The Wolf Of Wall Street by Jordan BelfortThe Wolf Of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

The Wolf Of Wall Street

byJordan Belfort

Paperback | August 26, 2008

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Now a major motion picture directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio

By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could, on drugs, sex, and international globe-trotting. From the binge that sank a 170-foot motor yacht and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids waiting at home, and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king and did his bidding, here, in his own inimitable words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called . . .


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 . . .

Praise for The Wolf of Wall Street

“Raw and frequently hilarious.”The New York Times
“A rollicking tale of [Jordan Belfort’s] rise to riches as head of the infamous boiler room Stratton Oakmont . . . proof that there are indeed second acts in American lives.”Forbes
“A cross between Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities and Scorsese’s GoodFellas . . . Belfort has the Midas touch.”The Sunday Times (London)
“Entertaining as pulp fiction, real as a federal indictment . . . a hell of a read.”Kirkus Reviews

From the Hardcover edition.
After graduating from American University, Jordan Belfort worked on Wall Street for ten years. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his two children.From the Hardcover edition.
Title:The Wolf Of Wall StreetFormat:PaperbackDimensions:528 pages, 9.18 × 6.16 × 1.13 inPublished:August 26, 2008Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553384775

ISBN - 13:9780553384772

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from If You Watched the Movie... If you watched the movie, I 1000% recommend you read the book. Even if you didn't, read it anyway. His life was so unreal (even if some parts of the book were fabricated, oh well). It showed a much rawer perspective of the Wolf than the movie did, talking in detail about his drug addiction. He definitely comes off as an asshole during some parts, which made it hard to get through (I kept thinking 'how the hell did his wife put up with him!') but it was worth it. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-10-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unreal story Hard to believe that most of this story actually happened. Thrilling, self-deprecating and reflective, Belfort spins the tale of an underdog who rose to the top very fast, and then fell really fast. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-09-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Incredible story! Even crazier than the movie. Almost couldn't believe it! Enjoyable read with lots of humour!
Date published: 2017-08-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Truth That Is Stranger Than Fiction No fiction author would dare write this book because it would be too unbelievable! The book is readable, but I don't think you'll miss much if you just watch the movie.
Date published: 2017-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The wolf of Wall Street One of my favorite books. A great read for any business savvy or party like a rockstar individual.
Date published: 2016-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic and Way Too Funny!!!! I have never seen the movie but Belfort is a gifted writer with a talent for humour. He gets into the nitty gritty of his drug use; nefarious business practices; sexual indiscretions; marital woes; and overall being a very degenerate person. But in spite of all that he takes you on a roller coaster ride that does not let up! There were so many times I laughed out loud that I lost count. If you're in need for some entertainment pick up this book, grab a coffee, and then settle in for the weekend. The scenes alone between him and his trophy wife are a gem! Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!!!!
Date published: 2015-11-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Drug deterrent! If anything, this book serves as a reason to not indulge in the drug-fuelled madness described herein. Thanks for that, Jordan! All-in-all an excellent, well-written novel. Say No to drugs.
Date published: 2015-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic read and after reading the book i would say the movie didn't do the book justice i don;t understand how people cannot like this book, its great! jordans life was an interesting one too say the least, he holds nothing back in this book and the book is 10x more wild than the movie now i will tell u the book is not too be looked at as a story or a great novel its someone explaining their life and I for one did not find this book dry at all because i loved the movie and i wanted too know just how messed up this guys life was and how he did and let me tell it its absolutely hilarious and its amazing he has so much too tell, book is definitely a mature read but without a doubt the most entertaining and funniest life story i have ever read
Date published: 2015-04-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Hard read I did not enjoy this book despite being an avid reader. It is hard to believe that these things actually go on. Would not recommend and did not enjoy the movie either.
Date published: 2014-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everybody's got a price... If you're looking for a true story full of money drugs and debauchery, this is the book for you. I very much enjoyed every part of the story.
Date published: 2014-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Wolf of Wall Sreet A great read. Much more revealing than the movie is. It's difficult to feel sympathy and empathy for an individual like Jordan; however, the book makes it possible. Somehow, the reader is able to relate to an individual who's lifestyle is so dramatically different than anything imaginable. The book, written by a self-described "money-guy," is surprisingly detailed and we'll written. Perhaps the largest difference between the movie and the book is the relationship that develops between Jordan and his family. The movie just doesn't do it justice. 5-out-of-5 stars!
