This book is the autobiography of Jordan Belfort, a Wall Street Superman/Super Villain, depending on how you choose to see him.
Smart and cocky, Belfort ripped off investors to the the tune of over US$50 million during the heydays of Wall Street in the early 90s. Belfort was then the CEO of rogue brokerage firm, Stratton Oakmont which he set up in 1988.
Stratton Oakmont engaged in a “Pump and Dump” scheme which Belfort served 22 months in federal prison for.
The firm’s brokers would drive up the price of shares and then Belfort and his partners would sell the large chunks they owned (pocketing millions in the process), causing the share price to collapse and leaving Stratton’s clients with heavy losses.
Belford’s autobiography reads like a Hollywood movie. Hence there’s no surprise that his story may be adapted into film. Martin Scorsese is possibly looking to direct Leonardo DiCaprio in the film adaptation.
The book details the havoc wreaked upon both others and Belfort himself as he fell under the influence of money, sex and most of all, drug addictions. To me, it reads like a cautionary tale of what can go wrong when a young man makes too much money, too fast.
This guy is really hardcore. He was revered like a King by his employees in Stratton, mostly fresh graduates with no work experience who look up to Belfort like a father figure as well. Belfort encouraged his staff to have sex in office and openly take drugs. Everything that was wrong in society was normal in Stratton. He even organised a demeaning midget-throwing contest to entertain brokers on his trading floor and engaged prostitutes to provide blow job services in his company lifts for employees.
Married to a beautiful beer model, Nadine, who gave him two kids, Belford’s book also detailed his multiple wild sexual parties with multiple high-class prostitutes in top hotel suites all over the world. In fact, a large part of his book was about his drug and sex addictions and his obsession with his wife, Nadine.
Other wild shit – Belfort himself once landed his helicopter on his back lawn, flying with just one eye open because he was so stoned from drug overdose that he had double vision. He also sank his 167ft motor yacht, previously owned by Coco Chanel, complete with seaplane and helicopter, after overruling the captain and taking it into a Mediterranean storm.
In summary, Jordan Belfort lived in a crazy twisted world.
The book was an enjoyable weekend read for me. I am seriously awestruck by the excesses of this sad genius and it made me wonder if the lifestyles of all the world’s mega-rich are the same, minus Belfort’s brashness, keeping excesses under the radar.
The only thing I felt wrong about the book was that very little was written on Belfort’s crime and there seems to be no hint of remorse from Belfort himself. It makes me feel guilty for buying his book, in a way, condoning his actions.
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