Book in brief: Money and Power

Money and Power, by William D Cohan

Allen Lane, £25


When the dust settled on the financial crisis of 2008 only Goldman Sachs stood virtually unassailed. So how did it survive, and even flourish, when all around it collapsed, asks Wall Street veteran William D Cohan. Here is a brief synopsis of his argument:

1. For much of its storied 142-year history, Goldman Sachs has projected an image of being better than its competitors – smarter, more collegial, more ethical and far more profitable.

2. It prides itself on employing the best people and teaching them: “Our clients’ interests always come first.”

3. Another view is that this is a secretive money-making machine that has walked the line between conflict of interest and legitimate deal-making for decades.

4. Either way, it has shown a remarkable ability to weather financial crises, congressional, federal and SEC investigations and numerous lawsuits.

5. Part of the answer is the firm’s assiduous cultivation of people in power.

6. Another major strand is its eagerness to deal on both sides of a transaction.

7. Goldman’s success is based on ruthlessness.


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