Date published: 2014-06-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Wolf of Wallstreet It would be unbelievable fiction if it weren't true.
Date published: 2014-06-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Wolf of Wall Street Fascinating read !
Date published: 2014-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Wolf of Wall Street Interesting story about how a person can become so greedy to ruin his whole life and those of others.
Date published: 2014-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Wolf of Wall Street I loved this book! It was fast paced and exciting! I read it in 2 days and was thoroughly entertained. Sandy
Date published: 2014-02-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Wolf of Wall Street The even split between 1-start and 5-star reviews is very telling - you'll either love it or hate it, there seems to be very few in between. In short, the book is an over the top, fast paced, recount of non-stop drug abuse, sex, money laundering schemes, and stock manipulation. About halfway through the book I had to go online to confirm that this is, in fact, a non-fiction work - it reads more like a thriller. If you're looking for stock market know-how, this is not the book that will teach you that, albeit the "chop stock" machinations on top of which Belfort built his empire are definitely an interesting historical artifact. Instead, this is a great tale of the lifestyle of the "rich and dysfunctional". If you suspend your sense of reality, it is actually a quiet engaging book. Albeit personally, I am still shell-shocked from the thought that Belfort has lived and survived through all this.
Date published: 2014-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Wolf of Wall Street I liked this book. Good plot. Exciting. I will definitely reread it. I also watched the movie lately, I prefer the book.
Date published: 2014-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Wolf of Wall Street A realistic albeit extravagant depiction of the life of Jordan Belfort. Saw the man on youtube the other day, all I can say is he was very persuasive and charemastic.
Date published: 2014-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Wolf of Wall Street I have only read up to book 2 but is a very good read so far! Jordan is honest and allows readers to have a glimpse of his life and mind. I hope that the movie will do it justice.
Date published: 2014-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Wolf of Wall Street I loved the book. Some parts were hard to believe and I do question the validity of some parts, however. Some of the Wall Street lingo made me yawn. I want to read the book again, however and would recommend it to others.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Wolf of Wall Street Such a good read. I couldn't put the book down. I really recommend everyone should read this!!!
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Wolf of Wall Street Must read before seeing the movie....quite extraordinary!!
Date published: 2014-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Wolf of Wall Street This was such a great read I couldn't put it down and once I found out there was a sequel I bought it straight away! An absolute page turner that I have recommended to many people!
Date published: 2014-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Wolf of Wall Street Can't wait to see the movie!
Date published: 2014-01-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Meh It's actually a fairly old tale of greed, megalomania and predictably hedonistic behaviour. This was an uninspiring read, that I pushed through my boredom to get to the end, because I reasoned if Leo & Martin tag-teamed on the movie for this, there must be something worth waiting for at the end. There wasn't. I'm very disappointed in the story and at least I'll save some money on skipping the movie.
Date published: 2013-12-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Boys behaving badly I'm a big fan of reading the book before the movie comes out. Knowing this book had been adapted to a movie starring Leo DiCaprio made me keen to pick it up. I'm sure it will make a great Hollywood feature. But as a memoir, it was disturbing, raw, crass and all about boys behaving badly. Jordan has more money than he knows what to do with, made through his brilliance and abuse of SEC regulations. But at its heart, this is a story about addiction and a life spiralling out of control. The bits about his violation of securities laws, money laundering and his general scheming and out-smarting of the system were interesting. His life was a shamble. And after over 500 pages of reading about how he narrowly escapes death and imprisonment on a near daily basis, we are now forced into a sequel to see just how it is that his story plays out. I'm undecided on whether I'll read the sequel - I need a break from his antics.
