Ex-Goldman Sachs Banker Scores $1.5 Million Book Deal After His Resignation Via NY Times Op-Ed

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A scathing op-ed about Goldman Sachs by exiting executive Greg Smith netted him a stunning $1.5 million deal from Grand Central Books for a memoir about his time with the company.

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Smith, who ran a division of Goldman Sachs' derivatives business, resigned in spectacular fashion by penning a harsh piece in The New York Times that ran March 14. He criticized the company's greed and immorality, calling Goldman's culture "toxic and destructive." He said the only question that concerned junior analysts was how much money they made off their clients that day. "It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off."

Smith argued that Goldman had thrived for the previous 143 years of its history because it emphasized "teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility and always doing right by our clients." He warned that the company was in trouble if it did not embrace these classic values again.

The op-ed attracted the attention of publishers. The New York Post reported the bidding came down to Penguin and Grand Central parent Hachette Book Group. Smith was represented by Peter Fedorko at N.S. Bienstock.

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The book proposal is reportedly pitched as the coming-of-age tale of a young banker whose idealism is shattered by Goldman's singular focus on making money, even at the expense of its clients' best interests. Smith would mix this personal story with a history of Goldman Sachs and a look at how the firm's culture eroded during the past decade.

Some publishers compared the proposal to Michael Lewis' 1989 classic Liar’s Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street. Others worried about legal challenges from Goldman if Smith wrote a tell-all and about his ability to write a readable account of the notoriously complex world of derivatives.

No publication date was announced.

With the awards-season success of last year's Margin Call and the long-gestating Liar's Poker movie moving forward, Smith's project is likely to attract attention from Hollywood. No information on the possible sale of movie rights was available.

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