A lot of people ask me that question, and I normally stare at them with complete contempt. Unless, of course, they've sent me an email. In which case I reply with an email - drenched in contempt. It's pretty obvious how Goldman has managed to steer clear of the disasters that have hit other banks, and it has nothing to do with its bankers, traders, and analysts - as fine as they are. No, it is all down to Goldman's secretive shamans committee. Until now, no one - not even me - has had any idea of how the committee operates, but Arthur Simmons recently spent a whole week with the shamans in the London-based committee. This is his story:
'Well, what an eye-opener! I mean, what a fucking eye-opener! I only managed to gain access to these amazing guys because four of them are ex-students of mine. Altogether there are twenty shamans on the committee. Unfortunately, no women yet - but I'm sure that will change, in time. But what a fucking eye-opener! These guys are so professional. They are taking corporate financial shamanism to another level! And get this - Goldman Sachs keeps these characters locked in the basement! I couldn't believe it. Apparently, they sign a contract for five years which basically makes them the property of the bank. I suppose Goldman is shit-scared that its shamans will be poached by other banks. And remember, these guys are the best of the best. Goldman employs over 150 shamans now, and God knows how many money mystics - but only the top shamans get in the committee. And what powers they have! There's one shaman, Peter, who can materialize money, right in front of you! No big deal in itself. But, Michael, you and I had to spend years in the desert before we could perform such feats. This Peter, he only left my college six months ago, and he's hardly been anywhere near a bloody desert! I can't imagine what the bank is doing to speed along the development of its shamans. But that's Goldman all over, isn't it? It does everything better than anyone else. Anyway, you should see this basement. No luxury has been spared. Wonderful carpets, cushions, wine, grapes - it's like ancient Rome! The shamans spend most of their time in a trance. They go onto the astral plane. They explore the cosmos. They speak to the ghosts of the dead financiers. Also, only Lloyd Blankfein and David Viniar can have any contact with them. And not face-to-face. Not even Blankfein and Viniar can venture into the basement. It's all done with telepathy. Once a week the shamans have a conference mind-call with Blankfein and Viniar, and pass on any information. That's how Goldman got through the credit crunch without any problems. Absolutely brilliant! I'm so impressed. We all know that John Thain at Merrill Lynch wants to replicate the Goldman culture, but Merrill is light years behind. Every bank is. I love Goldman Sachs. What an amazing bank!'
If that's not an eye-opener, please tell me what is. And I'm talking third eye here.