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#253 Henry Goldman (Goldman Sachs)
June 22nd, 2022 | E253

What I learned from reading When Money Was In Fashion: Henry Goldman, Goldman Sachs, and the Founding of Wall Street by June Breton Fisher.


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[2:30] The Uses of Adversity by Malcolm Gladwell

[2:40] Business Breakdowns: Goldman Sachs: Fortune Favors The Old

[3:00] Men can learn from the past, and I've been shocked how little some of the younger executives in the present firm know about its origins. They don't even know that my grandfather, whose picture is on the wall there, founded the firm.

[3:46] My grandfather, Henry Goldman, was the son of a poor German immigrant named Marcus Goldman. Marcus Goldman is the founder of Goldman Sachs.

[5:45] Levi Strauss: The Man Who Gave Blue Jeans to the World by Lynn Downey (Founders #33)

[7:10] The job Marcus Goldman was grateful to have: Walking the streets peddling goods seven days a week. Working regardless of rain, or snow, or the humid summer heat.

[9:13] Henry had been slow learning to read. It was finally determined that the youngster suffered from astigmatism, and his chores in the shop were limited to fetching and carrying articles from the storeroom or fastening the shutters at closing time. His mother was convinced he would never succeed in a competitive world and was inclined to coddle and baby him. (The “slow learner” is the one that fuels much of Goldman Sachs growth!)

[12:03] At the time no qualifications or special training were needed to enter the banking business.

[13:36] Marcus was anxious to capitalize on every waking hour.

[14:19] Henry was an attentive listener who committed everything he heard to memory.

[18:40] Successful people listen. Those who don’t listen, don’t survive long. — Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby (Founders #212)

[25:12] This part about the Railroads reminded me of the Internet: As new businesses started up every day and the distribution of their goods was being revolutionized by the rapid spider webbing of railroads across the country, Henry was itching to get into the action.

[26:05] Goldman Sachs partners with Kleinwort Sons & Co 

[27:36] Founder: A Portrait of the First Rothschild by Amos Elon. (Founders #197) and The House of Rothschild: Money's Prophets by Niall Ferguson. (Founders #198)

[30:01] David Ogilvy’s idea that The Good Ones Know More: First, you must be ambitious. Set yourself to becoming the best-informed man in the agency on the account to which you are assigned. If, for example, it is a gasoline account, read text books on the chemistry, geology and distribution of petroleum products. Read all the trade journals in the field. Read all the research reports and marketing plans that your agency has ever written on the product.

Spend Saturday mornings in service stations, pumping gasoline and talking to motorists. Visit your client's refineries and research  laboratories. Study the advertising of his competitors. At the end of your second year, you will know more about gasoline than your boss; you will then be ready to succeed him. Most of the young men in agencies are too lazy to do this kind of homework. They remain permanently superficial. — Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy. (Founders #89)

[30:23] The best talk on YouTube: Runnin' Down a Dream: How to Succeed and Thrive in a Career You Love by Bill Gurley

[32:28] Jacob Schiff was fascinated by railroad development in all its ramifications and became determined that his firm would dominate the field. There was not a facet of railroad investment or operation that he did not carry in his head.

[34:30] Learn more about Standard Oil: Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean by Les Standiford. (Founders #247)  Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller by Ron Chernow. (Founders #248)

[39:18] Markets can turn on a dime. —Risk Game: Self Portrait of an Entrepreneur by Francis Greenburger (Founders #243)

[40:12] The greatest entrepreneurs that have ever lived optimized for survival.

[44:22] Henry’s motto: Money is always in fashion.

[45:08] The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst by David Nasaw. (Founders #145)

[54:00] But he held no sympathy for them. They had relied on the decisions of others, which he himself would never have done.

[54:13] Henry shared the regret that he had never developed greater rapport with his children. He thought of his inability to “noodle" with them, to express approval, to overlook their minor slips, to embrace them and say, “I love you.”

I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested, so my poor wallet suffers. ”— Gareth

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