Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chasing Goldman Sachs: How the Masters of the Universe Melted Wall Street Down . . . And Why They'll Take Us to the Brink Again

From Booklist
Business journalist McGee paints Wall Street as a utility with capital flowing through the system like an electric power grid, noting why it almost failed. She describes the pressure on the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 to bail out Wall Street firms, why Wall Street was called an “abstraction,” and how Wall Street morphed from an intermediary (raising capital) into a casino. Goldman Sachs was the master of its universe, generating average return on equity of 25.4 percent in the decade before the financial crisis, compared with 15 percent annually for four other firms during the same period. Other firms' CEOs chased Goldman Sachs, considering it their model for boosting their own personal wealth and keeping shareholders happy. The author reports, “When left to their own devices, financial services firms . . . will focus almost monomaniacally on what is in their own best interest, seeking out ways to take earn sichigher returns and recruit top talent by paying the most lavish bonuses and offering the most enticing perks. . . . They cannot help themselves.” Excellent book. --Mary Whaley

"...masterful...exceptionally lucid, well-written"--Washington Post

“…must-read on the venerable Wall Street firm [Goldman Sachs].”— Dow Jones’ FINS

“A disturbing account of how Goldman Sachs Group Inc. became a seductively successful Pied Piper, luring rival banks down a path to destruction.”— Bloomberg

“McGee’s book is full of entertaining and enlightening material.” — Financial Times

“McGee has taken it upon herself to make the case less through assertion or argument than through anecdote and appeal to authority.” — New York Times Book Review

“…a great look at a current event for the general reader.”— Library Journal

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