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Jackson Martin
Jackson Martin

How Goldman Sachs Lost Its Soul: A Former Executive's Memoir

Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story PDF Download

If you are interested in the inner workings of Wall Street, the financial crisis of 2008, or the ethical challenges of banking, you might want to read Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story by Greg Smith. This book is a memoir of a former Goldman Sachs executive who resigned in 2012 after publishing a scathing op-ed in The New York Times, accusing the firm of betraying its clients and losing its moral compass. In this article, we will give you an overview of what the book is about, who the author is, why he left Goldman Sachs, and how you can download a PDF version of the book for free.

why i left goldman sachs a wall street story pdf download


What is the book about?

Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story is a personal account of Greg Smith's 12-year career at one of the most prestigious and powerful investment banks in the world. The book reveals how Smith rose from a humble intern to a vice president and head of the U.S. equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, managing billions of dollars of assets and earning millions in bonuses. The book also exposes how Smith became disillusioned with the firm's culture, which he claims had deteriorated from a client-focused and meritocratic environment to a greedy and ruthless one, where profit trumped everything else. The book culminates with Smith's decision to quit his job and write a public letter denouncing Goldman Sachs as a "toxic and destructive" place that had lost its way.

Who is the author?

Greg Smith was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1978. He moved to the U.S. to attend Stanford University, where he graduated with honors in economics. He joined Goldman Sachs as a summer intern in 2000 and was hired as a full-time analyst in 2001. He worked in various roles and locations, including New York, London, and Hong Kong. He was promoted to vice president in 2006 and became one of the youngest employees to hold that title. He was also selected as one of 10 people (out of more than 30,000) to appear on the cover of Goldman Sachs' annual report in 2009. He resigned from Goldman Sachs in March 2012 and published his op-ed in The New York Times on his last day.

Why did he leave Goldman Sachs?

Smith claims that he left Goldman Sachs because he could no longer tolerate the firm's unethical practices and culture. He says that he witnessed how the firm exploited its clients, misled them about the quality and suitability of its products, and traded against their interests. He also says that he saw how the firm rewarded those who generated the most revenue, regardless of how they did it or whom they hurt. He says that he felt betrayed by the firm's leadership, which had abandoned its core values and principles. He says that he wanted to make a difference by speaking out and exposing the truth.

Main Body

The rise and fall of a Wall Street star

How he joined Goldman Sachs

Smith describes how he was fascinated by Wall Street since he was a child, and how he dreamed of working at Goldman Sachs, which he regarded as the best and most respected firm in the industry. He recounts how he applied for a summer internship at Goldman Sachs after his junior year at Stanford, and how he impressed his interviewers with his intelligence, enthusiasm, and passion. He recalls how he felt when he received the offer letter, and how he prepared for his first day at the firm.

How he climbed the corporate ladder

Smith narrates how he worked hard, learned fast, and performed well at Goldman Sachs, earning the trust and respect of his colleagues, managers, and clients. He details how he moved from being an analyst in the equity derivatives desk in New York, to being an associate in the same desk in London, to being a vice president and head of the same business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He explains how he developed his skills, knowledge, and network, and how he contributed to the firm's success and reputation.

How he witnessed the culture change

Smith reveals how he observed a gradual but significant shift in Goldman Sachs' culture over the years, especially after the financial crisis of 2008. He claims that the firm became more aggressive, short-term oriented, and profit-driven, at the expense of its clients' interests and needs. He alleges that the firm started to sell complex and risky products that it did not fully understand or disclose to its clients, and that it sometimes bet against those products or its clients' positions. He accuses the firm of fostering a culture of dishonesty, arrogance, and greed, where employees were encouraged to rip off their clients and call them "muppets" behind their backs.

The moral dilemma of a banker

How he faced ethical conflicts

Smith recounts how he faced several ethical dilemmas during his career at Goldman Sachs, where he had to choose between doing what was right for his clients or what was profitable for his firm. He cites examples of how he refused to sell products that he deemed unsuitable or overpriced to his clients, even though he faced pressure from his superiors or peers. He also cites examples of how he advised his clients to avoid products that he knew were flawed or harmful, even though it meant losing revenue or market share for his firm.

