Friday, February 14, 2014

Book Club Friday-- The Wolf of Wall Street.


GoodReads Synopsis for The Wolf of Wall Street:  In the 1990s Jordan Belfort, former kingpin of the notorious investment firm Stratton Oakmont, became one of the most infamous names in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper who led his merry mob on a wild ride out of the canyons of Wall Street and into a massive office on Long Island. Now, in this astounding and hilarious tell-all autobiography, Belfort narrates a story of greed, power, and excess that no one could invent.  Reputedly the prototype for the film Boiler Room, Stratton Oakmont turned microcap investing into a wickedly lucrative game as Belfort’s hyped-up, coked-out brokers browbeat clients into stock buys that were guaranteed to earn obscene profits—for the house. But an insatiable appetite for debauchery, questionable tactics, and a fateful partnership with a breakout shoe designer named Steve Madden would land Belfort on both sides of the law and into a harrowing darkness all his own.  From the stormy relationship Belfort shared with his model-wife as they ran a madcap household that included two young children, a full-time staff of twenty-two, a pair of bodyguards, and hidden cameras everywhere—even as the SEC and FBI zeroed in on them—to the unbridled hedonism of his office life, here is the extraordinary story of an ordinary guy who went from hustling Italian ices at sixteen to making hundreds of millions. Until it all came crashing down...

GoodReads Synopsis for Catching the Wolf of Wall Street:  This continuation of his Wall Street Journal bestseller, The Wolf of Wall Street, tells the true story of his spectacular flameout and imprisonment for stock fraud.  In this astounding account, Wall Street’s notorious bad boy—and original million-dollar-a-month stock chopper—leads us through a drama worthy of The Sopranos, from his early rise to power to the FBI raid on his estate to the endless indictments at his arrest, to his deal with a bloodthirsty prosecutor to rat out his oldest friends and colleagues—while they were doing the same. With his kingdom in ruin, not to mention his marriage, the Wolf faced his greatest challenge yet: how to navigate a gauntlet of judges and lawyers, hold on to his kids and his enraged model wife—and possibly salvage his self-respect. It wasn't going to be easy. In fact, for a man with an unprecedented appetite for excess, it was going to be hell.  From a wired conversation at an Italian restaurant, where Jordan’s conscience finally kicks in, to a helicopter ride with an underage knockout that will become his ultimate undoing, here is the tale of a young genius on a roller coaster of harrowing highs—and more harrowing lows. But as the countdown to his moment in court begins, after one last crazy bout with a madcap Russian beauty queen, the man at the center of one of the most outrageous scandals in financial history sees the light of what matters most: his sobriety, and his future as a father and a man. Will a prison term be his first step toward redemption?

My Thoughts:  I both loved and hated these books.  Jordan Belfort starts out the first book talking about how he's a changed man, and all he really wants is for his children to respect him and not make his same mistakes.  Then he goes on for about 500 pages describing in some unbelievable detail about the complete insanity that was his life.  Amounts of drugs like you wouldn't believe, sex with more women than he could count, and just excess beyond what you could imagine.  But what I never heard from him was remorse over these actions.  It really sounded to me like a middle-aged guy trying to remember the good ol' days.  But the good ol' days make for one fascinating book-- one that I could NOT put down.  Every page brought more and more ridiculousness, and I couldn't stop reading it.  

Once I got to the second book, it focused more on his rise and fall in the stock industry as well as his efforts to provide assistance to the FBI and US Attorney.  I got the sense that he was more introspective about this time in his life than his party years, even though he was still continuing to make some truly stupid decisions.

Overall, I really enjoyed the books, and I'd definitely recommend you read them for the pure entertainment value.  But don't expect a book with a great redemption story.

2 comments:

  1. I hadnt heard of the second book, but I definitely read the first one. I felt the same way. I actually didnt realize that it was a true story right away so I wasn't that interested because it seemed SO far fetched. And then I realized it WAS a true story, and I was totally engrossed. And disturbed. And fascinated. And repulsed. haha

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  2. I wish so badly I would have known ANYTHING about this story before my husband dragged me to see the movie. Had I known--I would have read the book before we went! I enjoyed the movie at face value (it was entertaining) and I enjoyed the pure ridiculousness of the story--but goooooooodness that man got into some weird ish! Hah! If you're not easily visually offended--you should definitely see the movie--there are some scenes in it that had me crossing my legs because I was laughing so hard I was absolutely sure I would pee myself. I might try to give the books a read--but it's hard for me to go back and read something once I've seen the movie/show.

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