Date published: 2013-11-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A fascinating story I believe that The Wolf of Wall Street was an effective memoir due to the fact that it succeeded with various key elements any good memoir must include such as; self discovery, drama and conflict. Throughout his writings he experiences 3 main elements of self-discovery and transformation, one being he was honest with himself and the world no matter the subject. Along those same lines he took responsibility for his actions, even when he was at his worst he never denied his accountability in what happened to him and his family. Whether it had to do with his criminal activities, massive drug abuse or eventually turning his life around, no matter he never blamed those around him not even his chief enablers. After living one of the wildest lifestyles ever, he realizes the price he and his family were paying for what he was doing and discovers that he has the ability to change and be the man that he had been promising to be. Along with showing a great chain of self discovery and personal transformation it of course was very dramatic and so much so that it leads one to believe that the stories were exaggerated, but like the rest of his life it was documented in the media. This memoir had 3 main storylines all dramatic in their own way, the first of course being his life of white collar crime, giving the reader a dramatic insight to a world that very few get the chance to see. The second dramatic storyline would be his family, while the book is littered with his regrets on the matter of his fathering the story of the (often volatile) Duchess of Bay Ridge, a pet name for his wife, is one sure to catch the reader off guard. Lastly is the story of Belfort’s nearly deadly addiction which created the conflict of a man battling himself for control of a far to strung out and intelligent mind. Over all Belfort’s crimes, family and addiction is more than enough to keep the reader from putting the book down. Lastly one of the reasons The Wolf of Wall Street was such an interesting book was that Belfort was in a nearly constant state of conflict with; himself, his family and eventually the government. The first and what I believe to be the most interesting conflict in the book is the internal battle he was fighting through the decade between his sober wants and his addiction handicap. The second being his family, when Belfort wasn’t stoned out of his mind he was working first with the Stratton Brokerage and then Steve Madden Shoes, this clearly in conflict with the need for him to spend time with his family. Lastly Belfort came into conflict with the government, although he spent a majority of the book avoiding such conflict through various precautionary measures, he was eventually caught and imprisoned. This memoir was able to achieve various elements of what make a good memoir the main points being; self-discovery, drama and conflict.
Date published: 2013-10-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wolf of Wall Street Having been in the investment banking world for a substantial part of my career, I recognize a lot of the craziness and excess' that this book relates. It s a fun read and will keep you entertained as well as awed at how money and success can become your worst enemies in life.
Date published: 2013-09-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An Ok read, might be a better movie. The book feels a little long despite being of average length. Also, following a prologue where the author attempt to make amends for his terrible actions, he spends the rest of the novel revelling in his past crimes and extravances. That being said, Dicaprio and Scorsese should have no problem turning this into an entertaining film.
Date published: 2013-07-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Ok read, might be a better movie. Great read. Highly recommend this to anyone
Date published: 2013-07-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Is Wolfish For Sure This book certainly lived up to it's cover reviews. It' crass to the bone. The book while not eloquently written, it's raw. Some of the stories seem quite over the top, almost unbelivable, but the author certainly has addressed the dark side of wall street to the very core. I can't say I relate to the lifestyle described, nor would I want to, however, it was at the least entertaining. It's an easy read, full of adventures and crazy stories and left me happy to have a simple life.
Date published: 2012-07-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from If you're a non-PC sort of person, you may like this one. "If you've ever wondered what goes on in the head of a vain sociopath, the Wolf of Wall Street will give you a unique glimpse into the mind of someone so self-centered, he makes Narcissus look like Mother Theresa (you've probably come across one of these types over the years). Although an entertaining read (assuming you have no qualms about seeing the f-bomb on each and every page and reading about deviant acts ad infinitum) there was one thing missing from the entire story: remorse, or even realization that his actions resulted in millions of dollars of damage to not only his own property and that of investors' portfolios, but also some pretty deep emotional scars for all involved. Self-destructing is one thing, but taking a cadre of innocents with you is another (you'll know how he does this as you read). I almost had to abort the read, as early on he goes on and on and on about how beautiful his wife is...not that I'd fault him for that, she's his wife, but to laud her for pages and then, more than a few times, later in the book he goes on and on about her. And of course his kids are both the most beautiful geniuses in the world...of course. All in all, it's a nice bit of fantasy (or at least one side of what happened for the few years he was on top of the world). It's also a way for us mortals to peer into the brain of a true nut...I just wish he had a little more humanity and was able to see that his entire M.O. (not just what he blew his money on) was flawed from the start.