How he tried to reform the system

Smith relates how he tried to change the system from within, by raising his concerns and suggestions to his managers and leaders. He says that he hoped that they would listen to him and take action to restore the firm's integrity and values. He says that he also tried to influence his colleagues and subordinates by setting an example of ethical behavior and client service. He says that he believed that he could make a positive impact by staying at Goldman Sachs and fighting for its improvement.

How he decided to quit

Smith explains how he ultimately decided to quit Goldman Sachs after realizing that his efforts were futile and that the firm was beyond redemption. He says that he reached a breaking point when he attended a meeting in February 2012, where his manager asked him to rank his clients based on how much money they could make for the firm, rather than how much value they could provide for them. He says that he felt disgusted by this request, which contradicted everything he stood for as a banker. He says that he decided to resign on the spot, and to write a public letter exposing the firm's malpractices and culture.

The aftermath and the message of the book

How he exposed the truth to the public

Smith recounts how he wrote his op-ed in The New York Times, titled "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs", on March 14, 2012, his last day at the firm. He says that he wanted to share his story with the world, and to warn potential clients, employees, and investors about the dangers of doing business with Goldman Sachs. He says that he also wanted to spark a debate about the role and responsibility of Wall Street in society, and to call for more transparency, accountability, and regulation in the financial industry.

How he faced backlash and criticism

Recommendations for readers

We recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about the inner workings of Wall Street, the financial crisis of 2008, or the ethical challenges of banking. We think that this book is informative, insightful, and engaging, as it gives a firsthand account of what it is like to work at one of the most powerful and influential institutions in the world. We also think that this book is inspiring, as it shows how one person can make a difference by standing up for what is right and speaking out against what is wrong.

Call to action

If you are intrigued by this book and want to read it for yourself, you can download a PDF version of it for free from this link: You can also buy a hardcover or paperback copy from Amazon or other online retailers. We hope that you enjoy reading this book and that you share your thoughts and opinions with us in the comments section below.


Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about the book:

  • Is this book based on a true story?

Yes, this book is based on a true story. It is a memoir of Greg Smith's 12-year career at Goldman Sachs, which ended with his resignation and op-ed in The New York Times in 2012.

  • How accurate is this book?

This book is based on Smith's personal experiences and observations, which may be subjective and biased. However, he claims that he has corroborated his facts and figures with official documents and records, and that he has verified his stories and anecdotes with other sources. He also says that he has used real names and dates whenever possible, and that he has changed them only when necessary to protect the privacy or safety of certain individuals.

  • How did Goldman Sachs react to this book?

Goldman Sachs reacted negatively to this book, as it did to Smith's op-ed. The firm issued a statement denying Smith's allegations and accusing him of being disgruntled and dishonest. The firm also launched an internal investigation to find out who Smith was referring to as "muppets" in his op-ed, but reportedly found no evidence of wrongdoing or misconduct.

  • What was the impact of this book?

This book had a significant impact on the public perception and reputation of Goldman Sachs and Wall Street in general. It sparked a lot of debate and discussion about the role and responsibility of financial institutions in society, and the need for more transparency, accountability, and regulation in the industry. It also inspired other whistleblowers and reformers to come forward and share their stories and views.

  • What are some other books similar to this book?

Some other books similar to this book are:

  • Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis: A humorous and cynical account of Lewis's experience as a bond salesman at Salomon Brothers in the 1980s.

  • The Big Short by Michael Lewis: A gripping and insightful account of how a few outsiders predicted and profited from the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008.

  • Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin: A comprehensive and dramatic account of how the U.S. government and Wall Street leaders tried to save the financial system from collapse in 2008.

  • The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort: A scandalous and outrageous memoir of Belfort's rise and fall as a stockbroker who defrauded millions of investors in the 1990s.


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