I know I could not endure Charles Ellis's new seven hundred and fifty page book on the history of Goldman Sachs, and so was happy to read Malcolm Gladwell's latest piece in the New Yorker in which he writes about the life and times of Sidney Weinberg, an epitome of the rags to riches story, who literally went from the post room of Goldman Sachs to the boardroom.

The article is a reminder that coming from a position of adversity can bring certain advantages and while it offers nothing new by way of ideas, it is filled with colorful stories from a bygone era. Toward the end of the piece, we learn of the Goldman Sachs Trading Corporation, an investment trust that ballooned in size to half a billion dollar in assets only to get wiped out in the 1929 crash, when it's price went from $326 down to a mere $1.75. Goldman's relative robustness in the current crisis suggests they may have learned a thing or two from their past.


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