Date published: 2010-09-23

Read from the Book

Prologue A Babe in the Woods May 1, 1987 You’re lower than pond scum,” said my new boss, leading me through the boardroom of LF Rothschild for the first time. “You got a problem with that, Jordan?” “No,” I replied, “no problem.” “Good,” snapped my boss, and he kept right on walking. We were walking through a maze of brown mahogany desks and black telephone wire on the twenty-third floor of a glass-andaluminum tower that rose up forty-one stories above Manhattan’s fabled Fifth Avenue. The boardroom was a vast space, perhaps fifty by seventy feet. It was an oppressive space, loaded with desks, telephones, computer monitors, and some very obnoxious yuppies, seventy of them in all. They had their suit jackets off, and at this hour of morning–9:20 a.m.–they were leaning back in their seats, reading their Wall Street Journals, and congratulating themselves on being young Masters of the Universe. Being a Master of the Universe; it seemed like a noble pursuit, and as I walked past the Masters, in my cheap blue suit and clodhopper shoes, I found myself wishing I were one of them. But my new boss was quick to remind me that I wasn’t. “Your job”–he looked at the plastic nametag on my cheap blue lapel–“Jordan Belfort, is a connector, which means you’ll be dialing the phone five hundred times a day, trying to get past secretaries. You’re not trying to sell anything or recommend anything or create anything. You’ re just trying to get business owners on the phone.” He paused for a brief instant, then spewed out more venom. “And when you do get one on the phone, all you’ll say is: ‘Hello, Mr. So and So, I have Scott holding for you,’ and then you pass the phone to me and start dialing again. Think you can handle that, or is that too complicated for you?” “No, I can handle it,” I said confidently, as a wave of panic overtook me like a killer tsunami. The LF Rothschild training program was six months long. They would be tough months, grueling months, during which I would be at the very mercy of assholes like Scott, the yuppie scumbag who seemed to have bubbled up from the fiery depths of yuppie hell. Sneaking peaks at him out of the corner of my eye, I came to the quick conclusion that Scott looked like a goldfish. He was bald and pale, and what little hair he did have left was a muddy orange. He was in his early thirties, on the tall side, and he had a narrow skull and pink, puffy lips. He wore a bow tie, which made him look ridiculous. Over his bulging brown eyeballs he wore a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles, which made him look fishy–in the goldfish sense of the word. “Good,” said the scumbag goldfish. “Now, here are the ground rules: There are no breaks, no personal calls, no sick days, no coming in late, and no loafing off. You get thirty minutes for lunch”–he paused for effect–“and you better be back on time, because there are fifty people waiting to take your desk if you fuck up.” He kept walking and talking as I followed one step behind, mesmerized by the thousands of orange diode stock quotes that came skidding across gray-colored computer monitors. At the front of the room, a wall of plate glass looked out over midtown Manhattan. Up ahead I could see the Empire State Building. It towered above everything, seeming to rise up to the heavens and scrape the sky. It was a sight to behold, a sight worthy of a young Master of the Universe. And, right now, that goal seemed further and further away. “To tell you the truth,” sputtered Scott, “I don’t think you’re cut out for this job. You look like a kid, and Wall Street’s no place for kids. It’s a place for killers. A place for mercenaries. So in that sense you’re lucky I’m not the one who does the hiring around here.” He let out a few ironic chuckles. I bit my lip and said nothing. The year was 1987, and yuppie assholes like Scott seemed to rule the world. Wall Street was in the midst of a raging bull market, and freshly minted millionaires were being spit out a dime a dozen. Money was cheap, and a guy named Michael Milken had invented something called “junk bonds,” which had changed the way corporate America went about its business. It was a time of unbridled greed, a time of wanton excess. It was the era of the yuppie. As we neared his desk, my yuppie nemesis turned to me and said, “I’ll say it again, Jordan: You’re the lowest of the low. You’re not even a cold caller yet; you’re a connector.” Disdain dripped off the very word. “And ’til you pass your Series Seven, connecting will be your entire universe. And that is why you are lower than pond scum. You got a problem with that?” “Absolutely not,” I replied. “It’s the perfect job for me, because I am lower than pond scum.” I shrugged innocently. Unlike Scott, I don’t look like a goldfish, which made me feel proud as he stared at me, searching my face for irony. I’m on the short