At age 50, when some people start planning for retirement, John Lefebvre hit the digital motherlode. Neteller, a tiny Canadian internet start-up that processed payments between players and online gambling arenas, rocketed into the stock market. In its early years, Neteller had been a cowboy operation, narrowly averting disaster in creative ways. Co-founder Lefebvre, a gregarious hippie lawyer from Calgary, Alberta, had toked his way through his practice for decades, aspiring all the while to be a professional musician.
With the profit from Neteller and his stock holdings, he became a multi-millionaire. He started buying Malibu beach houses, limited edition cars, complete wardrobes, and a jet to fly to rock shows with pals. When that got boring he shipped his fine suits to charity, donned his beloved t-shirt and jeans, and started giving away millions to the Dalai Lama, David Suzuki and other eco-conscious people, as well as anyone else who might need a pick-me-up.
And then the FBI came knocking on his Malibu door . . .
"Bill Reynolds is a relentless storyteller. He starts fast, and neither drifts nor lets up until the finish. In Life Real Loud he has found a subject—engaging, suspenseful, and profound—to match his talent." —William Langewiesche, Vanity Fair international correspondent and author of Aloft: Thoughts on the Experience of Flight
"Bill Reynolds writes like Calvin Trillin in Remembering Denny or Michael Lewis in The New New Thing as he examines the life and strange career of a college friend. We all know someone like John Lefebvre—not as rich, but the popular, unconventional, intrepid, generous guy, a bit of a head case maybe, who gets lost and years later turns up in a news item. Reynolds reveals a modern Robin Hood, a roots and rock ’n’ roll musician, a hedonistic moralist, and the victim of an expensive cosmic joke." —Norman Sims, author of True Stories: A Century of Literary Journalism
"If Sergey Brin, Al Gore, and The Dude conceived a love child, you might end up with John Lefebvre. Bill Reynolds’s Life Real Loud dances deeply into the rags-to-riches-to-gilded-rags story of this cowtown Cinderfella, with bonus tracks riffing online gambling, enviro-philanthropy, and L.A. recording sessions. The larger-than-life Lefebvre, with his out-sized heart, out-sized opinions, and out-sized appetites, could very well end up a Canadian folk hero. Get ready to party." —Zsuzsi Gartner, author of Better Living Through Plastic Explosives
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