Goldman book was not meant to be an expose: author

Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:52am EDT
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By David Dolan

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The former Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N: Quote) vice president who publicly accused the bank of taking advantage of unsuspecting clients said he never intended his book to be an expose of practices at the Wall Street firm.

Preliminary reviews of Greg Smith's "Why I Left Goldman Sachs," which hits bookstores on Monday, have been lackluster. Critics say the book contains few revelations, given that it had been hyped as a "tell all" look at the investment bank.

Smith, a native of South Africa, told Reuters in a phone interview on Sunday that his book was not meant to be a manual for change on Wall Street. Instead, he said he wanted to shine a light on what was wrong in investment banking and how ordinary people - not the super-wealthy - pay for it.

"People are looking for something sensationalist and expose-like," said Smith, who sold equity derivatives at Goldman. "I would like people to look at it in a thoughtful manner, with an objective sense that Wall Street has do to things that are right.

"I didn't write this book for Wall Street, I just wanted to give the Main Street people a window into what goes on, so they could make their own judgment."

Smith created a furor earlier this year when he resigned from Goldman, saying in a New York Times op-ed column that the firm had engendered a "toxic" culture of treating clients as "muppets" - slang in Britain for idiots - and relieving them of their money.

Smith then promised the book about the bank, building up expectations of new insights about the culture at Goldman.

Grand Central Publishing, a unit of Hachette, planned a print run of 150,000 copies for the book. That is considered a relatively big number for a first run, although many will also be sold through e-book formats.   Continued...

Traders work at the Goldman Sachs stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid