lovable good guy, etc.”)
b) He obviously thinks very highly of himself, and therefore is probably very unsure of himself. He has to tell readers 100 times how much people love him despite all his self-centered acts, how everyone thinks he’s the most gifted and talent person in the world, how everyone is so impressed with him, blah blah blah.
c) He isn’t genuinely remorseful for any of his behavior, especially screwing over countless investors (many of them likely regular people who had their savings invested in these stocks) who lost millions of dollars by manipulating the entire system. In fact, he only addresses this once – but, true to the style of the rest of the book, a guy who lost $100K because of him simply laughs it off. The two then become best buddies by talking about how to murder someone. Oh, the lovable Jordan! See, even the people he screwed over love him! Give me a break.
d) He is still good at making money, as he wrote this book and then sold the rights to a movie, and now once again has adoring fans and people who probably want to be like him. I suppose he’s proud of himself.
In terms of the book itself, sure, there are some unbelievable tales – and a bunch of them appear to be true, at their roots. But I can’t help but think 40-50% of the book is made up. Not the base stories, but all the details – conversations, descriptions, the sequence of events. The guy was unbelievably messed up most of the time, and yet we’re supposed to believe his recollection is even remotely accurate? Again, give me a break.
This guy has already swindled countless people. Don’t let him swindle you.
Having seen the film before reading the book is a blessing and a curse. Certain expectations may not be met, but preconceived notions can also allow the reader to pay closer attention to detail. In this case, I felt the spirit of Jordan Belfort in both his writing and Terence Winter's screenplay; both portray him appropriately as a sick, depraved individual whose high-roller lifestyle, and criminal activities in running a brokerage firm spiraled out of control in drug-induced decadence. Names have been changed, for example, Belfort's wife, Nadine Caridi, becomes Naomi Lapaglia, but the personalities and appearances remain nearly the same. A lot of the time, I thought to myself, "Oh, I know who that is!"
I felt the film told a more cohesive story, in spite of its three-hour length, whereas the book meandered in and out of moments. Many of the events were condensed into the film, such as Belfort's drive home on quaaludes and subsequent events are a composite of different incidents that occur over multiple chapters. What I did not expect, and actually surprised me as the most compelling aspect of the book was Belfort's battle with drug addiction and subsequent antics while in rehab. By his inevitable arrest, I actually pitied him. A weakness of the film is that it glosses over Belfort's upswing during and after rehab.
Unlike with the film, the more salacious, criminal, and business aspects of this story were still rather shocking in the book, but after a while, they became tedious. At least with the film, Scorsese took some artistic license to include more humor and take the Strattonites activities to levels of parody, which I enjoyed immensely.
So where does my review end up with the book? Well, I thought Belfort's (and his editors, I guess) writing style was enthusiastic enough to hold my interest, I appreciated the more vivid characterizations and insight into his lifestyle, as well as the focus on his battle with drug addiction, but it didn't completely captivate me until the end when he regained at least some redemption by achieving sobriety. Even by the end, the book's denouement is a depressing ordeal.
I appreciate it for what the book is - a decent, modern cautionary tale that money can't buy happiness and how drug addiction can ruin lives. However, I feel like I appreciate the film more for it's entertainment value, top notch production, and more effective treatment of the story.
He’s brilliant in business but terrible in his choices in his personal life.
While it was fascinating to read about how really big money is made, learning about the flip side of a life lived with no limits or morality was very depressing. It was hard to read and hard to put down.
Top reviews from other countries
I admire Jordan intelligence, vision and hard work. He had excessive lust for life which I can identify with. But he made a success of himself several times and he helped people up along the way. The good soul was always there but only seen visibly to the bigger world when he got sober.
Great love for his kids is nice to hear being talked about and how they were his lighthouse when he was off course.
Can't wait to see part 2......