Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story

Why I Left Goldman Sachs A Wall Street Story On March 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 trendin

  • Title: Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story
  • Author: Greg Smith
  • ISBN: 9781455598861
  • Page: 481
  • Format: Paperback
  • On March 14, 2012, 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 BloombOn March 14, 2012, 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 1 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 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.

    731 Comment

    • Daniel Clausen says:

      I sometimes read business books as a way of getting a business education on the cheap. This is a book I picked up for 100 yen and decided to read on a whim. And what an investment! (No pun intended).I finished it in three days on the bus to work. The book is a fantastic read for anyone who is about to begin their career or who is interested in working in finance. The book is an honest and plainly written look at a career in the making. Though the book also tells the story of the decimation of Go [...]

    • Sean says:

      Reading this book evoked nostalgia for me. As a senior at Princeton I remember having received my offer from Goldman Sachs and not knowing what doors the opportunity would open but knowing full well that I would embark on the next phase of my journey with the firm. My pathway mirrored Greg Smith's in some ways - we both worked in the securities division - he in sales and I in trading. And many of the firm's characteristics I could relate to. And I recognize Greg's frustration. But Greg's frustra [...]

    • Yan says:

      This book is terrible. A quick summary would read like this:I did really, really good in school and got into Stanford.I did really, really well at Stanford and worked really, really hard and got an internship at GoldmanI worked really, really hard at Goldman and got promoted.I worked really, really hard at Goldman, aligned myself with the right people and got promoted again.I kept working really really hard and aligning my self with the right people, and I didn't really like where the industry w [...]

    • Louise says:

      While this is a story of a young man’s career in finance, it is also documentation of change in organizational culture in a premier American institution. It may be a representation of what happened on Wall Street in a brief 12 years.Greg Smith had served as a GS intern and was thrilled to be among those selected for employment. He described the extensive training program, the long days, the Open Meetings, his peer group, the dress code and licensing tests (& how he took his on Sept 11, 200 [...]

    • Nancy says:

      This was a thoughtful, honest, and engaging read about a world I don't know about, nor plan to know about intimately. Smith's story is clear and easy to understand for for financially illiterate people, which I very much appreciated. I think that this books requires an open mind in order for it to be appreciated. I looked at some of the negative reviews and those reviewers read this book with a predetermined hate for Wall Street, which defeats the purpose of the book. (In fact, those people are [...]

    • Kevin Reich says:

      I thought this was going to be a cynical account of Greg's time at Goldman and an expose of corruption, but it was a very insightful look into what made Goldman Sachs great, and how that got lost along the way. I detected no bitterness or anger, but mostly an almost idealistic longing for Goldman to return to the purer pre-IPO days.

    • Fred Forbes says:

      Evidently when my sister gifted me this book, she assumed I would be interested in the upper echelons of the financial services industry where Goldman Sachs has long reined supreme. Greg Smith tells of his years there and the change in their culture in his not so humble opinion, from trusted client servants to rapacious rip-off artists as the world went through the meltdown and turmoil of the great recession. I originally got into the financial services field 35 years ago when I discovered the C [...]

    • Philip Clark says:

      Sadly, it wasn't the schadenfreude cum finger-pointing telling all that everyone hoped for after readying Greg's blistering op-ed in the Times. Replete with useless anecdotes about his girlfriend, parties, etc the book ends up embodying the very thing that people dislike about Goldman and Wall Street: a highly privileged person sells you something that doesn't end up having the value you thought it would; you're left frustrated, and they make gobs of money.

    • Paul Sharpe says:

      First up, books like this are important. We need more insiders to come out and tell those of us on the outside what happened internally and why the markets crashed. We do need courageous people like this to speak out and explain to those of us deeply affected by the decisions of the elite few, exactly what happened and exactly how they managed to tank the markets and the economy in 2008. Also, they need to explain why we are still poised on the brink (with sovereign debt in the US and Europe sti [...]

    • Jill says:

      In March last year, Greg Smith published an article in the New York Times that outlined why he felt he could no longer work at Goldman Sachs. It went viral, becoming a trending topic on Twitter and there was even mention of it here in our own local newspaper. I remember it vividly because at the time I was deeply impressed - it is seldom that you see or hear of someone with this level of personal integrity. Smith’s article revealed the unsettling changes within his organisation, his growing di [...]

    • Matt says:

      Cautionary tale!

    • Jacques Estola says:

      "Experience shows that if we serve our clients well, our own success will follow. "Pumped me up at work.

    • Jack Oughton says:

      More fascinating insights into life inside one of the main drivers of the financial machine

    • Jon says:

      Having read Mr. Smith's NY Times Op-Ed, I looked forward to reading his experience in detail through this book. Unfortunately, I have been left ultimately disappointed as the book is light on details. No investigation as to where the turning point in the culture was, no explanation why he went along for the profitable ride for so long and how Goldman even justified its actions (could it?).That said, there are certain demographics who should pick up this book. The first are aspiring bankers and f [...]

    • Andrew says:

      Trying to learn, albeit later in life, what the world of investing is all about, I listened to Jack Bogle's Little Book of Common Sense on Investing -- twice. After that as introduction, I thought I'd give Greg Smith's audiobook a hearing as a follow-up. Why I Left Goldman Sachs turned out to be a very complementary companion read. The story is autobiographical, told by a gifted, recently graduated (Stanford, circa 2000), covering his 10+ years with GS. Smith is quite candid about both what insp [...]

