In this history of investment bank Goldman Sachs, Ellis (Winning the Loser's Game) covers the same ground as Lisa Endlich's Goldman Sachs: The Culture of Success-with notable stylistic differences. From Marcus Goldman's purchase of his first commercial paper in 1869 to the firm's current success, Ellis's account is lively and engaging where Endlich's is accurate but dry. Ellis sheds light on events through dialogue and detailed descriptions of people's thoughts and feelings, embellishments that the author terms "recreations" in his epilogue. The effect of infusing such narrative techniques into the history of Goldman Sachs is entertaining, but it pushes the envelope of nonfiction, especially since the author appears to have interviewed only former partners of the firm. More damagingly, Ellis fails to report much about actual business, and attempts to do so-such as a chapter on Rockefeller Center financing-require lengthy digressions and are incomprehensible due to the complexities of the transactions. Without links to business, boardroom conflicts take on the air of petty squabbles. More a composite memoir of senior Goldman partners than a traditional history, this book will satisfy readers curious about the philosophies and personalities of the firm. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Partnership: A History of Goldman Sachsby Charles D. Ellis
Goldman Sachs is the most profitable and powerful investment bank in the world today. Fifty years ago it was a marginal family firm with limited prospects. How did it ascend to/b>/i>
With unparalleled access to the firm's enigmatic leadership, The Partnership chronicles the brilliant, men who built one of the world's largest investment banks.
Goldman Sachs is the most profitable and powerful investment bank in the world today. Fifty years ago it was a marginal family firm with limited prospects. How did it ascend to leadership in Europe, Asia, North and South America; make many, many partners fabulous fortunes; and become the leader in IPOs, M&A, FX, bond dealing, stockbrokerage, derivatives, hedge funds, private equity, and real estate?
As a strategy consultant to Goldman Sachs for more than thirty years, Charles D. Ellis developed close relationships with many of the firm's past and present leaders around the world. In The Partnership he probes deeply into the most important chapters in the firm's history, revealing the key events and decisions that tell the colorful, character-driven story of how Goldman Sachs became what it is today.
Ellis tells the illuminating stories of the great personalities who sowed the seeds of Goldman Sachs's success: from Sidney Weinberg, a junior high school drop out with a flair for markets; to Gus Levy, who brought a ferocious intensity to every minute of every workday; to John Whitehead, who wrote the core values that defined a culture of teamwork in serving clients; to the unpretentious John Weinberg, who was the quintessential relationship banker of his era; to Robert Rubin and Hank Paulson, who both became secretary of the treasury; to Governor Jon Corzine; and finally to current CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein.
Starting as a sole proprietorship dealingin commercial paper in the mid-nineteenth century, Goldman Sachs became an innovative underwriter; struggled to survive the crash and Depression, and came out of World War II to complete what was then the single most important transaction in Wall Street's history: Ford Motor Company's IPO. Goldman Sachs overcame a full set of dramatic perils: Penn Central's bankruptcy, Robert Maxwell's abusive frauds, and insider trading scandals. Ellis demonstrates how the firm's core values, intensive recruiting, entrepreneurial creativity, and disciplined risk taking-incorporating technology and hard work-laid the foundations, multiplied the firm's resources and profits, and magnified its power until it became today's Goldman Sachs: one of the most successful business organizations in the world.
Ellis, an author and former financial consultant, tells the story of how Goldman Sachs evolved from a sole proprietorship in the 1870s to today's global financial juggernaut. He works in profiles of dozens of the company's leaders, humorous anecdotes, and riveting details of financial crises. He tells how the firm has managed to meld teamwork with competition, a caring culture with high work standards, and making a profit with upholding its reputation. Always focused on recruiting the best people, Goldman Sachs, he explains, has used its intellectual capital to find and exploit widely divergent financial opportunities. From investment banking to arbitrage, from asset management to proprietary trading, it has cultivated success. While Ellis does not ignore some of the firm's unsavory episodes (e.g., insider trading accusations or its dalliance with the late master manipulator Robert Maxwell), he presents the accomplishments of Goldman Sachs as generally praiseworthy. His work is both an insightful company history and an enlightening view of the financial services industry. It is essential for all academic and larger public library business collections.
- Viking Penguin
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Meet the Author
Charles D. Ellis is a consultant to large institutional investors and government agencies. For thirty years he was managing partner of Greenwich Associates, an international business strategy consulting firm he founded that serves virtually all the leading financial service organizations around the world. Ellis earned his M.B.A. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from New York University. He has taught investment management courses at Harvard and Yale, and is the author of twelve books. Ellis has served on the boards of Harvard Business School and Phillips Exeter Academy and is currently chairman of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, a trustee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a director of Vanguard, and a trustee and chair of the investment committee at Yale University.
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