26 April 2013

Two great new (ish) bios!

1. Why I Left Goldman Sachs – Memoir by Greg Smith

Greg Smith is the author of the financial world’s most well-read breakup letter. You probably read it: the New York Times op-ed that Greg used to resign from Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs, where he claimed the culture was "toxic and destructive". 

(If you didn't, it's called 'Why I Am leaving Goldman Sachs' and you can read it here.)

The book is Why I Left Goldman Sachs, and it’s fascinating. Greg takes us on his personal 12-year journey through the firm, unpacking the sins of the world's most powerful bank (from letting clients place mistaken orders that net GS millions to switching its recommendations about whether to buy or sell options on European banks in the middle of the European debt crisis.) I loved every minute of reading it.

Disclosure: Greg Smith is a distant cousin of mine, by marriage. He's also a seriously good guy. And I really liked his book, which is well-written, interesting and hugely insightful for readers who know the markets well or who can't distinguish between a hedge fund and a hedgehog.

2. Jane Raphaely Unedited – Autobiography by Jane Raphaely

It’s frank. It’s funny. And it’s as much a slice of SA history as anything I’ve read lately. Jane Raphaely Unedited is also a recipe for success, especially if you love your career almost as much as you love your children. 

Chairman of leading media company Associated Magazines and publisher of famous titles O, The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan, Jane tells the story of her underprivileged early life in Stockport, England, and her arrival in South Africa, where she became a feisty, eloquent thorn in the side of the verkrampte Publications Control Board. 

This book is, as another reviewer has said, “a rollicking adventure”.

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