Monday, 10 February 2014

Book review: The Wolf of Wall Street - Jordan Belfort


The blurb.
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 that 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 . . .

My opinion.
I really struggled with this book. Most of the time I was absolutely disgusted, not just by the things Jordan did but how he didn't seem to think any of it was wrong. Crossing lines is not something he's particularly worried about. By the time I was halfway through I was getting more and more frustrated because no matter how many times he seemed to realize, just for a few seconds, that maybe he should change his ways, he just grabbed some drugs and some hookers and carried on.
When I wasn't disgusted by all that madness, I was bored. You have to applaud Jordan's detailed memory, but I don't know anything about stockbrokers, share holders, or oversees banking and Jordan's "business" conversations just went on and on and on.
But to my surprise I actually started enjoying the book near the end. Jordan was by then so stoned that there wasn't much conversation anymore - business or otherwise, which meant the story picked up a pace without it being interrupted by endless conversations. I think I would have enjoyed it more with a bit more editing on the conversations part.
Reading this book was a roller coaster. I went from being shocked and disgusted to bored and frustrated and back again, multiple times, to actually, finally, enjoying it.


Movie books
I read this book as a part of my new reading challenge: "movie books". After reading the book, I went to see the movie. To see how I liked it in comparison, take a look at my challenge -page here.


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