Photocopied excerpts of Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story the tell-all by former Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith, who quit the finance firm in a New York Times op-ed, have started making their way around Wall Street, before the book's official release on Monday. Considering the tone of his Times piece, where he accused Goldman of "callously ripping off clients" and called the company culture "morally bankrupt," the $1.5 million memoir promised to be full of juicy details covered in bitter au-jus. But from reading some of the excerpts the book sounds as underwhelming as DealBook's Andrew Ross Sorkin, who read the whole thing, made it seem on his CNBC appearance this morning. "It doesn’t say anything particularly revelatory about anything," he said, accusing Smith of conning The New York Times. That might be because the book doesn't have too many facts, as The New York Times's James B. Stewart notes. Don't trust them, below we've compiled the most shocking things out there so far.
A run in with a naked Lloyd Blankfien. Once Smith saw the Goldman Sachs CEO naked after showering at the gym. Blankfein was "air drying," as Smith puts it. [Deal Journal]
Drinking and naked women, but no drugs. What sounds like standard rich people partying, Smith describes a business trip to Las Vegas where he "spends some time" (whatever that means) with a topless woman named Ms. Silicone. He also says "getting smashed" was a common occurrence talking up various normal sounding parties, like one in which he DJs and plays (gasp!) Nelly and (gasp!) U2—at the same party (gasp!). He also discusses various other luxuries, like extravagant plane rides and fancy Ritz Carlton meals. But even with all the money flying around drugs are "severely frowned upon ... regarded with a certain horror." [Deal Journal]
Sexism! Confirming everything we've heard about the open objectification of women on Wall Street, this sadly does not come as a surprise. One employee called a female analyst "hot" right in front of him. "Holy crap!" Smith writes. "This guy is embarrassing himself, perhaps irreparably." [Deal Journal]
Intern grunt work. It happens, an excerpt: "One day he asked an intern for a cheddar cheese sandwich, and the kid came back with a cheddar cheesesalad. The kid handed it to him so proudly: “Here’s your cheddar cheese salad.” I was sitting next to the MD, so I remember the incident well. He opened the container, looked at the salad, looked up at the kid, closed the container, and threw it in the trash. It was a bit harsh, but it was also a teaching moment." Smith also describes daily coffee, breakfast, and lunch runs. We'd feel sad for these young bucks if they weren't making somewhere around $15,000 for 10 weeks work, when those unpaid interns do the same mindless tasks for no dollars. [Dealbreaker]
Uber-competitive ping pong matches. "The backstory of the annual Goldman Sachs Ping-Pong Tournament," begins Smiths telling. Basically it involves a lot of politics, in which Smith has to throw a match to let a client win. It's all very dramatic, or as dramatic as a table tennis tourney can get. [Dealbreaker]
Goldman taking advantage of clients to make money. Smith expands upon something he mentioned in his op-ed, which we have heard a lot about. How the investors at Goldman Sachs often worked for their own benefit "The client increasingly came to be regarded as a counterparty, merely the other side of a transaction, rather than an advisee," he writes. He calls these moments "morally ambiguous" when Goldman "made a bet in the other direction from the client's." [Huffington Post]
Bonuses are a big deal. "The day was known as Bonus Day, because for everybody above analyst status, the bonus was the Main Event, the big deal, the bulk of your compensation," he writes. Smith describes his disappointment when getting a mere $500,000 bonus as "being screwed."[Politico]
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