side, though, and at the age of twenty-four I still had the soft boyish features of an adolescent. It was the sort of face that made it difficult for me to get into a bar without getting proofed. I had a full head of light brown hair, smooth olive skin, and a pair of big blue eyes. Not altogether bad-looking. But, alas, I hadn’t been lying to Scott when I’d told him that I felt lower than pond scum. In point of fact, I did. The problem was that I had just run my first business venture into the ground, and my self-esteem had been run into the ground with it. It had been an ill-conceived venture into the meat and seafood industry, and by the time it was over I had found myself on the ass end of twenty-six truck leases–all of which I’d personally guaranteed, and all of which were now in default. So the banks were after me, as was some belligerent woman from American Express–a bearded, three-hundred-pounder by the sound of her–who was threatening to personally kick my ass if I didn’t pay up. I had considered changing my phone number, but I was so far behind on my phone bill that NYNEX was after me too. We reached Scott’ s desk and he offered me the seat next to his, along with some kind words of encouragement. “Look at the bright side,” he quipped. “If by some miracle you don’t get fired for laziness, stupidness, insolence, or tardiness, then you migt actually become a stockbroker one day.” He smirked at his own humor. “And just so you know, last year I made over three hundred thousand dollars, and the other guy you’ll be working for made over a million.” Over a million? I could only imagine what an asshole the other guy was. With a sinking heart, I asked, “Who’s the other guy?” “Why?” asked my yuppie tormentor. “What’s it to you?” Sweet Jesus! I thought. Only speak when spoken to, you nincompoop! It was like being in the Marines. In fact, I was getting the distinct impression that this bastard’s favorite movie was An Officer and a Gentleman, and he was playing out a Lou Gossett fantasy on me–pretending he was a drill sergeant in charge of a substandard Marine. But I kept that thought to myself, and all I said was, “Uh, nothing, I was just, uh, curious.” “His name is Mark Hanna, and you’ll meet him soon enough.” With that, he handed me a stack of three-by-five index cards, each of them having the name and phone number of a wealthy business owner on it. “Smile and dial,” he instructed, “and don’t pick up your fucking head ’til twelve.” Then he sat down at his own desk, picked up a copy of The Wall Street Journal, and put his black crocodile dress shoes on the desktop and started reading. I was about to pick up the phone when I felt a beefy hand on my shoulder. I looked up, and with a single glance I knew it was Mark Hanna. He reeked of success, like a true Master of the Universe. He was a big guy–about six-one, two-twenty, and most of it muscle. He had jet-black hair, dark intense eyes, thick fleshy features, and a fair smattering of acne scars. He was handsome, in a downtown sort of way, giving off the hip whiff of Greenwich Village. I felt the charisma oozing off him. “Jordan?” he said, in a remarkably soothing tone. “Yeah, that’s me,” I replied, in the tone of the doomed. “Pond scum first-class, at your service!” He laughed warmly, and the shoulder pads of his $2,000 gray pin-striped suit rose and fell with each chuckle. Then, in a voice louder than necessary, he said, “Yeah, well, I see you got your first dose of the village asshole!” He motioned his head toward Scott. I nodded imperceptibly. He winked back. “No worry: I’m the senior broker here; he’s just a worthless piker. So disregard everything he said and anything he might ever say in the future.” Try as I might, I couldn’ t help but glance over at Scott, who was now muttering the words: “Fuck you, Hanna!” Mark didn’t take offense, though. He simply shrugged and stepped around my desk, putting his great bulk between Scott and me, and he said, “Don’t let him bother you. I hear you’re a first-class salesman. In a year from now that moron will be kissing your ass.” I smiled, feeling a mixture of pride and embarrassment. “Who told you I was a great salesman?” “Steven Schwartz, the guy who hired you. He said you pitched him stock right in the job interview.” Mark chuckled at that. “He was impressed; he told me to watch out for you.” “Yeah, I was nervous he wasn’t gonna hire me. There were twenty people lined up for interviews, so I figured I better do something drastic–you know, make an impression.” I shrugged my shoulders. “He told me I’d need to tone it down a bit, though.” Mark smirked. “Yeah, well don’t tone it down too much. High pressure’s a must in this business. People don’t buy stock; it gets sold to them. Don’t ever forget that.” He paused, letting his words sink in. “Anyway, Sir Scumbag over there was right about one thing: Connecting does suck. I did it for seven months, and I wanted