Book Reviews

So many books (you know the rest)

The Wolf of Wall Street
by Jordan Belfort
Published in 2007 (I finished it on July 05, 2014)

I got the book after seeing the movie, figuring there was more to the story.

There was …. a lot more.

That’s not to say the movie got it all wrong. A lot of it was spot on, but later in the “story,” a lot of things were altered. Hollywood simply had to wrap it all up, whereas the book was able to move on. A very interesting change was that the whole “Lobster on the Yacht” event never took place. He never even met Coleman until the day he was arrested by him.

I hear some didn’t like the movie. I’m not sure why. Maybe it glorifies what they did? I suppose I don’t see it that way. The lifestyle was superficial and without substantial meaning—with jail time and rehab being the endgame for many of them. There appears to be a great deal of searching for empty returns and broken families as a result.

But back to the book: it’s highly entertaining. I guess when you burn through millions of dollars a year, there are going to be some great anecdotes: sinking the yacht by sailing into a heavy storm, meeting a mafia fellow where his friend kept saying the wrong thing, flying a helicopter with one eye shut to cut down on the double vision from the drugs, crashing the car and not even being aware of it, molesting a stewardess and sitting through Swiss customs, giving motivating speeches at rehab clinics where former doctors complete to rat each other out to receive special recognition in an effort to get their medical licenses back, and on and on. I was laughing out loud quite a lot reading this book.

His life was insane: endless drugs, and countless prostitutes. A good deal of his money went to those two vices alone. But there were also fancy homes, big yachts, private jets, fast cars, and dinners at places most needed to wait several years to get reservations to. His company effectively cheated many to make massive amounts of money, but one could certainly see all the wild and crazy ways that money could be spent. As a side note, he paid his staff excessively well. Most (if not all) of his servants or aides were paid double what their positions merited. And if you owned an establishment where he and his coworkers liked to shop or eat, your business did very well—albeit, repairs were a constant event, though again, paid for by the company.

I don’t agree at all with the deceit or the abuse, or the bilking people out of their life’s savings, but I do envy the drive, the passion to reach a goal, the execution of the idea in that if you put your focus into knowledge and smarts, and then carry it out, you can achieve quite a lot. True, he misused his gifts, and has yet to pay back all the ill-gotten gains, yet he did find a way to beat the system—for a while at least.