From the best-selling, prize-winning author of The Last Tycoons and House of Cards, a revelatory history of Goldman Sachs, the most dominant, feared, and controversial investment bank in the world.
For much of its storied 142-year history, Goldman Sachs has projected an image of being better than its competitors - smarter, more collegial, more ethical, and far more profitable. The firm - buttressed by the most aggressive and sophisticated PR machine in the financial industry - often boasts of "The Goldman Way", a business model predicated on hiring the most talented people, indoctrinating them in a corporate culture where partners stifle their egos for the greater good, and honoring the "14 Principles", the first of which is "Our clients' interests always come first."
But there is another way of viewing Goldman - a secretive money-making machine that has straddled the line between conflict-of-interest and legitimate deal-making for decades; a firm that has exerted undue influence over government since the early part of the 20th century; a company composed of "cyborgs" who are kept in line by an internal "reputational risk department" staffed by former CIA operatives and private investigators; a workplace rife with brutal power struggles; a Wall Street titan whose clever bet against the mortgage market in 2007 - a bet not revealed to its clients - may have made the financial ruin of the Great Recession worse.
As William D. Cohan shows in his riveting chronicle of Goldman's rise to the summit of world capitalism, the firm has shown a remarkable ability to weather financial crises; congressional, federal and SEC investigations; and numerous lawsuits, all with its reputation and its enormous profits intact. Cohan has constructed a vivid narrative that looks behind the veil of secrecy to reveal how Goldman has become so profitable and so powerful.
©2011 William D. Cohan (P)2011 Random House