to kill myself every day. So I’ll let you in on a little secret”–and he lowered his voice conspiratorially–“You only pretend to connect. You loaf off at every opportunity.” He smiled and winked, then raised his voice back to normal. “Don’t get me wrong; I want you to pass me as many connects as possible, because I make money off them. But I don’t want you to slit your wrists over it, ’cause I hate the sight of blood.” He winked again. “So take lots of breaks. Go to the bathroom and jerk off if you have to. That’s what I did, and it worked like a charm for me. You like jerking off, I assume, right?” I was a bit taken aback by the question, but as I would later learn, a Wall Street boardroom was no place for symbolic pleasantries. Words like shit and fuck and bastard and prick were as common as yes and no and maybe and please. I said, “Yeah, I, uh, love jerking off. I mean, what guy doesn’t, right?” He nodded, almost relieved. “Good, that’s real good. Jerking off is key. And I also strongly recommend the use of drugs, especially cocaine, because that’ll make you dial faster, which is good for me.” He paused, as if searching for more words of wisdom, but apparently came up short. “Well, that’s about it,” he said. “That’s all the knowledge I can impart to you now. You’ll do fine, rookie. One day you’ll even look back at this and laugh; that much I can promise you.” He smiled once more and then took a seat before his own phone. A moment later a buzzer sounded, announcing that the market had just opened. I looked at my Timex watch, purchased at JCPenney for fourteen bucks last week. It was nine-thirty on the nose. It was May 4, 1987, my first day on Wall Street. Just then, over the loudspeaker, came the voice of LF Rothschild’s sales manager, Steven Schwartz. “Okay, gentlemen. The futures look strong this morning, and serious buying is coming in from Tokyo.” Steven was only thirty-eight years old, but he’d made over $2 million last year. (Another Master of the Universe.) “We’re looking at a ten-point pop at the open,” he added, “so let’ s hit the phones and rock and roll!” And just like that the room broke out into pandemonium. Feet came flying off desktops; Wall Street Journals were filed away in garbage cans; shirtsleeves were rolled up to the elbows; and one by one brokers picked up their phones and started dialing. I picked up my own phone and started dialing too. Within minutes, everyone was pacing about furiously and gesticulating wildly and shouting into their black telephones, which created a mighty roar. It was the first time I’d heard the roar of a Wall Street boardroom, which sounded like the roar of a mob. It was a sound I’d never forget, a sound that would change my life forever. It was the sound of young men engulfed by greed and ambition, pitching their hearts and souls out to wealthy business owners across America. “Miniscribe’ s a fucking steal down here,” screamed a chubbyfaced yuppie into his telephone. He was twenty-eight, and he had a raging coke habit and a gross income of $600,000. “Your broker in West Virginia? Christ! He might be good at picking coal-mining stocks, but it’s the eighties now. The name of the game is hightech!” “I got fifty thousand July Fifties!” screamed a broker, two desks over. “They’re out of the money!” yelled another. “I’m not getting rich on one trade,” swore a broker to his client. “Are you kidding?” snapped Scott into his headset. “After I split my commission with the firm and the government I can’t put Puppy Chow in my dog’s bowl!” Every so often a broker would slam his phone down in victory and then fill out a buy ticket and walk over to a pneumatic tubing system that had been affixed to a support column. He would stick the ticket in a glass cylinder and watch it get sucked up into the ceiling. From there, the ticket made its way to the trading desk on the other side of the building, where it would be rerouted to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for execution. So the ceiling had been lowered to make room for the tubing, and it seemed to bear down on my head. By ten o’clock, Mark Hanna had made three trips to the support column, and he was about to make another. He was so smooth on the phone that it literally boggled my mind. It was as if he were apologizing to his clients as he ripped their eyeballs out. “Sir, let me say this,” Mark was saying to the chairman of a Fortune 500 company. “I pride myself on finding the bottom of these issues. And my goal is not only to guide you into these situations but to guide you out as well.” His tone was so soft and mellow that it was almost hypnotic. “I’ d like to be an asset to you for the long term; to be an asset to your business–and to your family.” Two minutes later Mark was at the tubing system with a quartermillion-dollar buy order for a stock called Microsoft. I’d never heard of Microsoft before, but it sounded like a pretty decent