An ‘Abhorrent’ Glimpse Inside Goldman Sachs
Business + Economy

An ‘Abhorrent’ Glimpse Inside Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs survived a naked Lloyd Blankfein. Can it survive a new tell-all book?

Brendan McDermid / Reuters

Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance and Excess in the World of Investment Banking is the prospective title of a provocative book to be published later this year about life inside Goldman Sachs, but don't expect any revelations provocative enough to do lasting damage to the investment bank everyone loves to hate. 

The book will be written under the pen name J.T. Stone, the anonymous Tweeter at the helm of the @GSElevator account. For the past three years, "Stone" has been Tweeting what he says are snippets of conversation overheard while riding the elevators at Goldman. Gems include the recent, "If your bachelor party revolves around a big steak dinner and a strip club, count me out; I did that last night," and the classics, “My garbage disposal eats better than 98% of the world,” and "Getting fired from Goldman is like being traded by the Yankees; you’ll probably still make millions, but it’s not the same.” @GSElevator has more than 600,000 followers.

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The book is set to go to print in October, and will be published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, one of publishing's "big four." The company is touting the book as “the definitive exposure of investment banking culture ... shedding new light on a world that is far more abhorrent, and yet way more entertaining, than people can imagine.”

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Goldman
Ever since the financial crash, Goldman Sachs has been going out of its way to clean up its tarnished image — like discouraging junior bankers from potentially working themselves to death — but it remains an easy and frequent target for haters. Ex-Goldman banker Greg Smith wrote a tell-all book in 2012, Why I Left Goldman Sachs, which was a follow-up to his blistering New York Times editorial addressing what he saw as the bank's deteriorating ethical culture. And recent revelations that Goldman was an investor in a Danish state-owned utility almost brought down the government due to public outcry. The storied American bank can’t shake its image as The Great Vampire Squid, as coined by Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi in his famous 2009 article on the bank.

Unfortunately for Goldman despisers, the bank is also still very good at what it does: making piles of money. It's generally accepted that Goldman attracts the best and the brightest of the financial world, who are then put to very profitable use. And while public opinion matters to some degree, in the end nothing matters as much for Goldman and its clients as bringing in the lucre. 

Related: A Kinder, Gentler Goldman Sachs?

No one knows exactly what revelations Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance and Excess in the World of Investment Banking might hold, but if Greg Smith's widely reported vision of a naked Lloyd Blankfein in the showers of the Goldman gym — as well as the worst financial crisis since 1929 — didn't bring the more than century old bank to its knees, it's likely elevator gossip won't either. But at the very least the book will probably be a fun read. 

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