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Banking

Goldman withdraws judgement

At the end of October, the winner of the prestigious Financial Times/Goldman Sachs business book of the year award will be announced at a swanky dinner in New York.

The chosen author will walk away with a first prize of £30,000, enhanced book sales and membership of a roll of honour that includes previous winners such as Mohammed El-Erian and Liaquat Ahmed.


The latter, whose work The Lords of Finance took the prize last year, has joined the 2010 judging panel, which once again is chaired by FT editor Lionel Barber.


Last year, Barber’s co-chair was none other than Goldman chief executive Lloyd Blankfein. But there’s no sign of him this year. No doubt Blankfein is a little too busy to read all the six shortlisted tomes, what with paying out hundreds of million dollars in fines and trying to face down regulators who would put an end to the Goldman business model.


But look again, and you’ll see that there’s no one from Goldman at all on the six-strong judging panel. Perhaps that’s not surprising given that one of the books in with a shout is ‘Too big to fail’, Andrew Ross Sorkin’s compelling account of the fall of Lehman Brothers and its aftermath, in which narrative both Blankfein and Goldman figure prominently.


Some people who have read the book will think that Sorkin’s tale is too good not to win. But it faces strong competition from Michael Lewis’s ‘The big short’.


And could the winner be Sebastian Mallaby’s ‘More money than God’, about the excesses of the hedge fund industry? Of course we know that Blankfein, who gave up his bonus, would never claim to have that. He only does God’s work.

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