Stools, salad and mild humiliation: the Goldman Greg Smith loved

Smith's first chapter on Goldman Sachs.

You may remember Greg Smith, the former Goldman Sachs employee who skewered the Vampire Squid in a New York Times op-ed piece earlier this year. Well he's back now, layering on the post-hoc criticism in a book, the first chapter of which was yesterday leaked online.

The chapter is an account of his first encounter in the company as an intern, and  catalogues experiences with stools (interns had to fight over seats, which they then had to carry around all day), 5am "punishment" starts, teary public humiliation, and salad (one intern got someone the wrong lunch, and it was binned in front of him).

This is all slightly unpleasant but not remarkably so: worse things happen at sea and reviewers from both Posts (Washington and Huffington) have said as much. But re-read Smith's original letter, and you realise that the first chapter is actually supposed to record Goldman's golden era, the bank Smith originally signed up for, and which:

"revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years."

He mourned that, by the time he left,

The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.

I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.

It sounds like the students probably knew already.

Interns fought over stools. Photograph: Getty Images

Martha Gill writes the weekly Irrational Animals column. You can follow her on Twitter here: @Martha_Gill.

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Quiz: Can you identify fake news?

The furore around "fake" news shows no sign of abating. Can you spot what's real and what's not?

Hillary Clinton has spoken out today to warn about the fake news epidemic sweeping the world. Clinton went as far as to say that "lives are at risk" from fake news, the day after Pope Francis compared reading fake news to eating poop. (Side note: with real news like that, who needs the fake stuff?)

The sweeping distrust in fake news has caused some confusion, however, as many are unsure about how to actually tell the reals and the fakes apart. Short from seeing whether the logo will scratch off and asking the man from the market where he got it from, how can you really identify fake news? Take our test to see whether you have all the answers.

 

 

In all seriousness, many claim that identifying fake news is a simple matter of checking the source and disbelieving anything "too good to be true". Unfortunately, however, fake news outlets post real stories too, and real news outlets often slip up and publish the fakes. Use fact-checking websites like Snopes to really get to the bottom of a story, and always do a quick Google before you share anything. 

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.