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“The Wolf of Wall Street” by Jordan Belford

Not all of these “guideline” questions which follow below will be equally appropriate for everyone’s book choice. On the other hand, you cannot go wrong in your essay by seriously addressing as many of the following ideas and questions as applicable and possible in your essay:

• What is the thesis of the book? In one (long?) sentence, precisely what does the author want you to believe at the end of your reading? Can that “sentence” be easily understood by all?

• When and where was the book written? As a series of lectures? As a “summing up” of a life’s academic work? As a handbook for a sub-field? As a monograph researching a specific topic? As a textbook? As a journalistic piece about then-current policy problems?

• What are the author’s qualifications to write on this topic? Previous related publications? Famous Professor? Long-time practitioner in the field? Recognized consultant?

• Who should read the book? Is the book addressed primarily to (a) laymen & outsiders, or to (b) professionals in the field? If the latter, will its contents be equally applicable to all professionals? Which ones more so? If the former, describe why the material is accessible.

• Why should they read it? Will the time spent be justified? Does the writing style evoke pleasurable reading? Will the reader gain insight to the thinking of a famous author? Is the content a common reference-point within the profession? Or is it a completely new idea?

• What specifically will the reader learn? Specific new knowledge or models in the field? Challenges to conventional thinking in the field? An excellent summary of current knowledge? An appreciation of the time in which the book was written? A guide to the future?

• How can they apply that new (for the reader) knowledge to what they currently do – trader, banker, customer service, administrator of people or programs, financial analyst, manager of a process, an NGO official, a graduate student, an informed outsider, whatever? What examples or techniques apply to the job requirements or intellectual needs of the readers?

• Is the argument coherent? Do you have to re-read parts to understand the material? Does the logic flow smoothly? Is the tone arrogant; friendly; too simple; lacking in conviction?

• Do the supporting materials – maps, charts, graphs, tables, exhibits, photos, index, etc., aid the reader’s comprehension? Or are they missing and hence undermining the argument?

• Does your review give readers an insight into the field even though they don’t have the time to read the actual book itself? Could a reader, based on your review, describe the book to someone else without having read it directly them self?

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