In the book, he expands on his theme that the storied Wall Street firm is stuffed with monumental egos out solely for themselves. But according to Dealbreaker, Smith, whose New York Times Op-ed turned memoir was published last week, has a passage in his book that was apparently lifted nearly verbatim from a July, 2011 Bloomberg piece about Goldman president Gary Cohn.
Smith: “Gary had a very distinctive signature move, one he had become famous for within the firm; I must have seen it ten or fifteen times in action. It didn’t matter if the person he was talking to was male or female; he would walk up to the salesman or saleswoman, hike up one leg, plant his foot on the person’s desk, his thigh close to the employee’s face, and ask how markets were doing. Gary was physically commanding, and the move could have been interpreted as a very primal, alpha-male gesture. I think he just thought it was comfortable.”
Bloomberg: Cohn, 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, can be intimidating, two former colleagues said. He would sometimes hike up one leg, plant his foot on a trader’s desk, his thigh close to the employee’s face, and ask how markets were doing, they said.
Smith’s agent, Paul Fedorko, at N.S. Bienstock, did not return an email from ABC News. Bloomberg News spokesperson Megan Womack declined to comment.
But in an email to ABC News, Jimmy Franco, a spokesperson for Grand Central Publishing, said “The passage in question refers to an inconsequential fragment of one sentence in a 300-page book. It is unfortunate that some are paying attention to gotcha-type attacks instead of examining the very real issues Greg raises in his book.”
Reviews of the book, for which Smith got a reported $1.5 million, have been less than stellar. New York Times writer Andrew Ross Sorkin, author of Too Big to Fail, said, “It’s actually not badly written. It’s just…boring. It reads like a diary. It doesn’t say anything particularly revelatory about anything.”
William D. Cohan, who wrote “Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World,” said Smith “conned” the Times, the publishing company and CBS’ “60 Minutes,” which aired an interview with Smith last week. “He conned everyone into thinking that there was an untold narrative on Wall Street about how someone could be so offended by the behavior at these firms that he would up and quit, leaving behind untold millions in potential compensation, in the hope of making everyone understand how badly things need to be reformed,” said Cohan, whose wife is the editor-in-chief of Grand Central Publishing.
James Stewart, in the New York Times, noted that “The book not only fails to deliver concrete examples to back up his sweeping conclusions, but he admits changing “names or descriptors” for some (but not all) people and acknowledges that what he does disclose is “from memory.”
A review the Wall Street Journal said that the book “presents itself as an exposé, it is really a typical Wall Street memoir, in which the author wistfully recounts his youthful exploits and trading-floor antics before haranguing others not to follow in his footsteps. ”
Smith, for his part, told Bloomberg TV that the nine pages of work-related documents about him that Goldman Sachs had given the media, were missing his positive reviews, and that Goldman had violated his privacy by making them public.
What are people at Goldman thinking? Are they thinking ‘Is this going to be leaked out to the public?’” Smith, 33, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.”
The company should have “released all of my reviews from my entire career and read them out on air,” Smith continued. “I’m disappointed that instead of shooting the messenger that Goldman Sachs doesn’t address the issues.”
In an email to ABC News, Goldman spokesperson Andrew Williams said that all performance reviews and comments “are kept in strictest confidence. Our people can and do rely on the confidentiality of that process,” he added.
As for Smith’s allegations that the company invaded his privacy, Williams insisted that Goldman “did not release the text of his reviews.”
Williams said in a statement last week that that the company takes “any issues raised by our employees seriously. In this case, we conducted a detailed review of Mr. Smith’s claims, found no evidence to support them, and found nothing to suggest that he raised these issues before he was already heading out the door.”