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Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story | [Greg Smith]

Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

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  •  
    Brad Louisville, KY, United States 02-11-13
    Brad Louisville, KY, United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2011

    Audible has allowed me to enjoy books again.

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    "Fascinating Read on Goldman Sachs"
    Would you listen to Why I Left Goldman Sachs again? Why?

    Definitely would reread some parts of the book. Especially the details explaining derivatives/SWOPS and how GS was involved in 2007-2008 Financial Fall.


    What other book might you compare Why I Left Goldman Sachs to and why?

    Lords of Finance-Great book on the 4 major world powers in the early 1900's on they dealt with Gold Standard.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Explanation of GS involvement with the whole 2007-2008 Financial Fall


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter COLUMBUS, OH, United States 02-01-13
    Peter COLUMBUS, OH, United States 02-01-13
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    "An anecdotal experience, but compelling story"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Mccomb Ft Collins, CO USA 01-02-13
    Dave Mccomb Ft Collins, CO USA 01-02-13 Listener Since 2001
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    "One side of the story"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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)


    What about Greg Smith’s performance did you like?

    I like books read by the author and this one in particular, his South African accent is a big plus.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. Connelly Philadelphia, PA 01-01-13
    H. Connelly Philadelphia, PA 01-01-13 Member Since 2003

    Mojo Risen

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    "Must Read for any financial professional"
    What did you love best about Why I Left Goldman Sachs?

    The honesty expressed about what really happens at GS and how the culture changed as the economy got worse was brutally clear.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Why I Left Goldman Sachs?

    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.


    What about Greg Smith’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    david ARCADIA, CALIFORNIA, United States 12-24-12
    david ARCADIA, CALIFORNIA, United States 12-24-12 Member Since 2012
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    "An informative great listen!"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Dededo, GA, United States 12-14-12
    Matt Dededo, GA, United States 12-14-12 Member Since 2011
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    "No Wonder Wall Street Wanted this Silenced"
    Would you listen to Why I Left Goldman Sachs again? Why?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    12-13-12
    12-13-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Courageous tell all!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Why I Left Goldman Sachs to be better than the print version?

    Yes because you can hear more feeling in authors words.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Greg Smith’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. I would be interested in seeing more of his work.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    When Pigs Fly.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barboza Muscat, Oman 12-11-12
    Barboza Muscat, Oman 12-11-12 Member Since 2009
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    "An okay read"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorna Roswell, Atlanta 12-07-12
    Lorna Roswell, Atlanta 12-07-12 Member Since 2005
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    "unique perspective"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Why I Left Goldman Sachs to be better than the print version?

    yes for me


    Any additional comments?

    refreshing to see pricipled and motivated young person inaction as antidote to pure greed

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Giridhar Enfield, CT, United States 12-05-12
    Giridhar Enfield, CT, United States 12-05-12
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    "nice llisten"
    What did you love best about Why I Left Goldman Sachs?

    I can connect the story to my own official life


    What did you like best about this story?

    Ladders on Craig's office - starting from Judy
    Every successful man have atlest one Judy in his life (I too had one - although I had not capitalized the opportunity like Craig)


    What aspect of Greg Smith’s performance would you have changed?

    Wall street story is always interesting


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Nothing


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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