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

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  481 ratings  ·  34 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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Nick Black
Jul 02, 2010 Nick Black rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
Ian Robertson
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
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
Tobias Barker
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
Great history on Goldman Sachs, lots of behind the scene stories
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
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
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
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
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
Julian Bu
not his best book. showed a surprisingly total lack of perspectives of outsiders and competitors on the firm.
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
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.
Ian Billick
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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

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
Great start to finish. Starting from the late 1800s and going through the financial crisis.
John Hibbs
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.
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.
Cramer Williams
Oct 22, 2009 Cramer Williams rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who would like to read more about the history of this firm and Wall Street
An intriguing and informative look into the history of Goldman Sachs and those who worked to not only build their own companies but to build up world markets.
David Glad
Reads like a case study of a company that fairly often loses its purpose -- sometimes at its own peril, in addition to everyone else's.
The book is great, but a little slow. I suggest one should read it only in his vacations.
Good book if you are interviewing for a job at GS. Complex and long otherwise
It's the "updated and revised" version, and so far, is rather entertaining.
Long, but interesting. Goldman Sachs is the Apple Inc of the financial world.
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