The next morning I read a New York Times Sunday Review op-ed piece called "For The Love Of Money" written by Sam Polk, another former Wall Street "wolf".
Sam Polk was a hedge fund trader for Bank of America and Citibank whose drug and alcohol abuse and ensuing self-destructive behavior began during his student days at Columbia University.
With the help of a counselor he was able to quit those substances, but replaced them with an equally self-desctructive addiction: an addiction to the pursuit of money, called wealth addiction.
As Polk wrote of himself on receiving a $3.6 million bonus:
"...I was angry because it wasn't big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philathropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink: I was addicted."
No matter how much wealth he accrued he burned for more and was "nagged by envy" because there was always someone out on the trading floor whose bonuses soared above his. Being a millionaire wasn't enough. Sam Polk wanted - needed - to become a billionaire. He described himself as "a giant fireball of greed."
And then one day during a meeting with one of his "absurdly wealthy bosses" Polk had an epiphany. He wrote:
"From that moment on, I started to see Wall Street with new eyes. I noticed the vitriol that traders direct at the government for limiting bonuses after the crash. I heard the fury in their voices at the mention of higher taxes. These traders despised anything or anyone that threatened their bonuses. Ever see what a drug addict is like when he's used up his junk?....the trading floor started to feel like a neighborhood in 'The Wire' when the heroin runs out."
Sam Polk walked away from Wall Street cold turkey and got clean of his addiction.
What does he do now?
"In the three years since I've left, I've married, spoken in jails and juvenile detention centers about getting sober, taught a writing class to girls in the foster system, and started a non-profit called Groceryships to help poor families struggling with obesity and food addiction. I am much happier."
And what has Jordan Befort done since leaving the stock market where he made his multi-millions?
He served a brief prison term, wrote "The Wolf Of Wall Street", sold the movie rights, and now earns his daily bread as a motivational speaker and by selling people a study course on how to make millions.
Jordan Belfort lives in Manhattan Beach, California and his current net worth is around a hundred million dollars.
Do you think Hollywood would be interested in making a movie about Sam Polk?
Source: "For The Love Of Money" by Sam Polk, The New York Times Sunday Review, January 19, 2014.