Greg Smith is a former midlevel executive and trader for Goldman Sachs who famously resigned in March with an Op-Ed in the New York Times decrying the “toxic culture” of the firm after having worked there for a decade. On Monday he is releasing a tell-all book about his time at Goldman Sachs titled “Why I Left Goldman Sachs.” Here’s what you need to know.
1. Greg Smith Will Appear On 60 Minutes Tomorrow
Greg Smith is kicking off a week-long media blitz to promote the book on 60 Minutes tomorrow. He’ll be discussing his resignation. He tells them that he didn’t betray Goldman Sachs. Check out the preview above.
2. Greg Smith Got Paid $1.5 Million For The Book
Smith won’t have to worry about burning bridges, though. As much as his actions have angered people at Goldman Sachs and in the financial world, he got himself the tidy sum of $1.5 million to do it. And if the level of interest in the already leaked portions of the book are any gauge, he’ll end up making a lot more than that.
3. Goldman Sachs Execs Are Relieved
The executives at Goldman Sachs may have been angry at the initial Op-Ed and nervous as the book approached, but as the book has leaked much of that has subsided. That’s because there’s not really much in the book that is particularly damaging. The most damning passages are things that were already brought up in the Op-Ed. Maybe the book should have stayed an article. It’s not only Wall Street titans that don’t see anything of worth in the book. The New York Times review is headlined “A Tell-All on Goldman Has Little Worth Telling.” Ouch.
That said, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything worthwhile in the book. There’s just a lot more of the silly, such as …
4. He Saw Lloyd Blankfein Naked
Lloyd Blankfein is the chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. In the book, Smith recalls a moment where he saw Mr. Blankfein completely nude after a shower at the gym. He was “air-drying.”
5. Goldman Claims Greg Smith Left Because He Wanted More Money
Goldman is claiming that contrary to Smith’s self-created image at a man of conscience and a whistleblower, he’s actually just holding a grudge because he didn’t get the promotion and raise he wanted. Indeed, Smith did request a a raise in his salary to $1 million and a promotion managing director in the weeks before he left. And has admitted to frustration with his salary being stagnant at $500,000, which is not a particularly sympathetic number.
In addition, Smith did not show any problems with the so-called “toxic culture” of Goldman Sachs until just before he left. In his most recent performance reviews he gave his colleagues the highest score possible for “culture and values.” His book also spends a lot of time lavishing loving detail on his life as a member of the wealthy elite. He discusses his love of designer suits and “sashimi at 3,000 feet.”
6. Goldman Caused Chaos In European Banks
This may be the single most damning revelation in the book, if it turns out to be true. According to Smith, During the European debt crisis, Goldman Sachs would advise clients to buy or sell options on European banks and then take the opposite side of the trade. The end result was jerking around European banking stocks, creating more chaos in the market, which they’d profit off of, all while making more money advising governments how to get out of the mess.
7. Illegal Drugs Bad, Alcohol Good
Smith spends large portions of his book discussing the partying lifestyle he enjoyed at Goldman Sachs. However, while “getting smashed” is a common and seemingly encourage event, illegal drugs are seriously frowned upon. Illegal drugs are “regarded with a certain horror” because they represent a lack of discipline.
8. Goldman Internships Are Rough … Or Are They?
The book follows Smith’s life and career at Goldman Sachs more than attempting actually be any kind exposé. One of the things he covers is his time at as an intern. He makes he sound tough, with regular grillings and dress downs that at least on one occasion reduced a fellow intern to tears, and gopher-esque tasks determining worthiness.
The problem is, at worst it sounds like rather light, if obnoxious hazing, and nothing too terrible. The other problem is that Smith’s fellow interns (at least the ones who would speak on record) deny his account of events. They claim to have all enjoyed their internships, even if they were rather rigorous.
9. Omelets Are Very Popular At Goldman
Apparently the cafeteria at Goldman Sachs is a mad house. Smith tells a story of employees knocking each other over to get to the omelet station. The cafeteria had to begin offering discounts to get people to eat either before or after the omelet bar massacres.
The accusation that Smith actually had evidence for is also the one that was made famous in his original Op-Ed. That is, Goldman Sachs employees referring to their clients as muppets, which is slang for a fool or an idiot. He claims they would mock and laugh at their own clients while tricking them into bad deals that would make the firm more money. That Goldman harms its own clients has certainly been the most devastating claim of this whole ordeal.