Paper Fortunes

Modern Wall Street; Where It's Been and Where It's Going

Roy C. Smith

St. Martin's Press



Paper Fortunes is the richly-detailed story of Wall Street from post-war heyday to present woes, from a player whose experiences, profiles of the colorful personalities involved and learned observations of the forces shaping the business make it insightful and timely. Smith, a long-time Goldman Sachs banker and now a distinguished NYU professor of finance, enables anyone working on the Street, investing with it, or just appalled by its worst shenanigans to understand how the industry has grown, changed and evolved, and what its future prospects are.


From various Goldmans, Sachses, and Lehmans through to Richard Fuld, Henry Paulson and Tim Geithner, Paper Fortunes tells the ongoing story of the shifting U.S. market economy through the actions of the people who've shaped it for the last 60 years and will shape it for the next 60 years.


Read an Excerpt



ON SEPTEMBER 15, 2008, a harried and exhausted Richard Fuld reluctantly authorized the filing for bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the 158-year-old firm he (and only he) had headed since it was spun off from American Express in 1994. At the time, Lehman was the fourth-largest independent investment bank in the United States. Its bankruptcy filing reported liabilities of $613 billion, which made it nearly three times larger than America’s previous largest bankruptcy, that of WorldCom in 2002.

Fuld, sixty-two, had not enjoyed the balmy weather that summer at



Praise for Paper Fortunes

Praise for Roy C. Smith

On Adam Smith and the Origins of American Enterprise: How the Founding Fathers Turned to a Great Economist's Writings and Created the American Economy:

"It is no coincidence what[so]ever that the nation with the most successful economy the world has known was born the very same year that Adam Smith published the greatest of all economic books, The Wealth of Nations. Roy C. Smith shows, clearly and informatively, how Smithian economics and American politics and entrepreneurship intertwined to produce that wonder called the American economy."--John Steele Gordon, author of The Great Game and The Business of America: Tales from the Marketplace

On The Global Bankers:

"Roy Smith confesses to a twenty-year love affair with global banking. With a combination of a practitioner's insight, a broad perspective, and an engaging style, he explains what a seductive mistress international finance can be - and how it affects the world in which we live." --Paul A. Volcker, former chairman, Federal Reserve

On The Wealth Creators: 5 Success Styles of the Multi-millionaires:

“If you’ve ever wondered how the extra-rich got that way, you will find a great variety of enlightening answers in The Wealth Creators. Roy C. Smith writes from an investment banking perspective, and it’s the investment bankers who know.” --Martin Mayer, author of The Bankers

On The Money Wars: The Rise & Fall of the Great Buyout Boom of the 1980s:

 “Smith has written a challenging book that punctures many widely held assumptions about the mergers and acquisitions process.”-- Publisher's Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Roy C. Smith

  • Roy C. Smith was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs for more than twenty years and is the Kenneth Langone Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at New York University's Stern School, where he has been for the past twenty. He is the author of several books, including The Global Bankers, The Money Wars, and The Wealth Creators.

  • Roy C. Smith NYU Photo Bureau Anne Marie Poyo Furlong


Available Formats and Book Details

Paper Fortunes

Modern Wall Street; Where It's Been and Where It's Going

Roy C. Smith

  • e-Book



St. Martin's Press