Rating 8/10

The first incongruency (that ran throughout the book) relates to Belfort’s approach to ethics during his Stratton years, and his approach to now highly ethical selling and ethical persuasion in the book. At one point he even goes so far as to ask you to sign a declaration that you will only ever use ethical persuasion. 

Well, one can change with experience and age you say, and of course we have that capacity as humans. But for one who now promotes a highly ethical approach, the fact that Belfort seems proud of a film that glorifies an unethical approach, uses the film to promote himself, and seems to revel in his nickname as the Wolf of Wall street (well it is a pretty cool nickname) but it is all very hypocritical, and leaves you questioning everything else he says throughout the book.

That said, Belfort owns his mistakes, and you don’t have to like a person to learn from them. Especially when they have an abundance of experience and a proven track record. He states that he has spent two years refining the straight line selling technique while removing anything questionable and unethical about it.

One obvious question that might be occurring to the wise and weary alike as you decide whether or not to buy this book is – Does Belfort actually teach you the straight-line technique in this book or is it just another glorified, long form sales page in disguise, leading to the eventual upsell to his system?

A good question given the blurb does not specifically state you will be taught the system. Considering the book can be bought for less than a tenner, and the straight-line course sells for several thousand, you should not feel too cheated to discover the system is NOT in the book in its full form.

While Belfort lays out the credentials of his system, advising that he started out with eight steps, then increased it to ten steps, before, on the final refining of the system, he increased it to fourteen steps. I listened on in the expectation that they would be revealed, but they never were.

Despite this mean little tease, there is still plenty to get your teeth into. While there are plenty of references to the straight-line system this is more of a deep dive into sales and communication done his way.

‘This book is a simple, proven way to master the art of communication, enabling you to move through life at a far greater personal power, and live a far more empowered life.’

Belfort talks about such things as the five core elements of his system, his three tens principle where you lower the prospect’s action threshold, and increase their pain threshold, and convince them of your trustworthiness. And talks about what you have to convey in the first four seconds of an encounter such as your confidence, knowledge, and likability.

Incidentally, this is where the second incongruency comes in, the fact Belfort states you must come across as likable, all the while I am struggling to find anything at all likable about this author. While I struggled to like anything about the person, I did like the fact when he delivers a concept or teaching point, Belfort goes on to tell you HOW to do it or implement it.

This is a key distinction between the many many business and personal development books out there that will verbosely tell you WHAT you need to do but then fail to tell you HOW to do it. Those that don’t, or can’t, follow through are the hall mark of an author who doesn’t walk the talk. Jordan Belfort FOLLOWS THROUGH.

Belfort also describes his book as a bridge between marketing and sales, and a universal safe-cracker for the human mind. Perhaps this latter claim is because he brings a lot of NLP into his techniques. (If you are a salesman and don’t know about Neuro Linguistic Programming I suggest you go and attend a course before reading this book) But please don’t substitute that recommendation for buying a book on NLP, actually go and attend a course.

In conclusion, Belfort, for my money, is not a likable character, he is rude, derogatory, and supremely arrogant, but he has something to teach, and it is well worth tuning in to learn another perspective and angle on selling, then take away what you like from it and discard what you don’t.

With all credit, there was no upselling whatsoever in this book which is not the norm anymore. Most business books written by entrepreneurs will frequently reference their websites and additional resources and upsells. But perhaps Belfort is merely relying on his fame and leaves you to go in search of his straight-line course if your appetite has been sufficiently whetted.

If you do go in search by the way, I would not be the Businessleuth if I did not point out to you that you can find the full course now being sold very cheaply as an audio series by various ebay sellers. All in all, an engaging read or listen, and worthy of an eight out of ten.

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