While Goldman Sachs has done a good job of staying out of the limelight in recent months, the revered and highly secretive bank is about to once again hit the spotlight. On October 22, Grand Central Publishing will release disgruntled former Goldman employee Greg Smith’s tell-all, "Why I Left Goldman Sachs."
Smith has been visibly bursting with things to tell about the bank: In his March op-ed in the New York Times, he spilled the beans about how Goldman’s managing directors referred to their own clients as “muppets” and were only interested in getting their clients to trade whatever would bring the biggest profit to Goldman.
As if his op-ed weren’t evidence enough that Smith couldn’t wait to divulge details about his managers, he penned his 288-page book in less than seven months.
Smith’s publisher, Grand Central, has planned a strong print run of 150,000 copies in hardcover and also expects to sell a sizable number of copies in e-book format, the Times reports.
If the public’s reaction to Smith’s op-ed is anything to go by, Grand Central has a winner on its hands: within 24 hours, the op-ed had more than three million views online, the NYT says.
In a statement, Jamie Raab, publisher of Grand Central, said: “Many people on Main Street distrust Wall Street right now, yet few can put their finger on why. Greg Smith’s candid account of his years at Goldman Sachs does just that.”
So will the book really shed light on the inner workings of Goldman?
Well, it looks like it might not be all that it's cracked up to be. The Times notes that according to people familiar with the contents of the book, it does “shine an unsavory spotlight on the ways of Wall Street,” but “it is not just a finger-wagging polemic.”
Instead, the book details Smith’s career at Goldman Sachs, from when he joined the firm as an intern during the dot-com boom to the gloomy days of the financial crisis.
Here is the book’s summary on Amazon: “From the shenanigans of his summer internship during the technology bubble to Las Vegas hot tubs and the excesses of the real estate boom; from the career lifeline he received from an N.F.L. Hall of Famer during the bear market to the day Warren Buffett came to save Goldman Sachs from extinction, Smith will take the reader on his personal journey through the firm, and bring us inside the world’s most powerful bank.”
Still, the Times reports that some of the people who met Smith when he was shopping his book around in March, have their doubts about whether the book will really pull some good punches.
For a start, Smith was a mid-level derivatives salesman who failed to become a managing director and had no one reporting to him. So could he really have known about Goldman’s inner workings?
Some observers are already claiming the book will be a ‘snooze fest’.
“He plans to include stories about interns hot tubing in Vegas at banking tech conferences. Gee sounds scandalous, if you’re Mormon. Zzzzzzz,” writes the website “Makin’Sense Babe,” which has the tag line, “The Money Site For Non-Finance People. Finance People are Annoying.”
Even more to the point is Josh Brown, aka @ReformedBroker on Twitter.
“Worst trade of 2012? Not the London Whale - the publisher who paid Greg Smith $1.5 mil for this,” he writes.
Watch this space for a review. Don't worry, if it really is a snooze fest, it will be nice and short.