company. Anyway, Mark’s commission on the trade was $3,000. I had seven dollars in my pocket. By twelve o’clock I was dizzy, and I was starving. In fact, I was dizzy and starving and sweating profusely. But, most of all, I was hooked. The mighty roar was surging through my very innards and resonating with every fiber of my being. I knew I could do this job. I knew I could do it just like Mark Hanna did it, probably even better. I knew I could be smooth as silk. To my surprise, rather than taking the building’s elevator down to the lobby and spending half my net worth on two frankfurters and a Coke, I now found myself ascending to the penthouse with Mark Hanna standing beside me. Our destination was a five-star restaurant called Top of the Sixes, which was on the forty-first floor of the office building. It was where the elite met to eat, a place where Masters of the Universe could get blitzed on martinis and exchange war stories. The moment we stepped into the restaurant, Luis, the maître d’, bum-rushed Mark, shaking his hand violently and telling him how wonderful it was to see him on such a glorious Monday afternoon. Mark slipped him a fifty, which caused me to nearly swallow my own tongue, and Luis ushered us to a corner table with a fabulous view of Manhattan’s Upper West Side and the George Washington Bridge. Mark smiled at Luis and said, “Give us two Absolut martinis, Luis, straight up. And then bring us two more in”–he looked at his thick gold Rolex watch–“exactly seven and a half minutes, and then keep bringing them every five minutes until one of us passes out.” Luis nodded. “Of course, Mr. Hanna. That’ s an excellent strategy.” I smiled at Mark, and said, in a very apologetic tone, “I’m sorry, but I, uh, don’t drink.” Then I turned to Luis. “You could just bring me a Coke. That’ll be fine.” Luis and Mark exchanged a look, as if I’d just committed a crime. But all Mark said was, “It’s his first day on Wall Street; give him time.” Luis looked at me, compressed his lips, and nodded gravely. “That’s perfectly understandable. Have no fear; soon enough you’ll be an alcoholic.” Mark nodded in agreement. “Well said, Luis, but bring him a martini anyway, just in case he changes his mind. Worse comes to worst, I’ll drink it myself.” “Excellent, Mr. Hanna. Will you and your friend be eating today or just imbibing?” What the fuck was Luis talking about? I wondered. It was a rather ridiculous question, considering it was lunchtime! But to my surprise, Mark told Luis that he would not be eating today, that only I would, at which point Luis handed me a menu and went to fetch our drinks. A moment later I found out exactly why Mark wouldn’t be eating, when he reached into his suit-jacket pocket, pulled out a coke vial, unscrewed the top, and dipped in a tiny spoon. He scooped out a sparkling pile of nature’s most powerful appetite suppressant–namely, cocaine–and he took a giant snort up his right nostril. Then he repeated the process and Hoovered one up his left. I was astonished. Couldn’t believe it! Right here in the restaurant! Among the Masters of the Universe! Out of the corner of my eye I glanced around the restaurant to see if anyone had noticed. Apparently no one had, and, in retrospect, I’m sure that they wouldn’t have given a shit anyway. After all, they were too busy getting whacked on vodka and scotch and gin and bourbon and whatever dangerous pharmaceuticals they had procured with their wildly inflated paychecks. “Here you go,” said Mark, passing me the coke vial. “The true ticket on Wall Street; this and hookers.” Hookers? That struck me as odd. I mean, I’d never even been to one! Besides, I was in love with a girl I was about to make my wife. Her name was Denise, and she was gorgeous–as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. The chances of me cheating on her were less than zero. And as far as the coke was concerned, well, I’d done my share of partying in college, but it had been a few years since I’d touched anything other than pot. “No thanks,” I said, feeling slightly embarrassed. “The stuff doesn’t really agree with me. It makes me . . . uh . . . nuts. Like I can’t sleep or eat, and I . . . uh . . . well, I start worrying about everything. It’s really bad for me. Really evil.” “No problem,” he said, taking another blast from the vial. “But I promise you that cocaine can definitely help you get through the day around here!” He shook his head and shrugged. “It’s a fuckedup racket, being a stockbroker. I mean, don’t get me wrong: The money’s great and everything, but you’re not creating anything, you’re not building anything. So after a while it gets kinda monotonous.” He paused, as if searching for the right words. “The truth is we’re nothing more than sleazoid salesmen. None of us has any idea what stocks are going up! We’re all just throwing darts at a board and, you know, churning and burning. Anyway, you’ll