Why The Wolf of Wall Street Is Total Crap

Wolf-of-wall-streetI have been harsh in the past about some things William D. Cohan has written about Wall Street, specifically in this review of his book about Goldman Sachs, and this view on Fabulous Fab’s criminal conviction for just doing his job as a CDO structurer.

However, I really appreciated his Op-Ed in this weekend’s New York Times about the Wolf of Wall Street movie versus the reality of Wall Street.  Cohan nails it.

The Wolf of Wall Street depicts a Hollywood version of a dark corner of the finance world – boiler rooms – that bears little resemblance to the actual Wall Street.

My colleagues generally worked too hard, had too much pride in their fancy educational pedigrees, and too much ambition to get ahead in a culture that actually punished irresponsible behavior to do the stuff that Leonardo DiCaprio’s character does in the movie.

I’m not saying there weren’t jerks – of course there were – but the point was you didn’t want to get identified inside the firm as a jerk.  It was a very bad career move to get known for bad behavior.

That’s the real truth, but it obviously makes for far less exciting cinema than cocaine, prostitutes, and scamming people on purpose.


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One Reply to “Why The Wolf of Wall Street Is Total Crap”

  1. Banker it been a while since I posted but I do come and read at your place weekly.

    I know some good bankers (some will be absolutely shocked at this statement) and they are appalled at this portrayal of their trade.

    I felt the same way. Under the current administration everything is basically the bankers fault for the problems we are having. Just look at the blog sites these days. This movie is nothing more then a propaganda piece and I was disgusted at how it portrayed criminal behavior.

    Even I feel like a criminal these days because I make a decent living and I am tired of spending so much time to only pay out so much in taxes. Share the wealth for something you work so hard all your life by doing the legal and correct things, so you can live comfortably when you retire or heave forbid a real health issue arise. My wife had cancer and without all the savings we would have been bankrupt. Insurance only goes so far.

    Thanks for the blog and sorry for the rant but I am so tired of Hollywood portraying many professions as basically criminals and right now wall street and bankers are the criminals in many peoples eyes.

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I founded Bankers Anonymous because, as a recovering banker, I believe that the gap between the financial world as I know it and the public discourse about finance is more than just a problem for a family trying to balance their checkbook, or politicians trying to score points over next year’s budget – it is a weakness of our civil society. For reals. It’s also really fun for me.

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