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Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World
 
 

Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World [Kindle Edition]

William D. Cohan
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Review

Exhaustive, revelatory...engrossing...Cohan...is...a sympathetic listener, at his best once he has found a few people on the inside to pump for gossip....Such insights make Money and Power the most penetrating of the three major attempts to tell the Goldman story....Cohan revels in a good bust-up. (John Gapper Financial Times )

Cohan offers the most human portrayal of the firm yet...Seems destined to be a runaway bestseller. Such is the wonder of Goldman Sachs. (Ian McGugan Bloomberg Businessweek )

[An] imposing history...Cohan evinces an eye for telling images and an ear for deadpan quotations...brings the bank's sometimes "schizophrenic" behavior to vivid life. (James Pressley Bloomberg News )

[Cohan's] technique combines mastery of financial detail with extensive use of quotes to catch the authentic Wall Street voice... Cohan has done a comprehensive and highly professional job (Martin Vander Weyer Literary Review )

A rollercoaster account of how Goldman Sachs does business, and the best analysis yet of its increasingly tangled web of conflicts, by a master-storyteller (The Economist Books of the Year 2011 )

Product Description

When, in late 2008, the dust finally started to settle on one of the worst financial crises in history, only one Wall Street institution still stood virtually unassailed - Goldman Sachs. Why did Goldman survive, and even flourish, when so many of its peers were collapsing around them? Were the Goldman professionals simply the 'smartest guys in the room', the elite of the elite? Or was there more at work than simply the magic of 'The Goldman Way'?



In Money and Power William D Cohan peers behind the curtain to give us the inside story of why Goldman is so profitable, and so powerful. His behind-the-scenes account shows how, buttressed by the most aggressive and sophisticated PR machine in the financial industry, Goldman Sachs has continually projected an image of being superior to its competitors - smarter, more collegial, more ethical, more client-focused. But Cohan also reveals another way of viewing Goldman - as a secretive money-making machine that has walked an uneasy line between conflict-of-interest and legitimate deal-making for decades; a firm that has assiduously cultivated power and exerted its influence over government (to the extent that Sidney Weinberg, who ran the firm for nearly forty years, advised presidents from Roosevelt to Kennedy and was nicknamed 'The Politician'); a company kept in line by former CIA operatives and private investigators; a workplace rife with brutal power struggles.



William Cohan is the first author to chronicle and to interview the leaders of Goldman Sachs since the 2008 crash, and has gained unprecedented access to the firm's inner circle. Every living former chief executive of Goldman Sachs has spoken to him, as well as its current chairman and CEO, Lloyd Blankfein. Money and Power is the most penetrating study yet of these larger-than-life characters and their secretive world: the 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Try to get past the snake on the cover and the subtitle - there's nothing lazy or simplistic about this book. It's an amazingly complete look at an institution that says an awful lot about modern capitalism and how we got into this mess.

The most striking thing about the book is how much of it there is - almost 700 pages in the print edition. Mr Cohan has done a lot of research, interviewed an awful lot of people and come up with a lot of new facts. It's not for the faint-hearted - as a finance nerd I enjoyed reading for hours on how Goldman turned the subprime situation from a disaster to the foundation of global financial dominance, but many will have less patience.

The first half of the book covers the earlier history of the bank, and I'll confess I skimmed some of this. Mr Cohan uses this to build up to the central theme of what makes Goldman different from other banks; then, covering the period from 1998 on, the story changes gear and it becomes clear what we're hearing is based on verbatim accounts from interviews (and a lot of material that was subpeonaed by the US Congress).

Crucially, Mr Cohan has the skill to appreciate two things - in my experience it's rare for people to get both : just how good Goldman Sachs are at what they do; and just how few people outside the bank benefit from what they do. There's something deeply depressing about the maths genius (who found the Math Olympiad "laughably easy") who now spends his days building models to help good traders exploit suckers. Mr Cohan's refusal to follow the cheap sneer route makes the book actually all the more damning about our financial system.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a class of its own 4 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover
This is a great book. Following William D Cohan's The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co.: The Secret History of Lazard Freres & Co. and House of Cards: How Wall Street's Gamblers Broke Capitalism on the crash on Wall Street I am not at all surprised that he has decided to publish an unauthorised history on Wall Street's enfant terrible, Goldman Sachs (GS). And he does an excellent job. In 2008, Charles D. Ellis published The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs and whilst that is also a rather good book, I must admit that I prefer Cohan's writing style over that of Ellis.

About the first favour you can do yourself when you spot this book is to ignore the snake on the cover and the second title. I suppose they are there for marketing purpose but they confuse the issue. Once you have read the first 50-odd pages you are beginning to understand what a tremendous amount of research must have gone into the book.

Cohan tells the history of GS from its beginnings in 1869 and although it is a well-told story the more interesting period for me personally were the 1980s right up to now.
It seems that GS never really had any succession problems until the time Robert Rubin decided to join the Clinton Administration; every succession after that appeared to involve a lot of infighting. That's at least the impression the author left me with.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Money and Power 1 Jun 2012
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Whether you think Goldman Sachs is "doing "God's work" or acting like a money-sucking "vampire squid," William D. Cohan, a journalist and former investment banker, will challenge your opinion with his sweeping history of the vaunted Wall Street firm. From its beginnings in the 19th century to its dominance in the 20th and its slight ebb in the 21st, Goldman Sachs presents a fascinating case study of the talent, determination and hubris that informs Wall Street. Cohan compiles top reporting with interviews with Goldman's current and former leaders, and with insiders, outsiders, pundits and critics, to present a detailed, sometimes tedious but usually riveting look at the complex, secretive company. getAbstract recommends this history to those compelled by the enigma that is Goldman Sachs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By edward
Format:Kindle Edition
Its bit long and could have edited down bit to make it a sharper read also would mean that more people actually read this book as would imagine has low full read rate because needlessly long.

its interesting reading about these coperate employees the amognst the highest paid employees about.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a great book for every financial job 15 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book about an amazing company. I have read two other books about GS and this is superior in terms of (i) comprehensive coverage of the firm's history, (ii) balanced and yet undiluted accounts of the bad behaviours in the firm's history and (iii) clear description of the firm's culture, its evolution and the personalities that shape it from the founding family, Sydney Weinberg, all the leaders up to the current CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
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