figure all this out soon enough.” We spent the next few minutes sharing our backgrounds. Mark had grown up in Brooklyn, in the town of Bay Ridge, which was a pretty tough neighborhood from what I knew of it. “Whatever you do,” he quipped, “don’t go out with a girl from Bay Ridge. They’re all fucking crazy!” Then he took another blast from his coke vial and added, “The last one I went out with stabbed me with a fuckingpencil while I was sleeping! Can you imagine?” Just then a tuxedoed waiter came over and placed our drinks on the table. Mark lifted his twenty-dollar martini and I lifted my eight-dollar Coke. Mark said, “Here’s to the Dow Jones going straight to five thousand!” We clinked glasses. “And here’s to your career on Wall Street!” he added. “May you make a bloody fortune in this racket and maintain just a small portion of your soul in the process!” We both smiled and then clinked glasses again. In that very instant if someone told me that in just a few short years I would end up owning the very restaurant I was now sitting in and that Mark Hanna, along with half the other brokers at LF Rothschild would end up working for me, I would have said they were crazy. And if someone told me that I would be snorting lines of cocaine off the bar in this very restaurant, while a dozen highclass hookers looked on in admiration, I would say that they had lost their fucking mind. But that would be only the beginning. You see, at that very moment there were things happening away from me–things that had nothing to do with me–starting with a little something called portfolio insurance, which was a computer-driven stock-hedging strategy that would ultimately put an end to this raging bull market and send the Dow Jones crashing down 508 points in a single day. And, from there, the chain of events that would ensue would be almost unimaginable. Wall Street would close down business for a time, and the investment-banking firm of LF Rothschild would be forced to shut its doors. And then the insanity would take hold. What I offer you now is a reconstruction of that insanity–a satirical reconstruction–of what would turn out to be one of the wildest rides in Wall Street history. And I offer it to you in a voice that was playing inside my head at that very time. It’s an ironic voice, a glib voice, a self-serving voice, and, at many times, a despicable voice. It’s a voice that allowed me to rationalize anything that stood in my way of living a life of unbridled hedonism. It’s a voice that helped me corrupt other people–and manipulate them–and bring chaos and insanity to an entire generation of young Americans. I grew up in a middle-class family in Bayside, Queens, where words like nigger and spick and wop and chink were considered the dirtiest of words–words that were never to be uttered under any circumstances. In my parents’ household, prejudices of any sort were heavily discouraged; they were considered the mental processes of inferior beings, of unenlightened beings. I have always felt this way: as a child, as an adolescent, and even at the height of the insanity. Yet dirty words like that would come to slip off my tongue with remarkable ease, especially as the insanity took hold. Of course, I would rationalize that out too–telling myself that this was Wall Street and, on Wall Street, there’s no time for symbolic pleasantries or societal niceties. Why do I say these things to you? I say them because I want you to know who I really am and, more importantly, who I’m not. And I say these things because I have two children of my own, and I have a lot to explain to them one day. I’ll have to explain how their lovable dad, the very dad who now drives them to soccer games and shows up at their parent—teacher conferences and stays home on Friday nights and makes them Caesar salad from scratch, could have been such a despicable person once. But what I sincerely hope is that my life serves as a cautionary tale to the rich and poor alike; to anyone who’s living with a spoon up their nose and a bunch of pills dissolving in their stomach sac; or to any person who’s considering taking a God-given gift and misusing it; to anyone who decides to go to the dark side of the force and live a life of unbridled hedonism. And to anyone who thinks there’s anything glamorous about being known as a Wolf of Wall Street.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

“Raw and frequently hilarious.”—The New York Times “A rollicking tale of [Jordan Belfort’s] rise to riches as head of the infamous boiler room Stratton Oakmont . . . proof that there are indeed second acts in American lives.”—Forbes “A cross between Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities and Scorsese’s GoodFellas . . . Belfort has the Midas touch.”—The Sunday Times (London) “Entertaining as pulp fiction, real as a federal indictment . . . a hell of a read.”—Kirkus ReviewsFrom the Hardcover edition.