Rating: ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆
Date Read: September 21 to 24, 2014
Read Count: 1
Recommended by: no one; found on a plane
Recommended for: no one
“Icon” is a bit much, but otherwise basically what I expected. The tag lines on the cover say it all.
Jordan Belfort is the type that loves to hear himself talk. He’s also the type that’s proud and boastful, in that feigned humble-brag way, of everything he’s done regardless of their moral implications or aftermaths. Many people wouldn’t go around showing off how many lives they ruined, but Belfort is different. Well, he thinks he’s different. He also thinks he’s a unique specimen and that there was no one else like him raising hell during the 90s on Wall Street. For that alone, this book could easily be placed on the “humor” shelf.
This is the type of tell-all autobiography that makes me hate and stay away from all autobiographies, but once I started reading, I had to get to the end to see what became of Belfort. A short stint in white collar prison, divorce, lost custody of his kids, as well as lost all assets, associates, contacts, etc., but it seems his fate is a lot less severe than what you’d expect for a person who’s done what he’s done. For one, he’s found employment with a steady income. More than he deserves. (If I sound bitter, it’s because I am.)
Belfort is an arrogant, unapologetic, obnoxious jackass, and this is the only type of personality that “survives” Wall Street. Which makes the latest global economic collapse “make much more sense” with this in mind, I suppose. It explains quite a lot about the culture of Wall Street and the corporate societies that prey on and groom jackasses to become even bigger jackasses. What’s worse is that there are no ethics and no concerns for being ethical because there are no consequences for taking big risks or for cutting and running. The bottom line is nothing will happen to you when you screw up with other people’s money, which often leads to screwing up their livelihoods but who gives a fuck–Wall Street doesn’t, that’s for sure. The justice system doesn’t either, but that’s another clusterfuck not entirely central to this story.
Belfort was indicted and went to prison for his part in a bunch of unscrupulous dealings, but before he went, he became a narc and took a whole bunch of other unscrupulous people down with him. This is the only part of the book I sort of liked because of the blowback, but then I got to the part where he got a reduced sentence for being a narc and I went back to hating the whole thing again. All in fewer than 5 pages.
The punch line here is Jordan Belfort is now a motivational speaker (?!?). I had a good laugh when I went searching for what he’s up to recently. Can’t decide if that’s ironic or just plain sad…for all of humanity.
The only few parts I thought interesting are way overshadowed by Belfort’s hard and fast lifestyle. If he had toned down the partying and the anonymous sexcapades and the million lines of coke, if he packed this autobiography with more insights on Wall Street recruitment style and grooming processes and survival of the fittest anecdotes, I would have liked the read a lot more. But instead, Belfort is predictable in that he’s the type who will always go for the glitz and glamour (i.e. drugs and cash flow) and regale the audience with tales from his storied career. All of which I find useless because the market is already saturated with these overindulgent tales.