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Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story Hardcover – October 22, 2012
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-- Mark Gongloff, Huffington Post
A personal tale of one person caught up in a wave of greed, betrayal, and a complete disregard for the standards that had made Goldman Sachs the most trusted name on Wall Street.
-- David Siegfried, Booklist
[Greg Smith] did what we would all hope that our own banker would do: he spoke out publicly about something that was wrong.
-- Hamilton Nolan, Gawker
An insider's take on Goldman Sachs strikes a nerve....it provides a rare inside look into a career path to which many aspire: from nothing to Wall Street affluence. It will also be read because of its characterisation of Goldman's integrity. Where once it profited from helping clients prosper, the bank shifted, Mr Smith contends, into an entity that profited from clients.
-- The Economist
...Smith has written a field guide to the culture of Goldman Sachs and a fly-on-the-wall account of Wall Street on the skids.
The author's personal account of the many facets of daily life at Goldman Sachs gives his memoir the power of persuasion and conviction.
Top Customer Reviews
* Why was Goldman operated as a hedge fund with leverage levels that made it vulnerable to collapse?
* Why does the firm still have a net derivative exposure 7 times its risk-based capital, the highest among all federally chartered banks and seven times greater than Morgan Stanley?
* Why was it OK for the taxpayers to cover Goldman's counterparty risk with AIG derivatives?
* If Goldman and others are operating a rigged casino to fatten up partner and associate bonuses (total 2012 GS salary, bonus and perks spending was reported to be $13 billion, or about $400,000 per employee), then should the government ban proprietary trading?
* Have the hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivative products peddled by Goldman and others merely set the stage for a worldwide financial system meltdown when the Central Banks cannot stop future runs on the counterparties and banks?
These and other issues related to conflicts of interest, sleazy ethics and non-fiduciary conduct are of greater importance for reforming the financial services industry.Read more ›
Goldman Sachs (GS) had a storied and honorable tradition. Things changed during Smith's 12-year tenure. GS's corporate culture now reflects the corruption and cynicism of our society, only on a scale defying imagination.
Be warned that the author, in my view, is not a natural storyteller. It's easier to stay with a story when the characters are brought to life. My review is based on the audible version which is unabridged and narrated by the author. I always appreciate it when the author is the narrator. Smith's personal style is that he doesn't speak with a lot of passion.
Smith started as a competitive academic high-performer when he was 21-years old in 2000. He describes the selection process as if coaching college students to make the cut with big-name firms. Candidates get subjected to extreme pressure and embarrassment. Smith later learned GS did this to assess candidates for integrity, as it's tempting to make stuff up under pressure in an effort to save face. Despite the state of the stock market at the time with the dot-com crash under way, those were idealistic and innocent times compared to now. In some respects, Smith's book is sincerely flattering to GS.
I feel that Smith's turning point came when his best friend Lex asked one simple question. Lex was concerned about Congress passing TARP and bailing out Goldman Sachs along with other elite firms. Lex asked, "What about the other people whose 401Ks are getting decimated.Read more ›
The book does not try to explain the complexities of financial instruments, but Smith does enough explaining to tell his story. A few reviews have complained that Smith is writing to trumpet his own success, but really it's necessary to understand his positive experiences, so that we can appreciate the enormous decision he makes to leave.
The book left me asking--was banking always corrupt, and he was just too young and naive to see it? Or is there something in our modern culture that has degraded standards and ethics, so that behavior once considered unacceptable and shameful is now tolerated for the sake of short-term profit?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A sad story about a business described as once being guided by the principle of aligning one's self with the client that has descended into pitting yourself against the client. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Richard
It is a fun book to read. Hope to hear from Greg Smith soon.Published 2 months ago by Oscar Hernandez
A well written book but hardly anything unknown within the banking world. A well hyped book indeed. If anyone was interested in actual inside knowledge of a trading industry and... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Rachel
I'd recommend the 1st half of this book to any college students that are going to apply for an internship or job soon in any white collar industry. Read more
So easy to understand for a stock market ignorant person.
I am so PROUD that Greg did the right thing and followed his gut feeling against all... Read more
Mr. Smith cheerfully and deftly communicates his journey of high-finance disillusionment from his nerve-wracking internship on a pre-9/11 Wall Street to the vice-president... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Will Thompson
Great read - noble guy who left a ton of money behind (granted he already made a ton) b/c he no longer believed in what he was doing. Read morePublished 5 months ago by MS
As someone who is entering the field of Finance, this book has been an amazing read. I know things have changed drastically in the investment banking industry, By reading Greg... Read morePublished 7 months ago by jeremy v.