The Wolf of Wall Street

There are Top Producers. Then there are… wolves.

Categories: Norb Likes, Writing Life


  • Anonymous says:

    Whenever my wife and I watch an episode of American Greed on CNBC, one of us always asks the other, “How could they think that they were going to get away with that?” I haven’t read Belfort’s book, but I’ve heard that it is more of a recollection than a reflection- only the when’s and what’s and not the why’s or how’s. I’d like to get inside the mind of these people to try and understand what they were thinking.

    • Norb Vonnegut says:

      Anonymous, I’ve written about Ponzi artists, money launderers, and one guy who “marks on the close.” I think about motivations all the time. As best as I can tell, there’s a progression. First comes necessity, then justification, then repetition, then a certain fearlessness (think Madoff). These guys get good at what they do. But as the stakes increase, the fraudsters return to their starting points…”need.”

      After several cycles, there’s often a sense of being overwhelmed. And if they reach a point where they express remorse, I’m not sure you can trust it.

      • Nathan says:

        I guess their actions can only make sense to you, if you’re able to admit that they make no sense. The question isn’t so much what were they thinking, but more how were they thinking. And the answer is, illogically and irrationally.

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