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Books > Business & Money > Biography & History > Company Profiles > 038552384X
  1. Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World
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  2. Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (69 reviews)
    Price R953.00

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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.
Part of the answer is the firm's assiduous cultivation of people in power--dating back to 1913, when Henry Goldman advised the government on how the new Federal Reserve, designed to oversee Wall Street, should be constituted. Sidney Weinberg, who ran the firm for four decades, advised presidents from Roosevelt to Kennedy and was nicknamed "The Politician" for his behind-the-scenes friendships with government officials.  Goldman executives ran fundraising efforts for Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush.  The firm showered lucrative consulting or speaking fees on figures like Henry Kissinger and Lawrence Summers. Famously, and fatefully, two Goldman leaders-- Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson--became Secretaries of the Treasury, where their actions both before and during the financial crisis of 2008 became the stuff of controversy and conspiracy theories. 
Another major strand in the firm's DNA is its eagerness to deal on both sides of a transaction, eliding questions of conflict of interest by the mere assertion of their innate honesty and nobility, a refrain repeated many times in its history, most notoriously by current Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein's jesting assertion that he was doing "God's work."
As Michiko Kakutani's New York Times review of HOUSE OF CARDS said, "Cohan writes with an insider's knowledge of the workings of Wall Street, a reporter's investigative instincts and a natural storyteller's narrative command." In MONEY & POWER, Cohan has marshaled all these gifts in a powerful and definitive account of an institution whose public claims of virtue look very much like ruthlessness when exposed to the light of day.


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William D. Cohan
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

In his now famous - infamous? - Rolling Stone article Matt Taibbi refers to Goldman Sachs as a "...great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells of money." Cohan,whose earlier books gave you the inside scoop on Lazard Freres and Bear Stearns now turns his searchlight on Goldman Sachs, arguably one of the most powerful financial institutions that ever existed.

It is not really a Goldman "bashing" book but there is plenty of hard reporting that lead one to wonder how Goldman can get away with proclaiming itself to be a temple of team play and a firm where customer interests always come first. Team playing culture? Cohan gives you details about the unusually sharp knives that came out frequently in succession struggles from earlier days - Gus Levy clashing with Sid Weinberg - to more recent events - Hank Paulson ousting Jon Corzine - and paint a picture quite at variance with Goldman PR... Read more
The book is organized as a history, beginning with Marcus Goldman's arrival in Philadelphia and moveto New York. Cohan offers a convincing description of business in the era of the robber barons. Goldman of course was no robber baron - he was just a clever Jewish guy good at being the middleman - but his shrewdness in buying and selling commercial paper made him a wealthy man. The business also exposed him to the same kinds of moral dilemmas which face the business today. As an agent, did he have any responsibility for bogus promissory notes that he had brokered? It is similar to Goldman's much more recent problems with the ABACUS transactions in the housing meltdown.

The history of Goldman Sachs is a history of strong personalities and extraordinary ability. The story that the author conveys is that Goldman's uniqueness is in its ability to raise up incredibly capable people and to bind them to the company with an unusual degree of loyalty. It has done this by establishing... Read more
It's fun to learn, and this book teaches. Cohen has a lively style, and his collection of stories and opinions about Goldman Sachs will keep you pressing on through this well-written 614-page book. You'll recognize many of the characters, and the brief bios of these alpha males force you to appreciate this select group of financial wizards.

The reporting captures the spirit of Goldman Sachs, warts and all, and there are many warts. You will come away with a deep wariness of anyone offering to handle your money for you. You are often seen as the patsy for someone else's sales objective.

Cohen's effort would have been improved by editing. As is typical with historians, there is a tendency to include too much detail just because it has been collected and typed up. And there is sometimes a whiff of repetitiveness, e.g., praise for Goldman's core values. There are no pictures.

Those quibbles aside, Money and Power is a worthwhile read. Investors and... Read more
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