On March 14, 2012, more than three million people read Greg Smith's bombshell op-ed in the New York Times titled Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs. The column immediately went viral, became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter, and drew passionate responses from former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, legendary General Electric CEO Jack Welch, and New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg. Mostly, though, it hit a nerve among the general public who question the role of Wall Street in society - and the callous "take-the-money-and-run" mentality that brought the world economy to its knees a few short years ago. Smith now picks up where his op-ed left off.
His story begins in the summer of 2000, when an idealistic 21-year-old arrives as an intern at Goldman Sachs and learns about the firm's Business Principle Number One: Our clients' interests always come first. This remains Smith's mantra as he rises from intern to analyst to sales trader, with clients controlling assets of more than a trillion dollars.
From the shenanigans of his summer internship during the technology bubble to Las Vegas hot tubs and the excesses of the real estate boom; from the career lifeline he received from an NFL Hall of Famer during the bear market to the day Warren Buffett came to save Goldman Sachs from extinction - Smith will take the reader on his personal journey through the firm, and bring us inside the world's most powerful bank.
Smith describes in page-turning detail how the most storied investment bank on Wall Street went from taking iconic companies like Ford, Sears, and Microsoft public to becoming a "vampire squid" that referred to its clients as "muppets" and paid the government a record half-billion dollars to settle SEC charges. He shows the evolution of Wall Street into an industry riddled with conflicts of interest and a profit-at-all-costs mentality: a perfectly rigged game at the expense of the economy and the society at large.
After conversations with nine Goldman Sachs partners over a twelve-month period proved fruitless, Smith came to believe that the only way the system would ever change was for an insider to finally speak out publicly. He walked away from his career and took matters into his own hands. This is his story.
©2012 Greg Smith (P)2012 Hachette Audio
I love bio books about wall street, this one was just especially boring without any real substance or stories that kept me interested. In fact I quit after just 2 hours of listening, the first time I have done that in 2 years. His voice is mono chromatic which I could have lived with had the book had anything of value.
There are far better options about the subject with far more interesting authors that I would choose over this title, but that's just my opinion
Audible has allowed me to enjoy books again.
Definitely would reread some parts of the book. Especially the details explaining derivatives/SWOPS and how GS was involved in 2007-2008 Financial Fall.
Lords of Finance-Great book on the 4 major world powers in the early 1900's on they dealt with Gold Standard.
Explanation of GS involvement with the whole 2007-2008 Financial Fall
This was just one man's experience and the reader risks confirmation bias, but it was a compelling story and well-told. For an interesting look into one man's journey through his career at Goldman, this book is a great choice.
Helpful if you want to get some insight into how Golman Sachs works internally. To get the other side read (unfortuneately no audio available) "Culture of Success" (although its a bit dated)
I like books read by the author and this one in particular, his South African accent is a big plus.
The honesty expressed about what really happens at GS and how the culture changed as the economy got worse was brutally clear.
When he sat down at his desk to collect his things and leave. It must have been a powerful moment for him and yet he never seemed to waiver in his conviction.
As the narrator he was able to use voice inflection and his personal tone to bring the story to life. I have known several South Africans but his accent on some words was really funny.
As a former management intern I appreciated the struggle to get a full-time position and also the cutthroat behavior of many Ivy League candidates.
It should be mandatory reading for CEOs and interns alike of those who wish to maintain a culture that is somewhat "old fashioned" in the way that it treats its customers. Here I mean "old fashioned" in a positive context. One where the client is not ever a muppet, lol!
This book was an eye opener for me. Greg weaves a fun interesting life story in the world of finance. Never dull, with several colorful characters along for the ride.
Excellent expose of what is really going on there at Wall Street - how a premiere firm went from Client Focus to money grubbing focus, and how wall street finance "invented" the products and financial instruments that ultimately cost taxpayers billions to bail them out. Everyone with a pension or a 401K should read this. Well done Greg Smith for having the huevos to write this book.
Yes because you can hear more feeling in authors words.
Very few people who have climb the corporate ladders of financial services industry have had the guts to expose these companies on their business practices. This was one of the gutsiest.
No. I would be interested in seeing more of his work.
When Pigs Fly.
Ive heard a lot of books on the 2008 meltdown, on Bernie Madoff, Lehman Bros etc. So maybe Im already a bit jaded by this genre. This book didnt say anything new. Its the usual story of Wall Street greed. I actually liked the fist part of the book. It gave me a good insight on working life on Wall Street.
yes for me
refreshing to see pricipled and motivated young person inaction as antidote to pure greed
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