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The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs
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The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  679 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
The jury is still out on what the future of Goldman Sachs will look like, but no one can argue that the 139 year old firm has been (and, if Warren Buffett has his way, will be) the dominant investment banker and dealer on Wall Street. What does Buffett see that we on the outside do not? It’s all about the people.

Charles D. Ellis has written a landmark book that couldn’t c
Hardcover, 752 pages
Published October 7th 2008 by Penguin Press HC, The (first published 2008)
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May 03, 2010 Wayne rated it it was ok
This was one of the worst financial books I've ever read. The author spent so much time gushing over Goldman that I thought I was going to be sick. Also, he organized the book by subject or person instead of chronological order it was virtually impossible to follow the timing of events that affected the company. I did learn some of the background about the company which is the only reason I didn't give it the lowest rating
Ian Robertson
Dec 26, 2014 Ian Robertson rated it really liked it
Charles Ellis has written the definitive history of Goldman Sachs, relying on candid insight from dozens of the partnership's current and former leaders. In many ways the firm’s history parallels that of Wall Street, as Goldman Sachs (GS) was either a leader or near the forefront in the development of many practices: advisory services; trading desks, block trading, proprietary (prop) trading, private client services, prime brokerage, commodities trading, forex, hostile takeovers, and of course t ...more
Oct 16, 2012 Dnepro rated it did not like it
The sole purpose of the book is to glorify GS. It is especially amusing to read this book simultaneously with a history of any other bank (Citibank/Wriston in my case), compare and cut the BS. Even Greenspan's memoirs were more entertaining and informative. I did not learn anything about economy or finance from this book, again, Greenspan did much better in this respect. On the other hand what I've learned from the book is the fact that if you are not white English-speaking male with a law degre ...more
Apr 29, 2010 Doug rated it liked it
Shelves: business, nonfiction
The Economist this week has a great statement regarding GS: "When GS went public in 1999 its prospectus began: 'Our clients' interests always come first. Our experience shows that if we serve our clients well, our own success will follow.' Only the most naive investor read that as a commitment to go-goodery rather than calculated self-interest." Unfortunately, the book takes these platitudes at face value - when GS does something right, the book gushes about Goldman Values, but when ethical laps ...more
Nick Black
Jul 02, 2010 Nick Black rated it it was ok
Recommended to Nick by: Elizabeth Warren
Shelves: yuppie-bullshit
First 1/2 was pretty good, a nice Horatio Alger story with lots of American Jewish pride. The latter half -- and especially the egregious, miserable last fourth -- paid the price for the inside story. If I wanted a firm prospectus, I'd order one. Only in the Afterwards is it revealed -- though one has long suspected -- that Mr. Ellis did thirty years' work with Goldman. Kind of a fraud you've perpetrated on the reader, sir, I've got to say!
So I'm thinking I might go work for Goldman Sachs aft
Tobias Barker
May 08, 2014 Tobias Barker rated it it was amazing
A substantial read, but if you're interested in investing and the financial industry and / or understanding how to build a great Company & culture, this books has a plethora of insights and anecdotes from Goldman Sachs inception up until the midst of the most recent financial crisis.

Although I gained a lot of useful insights in the book, a few examples of what it demonstrated to me was:

Successful leadership and succession.

What it truly means to have a relentless work ethic, aka. 6am meetings
Mike Graber
Jun 29, 2009 Mike Graber rated it it was amazing
Great history on Goldman Sachs, lots of behind the scene stories
Masashi Tsutsumi
Sep 28, 2016 Masashi Tsutsumi rated it liked it
The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs is a worthwhile contribution to the history of Wall Street. A bit long and dry for casual readers, the book should be read by those with an interest in Goldman Sachs (new GS recruits, prospective GS partners, and those working for competitors), and by those with an interest in the development of investment banking and finance.

Although it was an interesting book to read, I didn't learn anything about Finance/Business. This book is only recommended to t
Feb 16, 2009 E rated it it was amazing
Fascinating history of the venerable investment house

Every great company invariably encounters crises that can cripple its growth or propel it to greatness. Goldman Sachs, the biggest name in investment banking, has survived, though other titans, such as Bear Stearns, have fallen. However, Goldman Sachs became a traditional bank holding company amid 2008’s tumult on Wall Street and is no longer an investment bank. Charles D. Ellis, a strategic consultant to Goldman Sachs and other financial fir
Apr 13, 2011 Marks54 rated it really liked it
This is a company history of Goldman Sachs written by a former consultant. It is long and comprehensive but holds ones attention well. At its worst, it comes across as a "company" history that might go easy on the firm. There is little talk about vampire squids here. However, it turns out that it is surprisingly informative and not without some real criticisms, especially of the more recent administrations. The high point of the book is how it actually explains how the business works - how the v ...more
Tim Basuino
Aug 20, 2015 Tim Basuino rated it liked it
I came into this book expecting a thorough history on one of America’s most renowned financial institutions, and one can’t argue that this is exactly what you get. The tome doesn’t spend a lot of time on its early history, moving on to some of the firm’s most notable characters rather quickly. At times it provides a good insiders’ view of the industry, at others it devolves into personal matters. I’ve read better, I’ve read worse…
May 29, 2016 Javier rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. The story of how Goldman Sachs from its humble beginnings in 1869 as an issuer of commercial paper run by a father-in-law and son-in-law's partnership grew to become one of the most powerful investment banking firms on Wall Street.

