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!!!