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The Partnership

The history of Goldman Sachs and its rise from Manhattan basement to ‘global juggernaut.’

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In the 139 years of its existence, Goldman Sachs has endured the Great Depression, the collapse of the high-tech hedge fund called Long Term Capital Management in the late 1990s, and, most recently, the crisis in world credit markets.

Charles Ellis, who for 30 years managed the international financial consulting firm Greenwich Associates, details the company’s rise from “marginal Eastern US commercial paper dealer” to “global juggernaut” in The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs.

Ellis convincingly demonstrates, using both humorous and sober anecdotes and well-researched analysis, that this path has been anything but linear.
Founded in 1869 by Marcus Goldman, a German-Jewish emigrant who came to Philadelphia in 1848, the firm originally specialized in the brokering of commercial paper. In 1882, the company became a family affair when son-in-law Samuel Sachs joined the firm.

Throughout this period, Ellis asserts, anti-Semitism was rampant in the investment world. Two of the leading financiers of the era, J.P. Morgan and George F. Baker (head of what is now Citigroup), would not deal with “Jewish companies.” So these companies turned to “Jewish firms,” such as Goldman Sachs.

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