Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World – Book Salon Preview
Saturday, December 17, 2011, 5pm ET.
Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World
Chat with William D. Cohan about his new book, hosted by Jeff Madrick.
From the bestselling, 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 p.r. 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. By reading thousands of pages of government documents, court cases, SEC filings, Freedom of Information Act papers and other sources, and conducting over 100 interviews, including interviews with clients, competitors, regulators, current and former Goldman employees (including the six living men who have run Goldman), Cohan has constructed a vivid narrative that looks behind the veil of secrecy to reveal how Goldman has become so profitable, and so powerful.
William D. Cohan is the author of the New York Times bestsellers House of Cards and The Last Tycoons, which won the 2007 FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, has a bi-weekly opinion column in The New York Times, and writes frequently for The Financial Times, Fortune, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post, among other publications. A former investment banker, Cohan is a graduate of Duke University, Columbia University School of Journalism and the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. (Random House)