The Wolf of Wall Street

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The Wolf of Wall Street

By Jordan Belfort

Jordan Belfort, who founded one of the first and largest chop shop brokerage firms in 1987, was banned from the securities business for life by 1994, and later went to jail for fraud and money-laundering, delivers a memoir that reads like fiction.

It covers his decade of success with straightforward accounts of how he worked with managers of obscure companies to acquire large amounts of stock with minimal public disclosure, then pumped up the price and sold it, so he and the insiders made large profits while public investors usually lost. Profits were laundered through purchase of legitimate businesses and cash deposits in Swiss banks.

As might be expected in the autobiography of a veteran con man with movie rights already sold, it’s hard to know how much to believe. The story is told mostly in dialogue, with allegedly contemporaneous mental asides by the author, reported verbatim. But it reports only surface events, never revealing what motivates Belfort or any of the other characters.

Some interesting areas of humanity that I learn from his book : -> here are some extracts

Part 1 : About Steve
And there were other things about Steve that bothered me, things that I couldn’t share with Danny – namely, that Steve had made subtle intimations to me that he would prefer to deal directly with me than through Danny. And while I had no doubt that Steve was trying to earn brownie points with me, his strategy couldn’t have been more off the mark. What it proved was that Steve was cunning and manipulative – and most importantly in search of the Bigger Better Deal. If somewhere down the line he found a Bigger Better Deal than me, all bets would be off.

Part 2 : About the Swiss banks
Before Hitler was able to sweep through Europe and round up 6 million Jews and exterminate them in the gas chambers, many were able to move their money into Switzerland. They had seen the handwriting on the wall back in the early 30s, when the Nazis were first coming to power. But smuggling out their money had proved to be much easier than smuggling out themselves.

Virtually every country in Europe with the exception of Denmark, denied millions of desperate Jews safe haven within their borders. Most of these countries had cut secret deals with Hitler, agreeing to turn over the Jewish populations if Hitler agreed not to attack. These were agreements that Hitler quickly reneged on, once he had all the Jews safely tucked away in concentration camps. And as country after country fell to the Nazis, the Jews ran out of places to hide. How very ironic it was that Switzerland had been so quick to accept Jewish money yet so reluctant to accept Jewish souls.

After the Nazis were finally defeated, many of the surviving children had come to Switzerland to search their family’s secret accounts. But they had no way to prove they had any rights to them. After all, there were no names tied to the accounts, only numbers. Unless the surviving children knew exactly in which bank their parents had kept their money and precisely which banker they had been doing business with, there was no possible way for them to lay claim to the money. To this very day, billions upon billions of dollars were still unaccounted for.

And all that Jewish money had been lost forever, absorbed in the very Swiss banking system itself, enriching this tiny country beyond imagination, which probably accounted for the lack of beggars in the streets.

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