Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wolf of Wall Street on Speaking Tour

In the movie The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Leonardo DiCaprio portrays the former stockbroker Jordan Belfort who was convicted for fraud and sentenced to four years in prison, only having to serve 22 months. Jordan is currently on a major speaking tour promising techniques such as "6 Persuasion and Closing Techniques they Won’t Show you at Harvard, Yale, Princeton or ANY Ivy League School", but in her article "My Miserable Night at Jordan Belfort's Groupon Sales Seminar," reporter Soo Youn tells quite another story:

[…] "Eagles soar above the crowd," Belfort says, before delivering his truth. "One thing I can promise you: There's not a single duck in this room. You know why? Ducks don't come to things like this."

This is Belfort's “Straight Line: Sales & Entrepreneurship" technique. It's basically a bunch of cliches and aphorisms (“results people get shit done”; to win you need to be "sharp as a tack," "enthusiastic as hell" and "an expert in your field"). […]

[…] truth tends to bend in Belfort's world. This is a guy who swindled $110 million from his investors in a "pump-and-dump" scheme over worthless penny stocks.

Just ask Joel M. Cohen, the federal prosecutor who got Belfort to flip on his friends and colleagues within 48 hours. Even the nickname is misleading: "Belfort invented the 'Wolf of Wall Street' name for his book,” Cohen tells me over the phone. “In my months debriefing him and years investigating his firm, no one ever called him that."

On the big screen, DiCaprio's Belfort was contained sleaze, a fastball of unctuousness careening toward its target, amassing collateral damage in the form of cars, boats, strippers, and friends. In real life, Belfort is scattered, restless, and unfocused. He scribbles his points on a series of four easels filled with paper from Office Depot, the handwriting indecipherable. He strides up and down the stage, marker in hand. He's less Tony Robbins, more buff guy at the gym who doles out unsolicited workout advice.


It’s not entirely clear how much money Belfort is making from this tour, or how much of the $110,362,993.87 in restitution he owes the federal government he’s actually paying. According to an Oct. 11, 2013, letter from the Department of Justice, Belfort’s coughed up just over $11 million, but has taken the stance that since he’s now free he’s no longer obligated to pay.

That’s about $99 million still owed to his victims.

Featured image: Leonardo DiCaprio with Martin Scorsese. Via Yahoo.

Via Business Insider.

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