The book is full of situations where Goldman Sachs made a decision to leverage their customer relations to enter new businesses to grow the firm such as block trading, private wealth management, takeover defense, bond trading, M&A, investment b
Dec 29, 2012 Dmitry rated it it was amazing
Despite the length of the book, I enjoyed it tremendously. It is a great read with very deep insight into the formation of the company over the years and its evolution over the decades, generations, and changes in the marketplace. The most interesting part for me was the description of new market challenges and the approaches that the firm took to establish its leadership. The book was published prior to the unfolding of the financial crisis, with little discussion given to the development of th ...more
Mike Adeleke
Aug 30, 2016 Mike Adeleke rated it it was amazing
This book is an exhaustive history of Goldman Sachs from its rise in the late 19th century to its preeminence today as the worlds largest and most powerful investment bank.
Julian Bu
May 10, 2014 Julian Bu rated it it was ok
not his best book. showed a surprisingly total lack of perspectives of outsiders and competitors on the firm.
Aug 06, 2013 Kent rated it it was ok
The format of following people rather than chronology devolved into boring redundancy as each side of an event was told from each person's perspective. The premise is to tell the history as an outsider. Rarely did Ellis seem disconnected from the glorious story of Goldman Sachs. It seems that all of their "rainmakers" were ethical in all respects, always had the interests of their clients at heart, were financial geniuses and stellar performers in every way. An amazing bunch! I could not finish ...more
Ye Xie
Sep 28, 2016 Ye Xie rated it it was ok
Good anecdotes. Bad writing. The author should have teamed up with a stronger writer to write the book.
Apr 20, 2015 BLACK CAT rated it really liked it
Well written and entertaining biography of the partnership. Must read if you know or want to know the finance world from the Goldman Sachs perspective.
Jun 09, 2015 Bradley rated it it was ok
The book is an interesting background knowledge to Goldman Sachs, especially seeing the different leaders of GS and what traits they shared and what traits they didn't. However, each of these character assessments need to be taken with a grain of salt as the author is clearly biased to portraying Goldman Sachs in a positive light. If you are interested in understanding how they firm became so successful - from the perspective of the firm - then it's a fine read.
Ian Billick
Dec 06, 2011 Ian Billick rated it really liked it
Fascinating read and great look into world of finance. A bit overly detailed at times-- some passages written with a level of detail that is too much for general readership. Also seems a bit fawning at times-- clearly the author sacrificed distance/perspective for access. Hard to believe anyone would invest in Corzine if they had read the book-- he's clearly painted as someone who is playing fast and loose-- something that current events bears out.
Diane Paoni
Jan 21, 2011 Diane Paoni rated it really liked it
Goldman Sachs management has held an incredible number of high level, sometimes obscure, positions in the financial regulatory agencies of the US government under Clinton, Bush & Obama. Kind of a good idea to learn more about the firm. Might lead to some understanding of how the investment bankers seem to always land on their feet government regulation wise no matter even if they almost bring down the world financial system.
Phil Clamp
May 05, 2013 Phil Clamp rated it really liked it
Neat insights into the changes that have gone on over the past fifty years and interesting looks into the minds that have led the firm through the bad and the good. Felt a little glorified at times, but as a future employee I read this to familiarise myself more with the principles and history of the firm. For those purposes, it was an enjoyable read.
Christopher Benassi
Jun 04, 2013 Christopher Benassi rated it it was amazing
Great book. It was interesting to see how the industry dynamics changed over the last century and how GS was able to successfully adapt to those shifts. It was also very interesting to see how the culture was built from recruiting until partnership...extremely well researched and written.

This was a much more fluid read than "Capital"
Scott Chludzinski
May 18, 2011 Scott Chludzinski rated it really liked it
I would say this book is truly for those of us who are nerdy about Wall Street and its major players; i.e. would not recommend for the casual reader. There are some indications that the book is certainly written in a favorable light to GS, but that doesn't bother me. Overall I was happy to get a glimpse behind the curtain.
May 05, 2013 Clare rated it it was amazing
A very interesting book and an incredibly easy read. Whatever the angle it is written from, it certainly seemed to give me a sense of how GS was built (and some ideas that other organisations could pick up on) and how it continues to grow. The early history was fascinating as I really only know the "modern" GS.
Jun 29, 2010 Keith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this history of the Goldman Sachs story. WHile they are reviled today, the explanation of what they do and how they do it is much less sinister. Still it all comes down to making money from money. That is a bad thing, or not?? Arguments can be made both ways.
Michael Harris
Jun 05, 2012 Michael Harris rated it liked it

An APL Recycled Reads find. A detailed and sometimes slow read of the history of both the Firm and "financial engineering" as it has evolved through the years. Puts our financial mess in perspective because of the greed and personal ambition of many.
Mark Rose
Dec 31, 2013 Mark Rose rated it it was amazing
Great start to finish. Starting from the late 1800s and going through the financial crisis.
John Hibbs
Feb 15, 2009 John Hibbs rated it liked it
Details the history of Goldman Sachs. After one hundred pages, I found myself skimming. There were some interesting portions but reading about rich investment bankers was a yawning experience on the whole.
Oct 17, 2011 Marshall rated it it was ok
This book took me forever to read. It was hard not to fall asleep. Too many grammatical errors, and way WAY too much detail about stuff I don't think anybody cares about.
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Charles “Charley” D. Ellis (born 1937) is a leading American investment consultant. In 1972, Ellis founded Greenwich Associates, an international strategy consulting firm focused on financial institutions. Ellis is known for his philosophy of passive investing through index funds, as published in his book “Winning the Loser’s Game.”
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