{Review} The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

The Wolf of Wall Street

by Jordan Belfort
Published September 2007
Goodreads: See here
Nonfiction Memoir
Featured image from my instagram: @bookbastion

Synopsis at a Glance:

By day he made thousands of dollars a minute on Wall Street, by night he spent it as fast as he could on drugs, sex and international globe trotting. This is the story of Jordan Belfort, the self-proclaimed “Wolf of Wall Street,” told in his own words. In his tell-all autobiography, Belfort narrates a story of greed, excess and power that if told on television, would be too wild to be believed. Threaded with elements of both his personal and professional life, this story chronicles Belfort’s life of excess and law-breaking, and how it eventually caught up with him.

Reviewed:

Reading this was an exercise both in suspension of disbelief, and complete mastery of frustration for me.

This is definitely not a book I would normally choose for myself. Most of you know by now that fiction and fantasy are my jam, my last class for University required us to read nonfiction book somewhat pertaining to ethics and business, and this one called to me.

I’d already seen the movie a few times before – it happens to be one of Mr. Bastion’s favorites – and while I’m not the biggest fan myself, I figured the antics associated with Belfort’s crazy lifestyle of excess would give this enough color to at least make it palatable. While that was  true enough for me to read the entire thing, my personal enjoyment of the narrative began to tank somewhere in the first third, when it became clear that Belfort is a complete narcissistic, unrepentant asshole, and one of the most vile human beings on this earth.

“My name is Jordan, and I’m an alcoholic, a Quaalude addict, and a cocaine addict. I’m also addicted to Xanax and Valium and Morphine and Klonopin and GHB and Marijuana and Percocet and mescaline and just about everything else, including high-priced hookers, medium-priced hookers and an occasional streetwalker, but only when I feel like punishing myself… I’ve been sober for 5 whole days now, and I’m walking around with a constant erection. I miss my wife terribly, and if you really want to resent me I’ll show you a picture of her. Either way, I resent every last one of you or being total ******* and trying to take your life’s frustrations out on me.”

^^ an actual quote from this book. ^^

He claims in the opening that this autobiographical glimpse into his years on Wall Street exists for his children, so that they might better understand his behavior in the years that led to the destruction of their family. I hoped that what followed might include Belfort actually taking some responsibility for the terrible things he did to his family, his clients, and the economy. Unfortunately, what actually happens is 500 pages of praise for himself, and contempt for the people who were stupid enough to fall for his lies. The narrative is complete devoid of any true sense of remorse or reflection for the terrible things he did. Even worse, the book became a vehicle for him to land one final jab on all of the people he perceived as wronging him over the course of his career.

Not to mention, he’s also a racist, sexist, asshole with the ego to match. Belfort has this weird penchant for giving every person he encounters in his life a nickname that he then refers to them as for the rest of the book in narrative voice. Some of his least offensive included “The Blockhead and “Master Forger,” while his more offensive included the “Luscious Duchess,” (referring to his now ex-wife) and the “Depraved Chinaman,” (referring to a rival on Wall Street.)

If there’s a chance to insult someone else, while propping himself up on that incredibly high pedestal that exists only inside his mind, you can bet he’s going to take it. Mentions of his erection are peppered throughout the narrative, along with an awkward sequence where Belfort, ever the charlatan, asks us his captive audience to buy that a drug and alcohol rehab group celebrated his attempts to masturbate in public with raucous applause instead of rancor. Such is his narcissism.

It’s clear that he’s an unreliable narrator, as his view of events is colored with a heavy bias that I don’t the he’s even cognizant of. ,B>His culpability in securities fraud and money laundering is often played down in the narrative, suggesting that his guilt was actually other people’s fault – and he was only following the modus operandi of other big bankers at the time. He also tries to justify his lawbreaking by painting himself as a sort of Robin Hood character, as though it’s okay that he was fleecing the rich instead of the poor.

if you’re looking for a comprehensive take on his crimes, trial and conviction, look elsewhere as you won’t find it here. There’s too many pages lost to self indulgence, and Belfort completely forgets to cover when, how and why his life came crashing down around him, instead trying to hook the reader at the end to tune in later for a sequel in which he’ll finish the story this one had already promised.

Yeah. That’ll happen.

While I was entertained enough to finish the book, watching Belfort sink to increasingly new lows becomes a bit too masochistic for me to want to continue the party into another book. Besides that, the prose is a bit too frenetic, oddly paced and poor in parts for my tastes. If I had to read the phrase “loamy loins,” “Luscious Duchess” or “Lifestyles of the Rich and Dysfunctional” one more time I couldn’t be held liable for any of my actions. My heart goes out to that editor that had to pare down the 1200 page manuscript. I think they probably did the best they could with what they were given.

Just watch the movie. Leonardo Dicaprio is great in it, and you might not have to scrub out your brain quite as hard as you would after spending 5 hours with Jordan Belfort’s voice in your head.

 

🌟🌟✯✩✩ = 2.5/5 “I can’t believe I made it through this punishment,” stars


Have you read this book?? Have you seen the movie? Have you read any books (fiction or nonfiction) with a total jerk for a narrator like this one? 

 

xoxo

 

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18 thoughts on “{Review} The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

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  1. I enjoyed your review so much! I’ve watched the movie and agree Leonardo Dicaprio was so good, really he made the whole movie which otherwise was terrible I thought. This guy sounds horrible, I can’t imagine reading 500 pages about him

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review! I’ve seen the movie – thought Leo was great in the role, but I felt so disgusted after watching it. I was wondering if the book was worth reading, but I think I’ll skip it. The movie was tough enough to watch, and I honestly don’t want to give this guy any of my money or my time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m surprised you gave the book 2.5 stars after all the horrendous experience you went through ! 😀
    I saw the movie and those 3 hours I will never get back were plenty enough ! XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I gave it those 2 stars basically just because I found it compelling enough to keep reading, and with a half star in addition because my partner actually loves the movie (for whatever reason!) and I think I would have crushed his soul if I only gave it 2 stars. XD

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      1. Passing grade is totally safer !! 😀
        I didn’t really HATE the movie but it made me really uncomfortable precisely because I found Belfort didn’t have any redeeming quality (other than being portrayed by Dicaprio, that is…) and your review just confirmed what I thought of him !

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah Dicaprio is the only thing that saved that movie for me. I actually think Scorsese went out of his way to ensure the audience knew what a jerk Belfort was, which tickles me because Belfort’s narrative in the book is a lot less critical of himself due to his narcissism.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Kudos to you for completing it. I tried reading it but gave up after the first chapter I think. I couldn’t stand the writing and dude seemed like an ass so I wasn’t going to spend a whole book with him.
    I watched the movie and liked it, but I also got the impression that Belfort wasn’t apologetic about what he’d done either so I was conflicted about having seen the movie because the movie and book just praised him more and he seems to have praised himself enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the movie definitely does a better job of showing how delusional Belfort is though. Like Leonardo Dicaprio makes him charming, but it’s made pretty clear that he treats people around him like crap and is abusive towards women. In the book, there are a lot of really deceptive moments where Belfort acts like an ass and then pretends that he was praised for his behavior by the people around him. I definitely think his narrative is far more narcissistic. I don’t blame you for not wanting to finish it!

      Liked by 1 person

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