    • Df says:

      I have read this book thoroughly three times and would like to premise my review by saying that I am interested personally in the success story of Goldman Sachs and the aura surrounding the firm. However, I have no personal connection with Greg Smith or his former employer. I have read so many reviews of the book where people state that Greg Smith "fails to provide specific examples" in the book. I want to address this comment only and the reviewers and interviewers that continually harp on abou [...]

    • Erwin says:

      Made it 75% of the way through, but this book was terrible Yan (another reviewer here) wrote:A quick summary would read like this:I did really, really good in school and got into Stanford.I did really, really well at Stanford and worked really, really hard and got an internship at GoldmanI worked really, really hard at Goldman and got promoted.I worked really, really hard at Goldman, aligned myself with the right people and got promoted again.I kept working really really hard and aligning my sel [...]

    • Madeline Roberts says:

      I enjoyed reading this fast-paced well-written book about Wall St. Something about which I know very little, the book has a glossary about Wall St. jargon and colloquialisms at the end. Although my work experience was in jewelry sales, and not derivatives, I understand his perspective about loving his job-- his loyalty to the company, the traveling and corporate culture, and THE annual Bonus. I had a very similar set up, so I can completely comprehend Greg Smith's conflicts. I appreciate Mr. Smi [...]

    • Utkarsh Kumar says:

      A great account of the author's (and the company's) journey as he joins GS as a Stanford graduate and climbs the rungs of corporate ladder, his fascination and awe of the GS culture and principles, and the eventual disillusionment as the company's and its people's fundamental priorities undergo a change. The narrative doesn't get boring at any point, I finished the book in couple of days. A great read for everybody who wishes to know more about the company.

    • Joyce Kirk says:

      I learned a lot about the world of high finance from this book and the pressures that people who work in that world face every day. How easy it must be to lose sight of what really matters in life. It's a fascinating tale of a change in organisational culture (for the worst) and the role of leaders in that process. For me it's a timely read with the proceedings against Fabrice Tourre getting under way and more revealing about what happened than any textbook could ever be.

    • Smohajer says:

      I enjoyed reading it. It all made sense. It's always hard to keep the right amount of regulations all the time. The Wall Street hates regulation. It always fights back. Politicians don't have the political will to push back; therefore, they always choose the path of least resistance, which means DEREGULATION. Without regulation, these monsters will get more and more vicious.

    • Sally Sarko says:

      He wrote an op-ed for the NYT that you could read instead if you want to jump to why he left. My favorite parts of the book were the details about Greg's relationships, childhood, day to day life etc.

    • thefword says:

      Written with such honesty, you won't need to hear the other side of the story. Thanks, Greg.

    • Sau Fei says:

      I grabbed Greg Smith’s "Why I left Goldman Sachs" book without much expectation. Admittedly, any book containing the word “Goldman’s Sachs” in the title would have grabbed people’s attention.I dove right into it expecting to read more about the nitty-gritty details about the upper echelon of one of the most prestigious names in the financial industry. Having read “Liar’s Pokers” by Michael Lewis before, I had expected to find scintillating details about the way these larger than [...]

    • Kuang Ting says:

      Whenever people hear someone is working in an investment bank (IB), they tend to feel awed towards these bankers. At least it works that way on myself. It's not to say I am not qualified for jobs in IB, but it means some respect for their fame or power. I study business in my college and postgraduate. IE seems always to be the top choice for everyone. When I read articles about career development, there are abundant contents about the glorious life in IB. I find it amusing many former IB bankers [...]

    • Juwon Park says:

      I chose this book because of the title . I thought it would be interesting because it would be more about the story of the author's life rather than mind numbing facts about economics. Turns out I was right.Anyhow, this book is about how the author, Greg Smith, a South African of Jewish heritage, went to America, got accepted to Goldman Sachs internship program, became a full time employee, rise up through the ranks, and suddenly, resign. The reason for this, as the author mentions, is that the [...]

    • Randall Russell says:

      Excellent! I agree entirely with the author's opinion that there are inherent conflicts between large corporations trying to make as much money as possible, versus trying to act in the best interests of their customers. Especially in the financial industry, with top-level managers being incentivized almost entirely on short-term monetary goals (like making the numbers for the quarter), and to which their bonuses are tied, there is a huge temptation for them to sacrifice the long-term interests o [...]

    • Robert Salisbury says:

      It might be everyone's dream to work for Goldman Sachs, but as this true account of a very bright young man prove, that all is not as it seems. From his struggle to enter the hallowed world of high finance to his progress through the company, we start to see the moral and intellectual dilemmas presented. Those gifted with clarity and acuity of vision, thirst for puzzles and challenges that can both tax and reward them. Goldman offered such. But the revelation of how callous and immoral the money [...]

    • Kunal says:

      This is a book I felt was something that I had to read given the amount of press it received, although most of the press it received was very negative. The book discusses Greg Smith’s entire career at Goldman Sachs, from summer intern all the way through to his days as Vice President and soon to be Director / MD. I will say right now that anyone who works in the industry, this book will be a waste of your time as all it does is walk through the life at a investment bank which we are all very f [...]

    • Vinash Gopalakrishnan says:

      The book provides for an account of GS's culture from an employee perspective. The book only reflects the industry direction to maximise profitability at any cost. It will be helpful to learn what bankers can do more to change the systemic flaw of the banking industry. Having articulated the poor culture of GS and sharing his perspective only reinforces the greed and dishonesty of the system. I like to see ex-bankers turned writers to explore lessons of his personal account to bring change in a [...]

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