Chapter 18. Going to Meet the Man

What a person does is what he is, not what he says.

Syd Field

I was delighted to be back in New York. The meeting with Harry marked a turning point. Something was about to change. But the blur of events, coming rapid-fire, had me slightly off balance. Again I checked my palms. They were dry. Maybe too dry? A little stage fright, after all, is the best warm-up for a good performance.

I had been talking to a few friends on Wall Street. They were gloomy. Some were fearful. Populist outrage had gotten under their skin. There was talk of executives buying weapons to protect themselves. The Goldman Sachs gang was especially paranoid. There was palpable fear that an angry mob might storm the fortresses of lower Manhattan.

This glimpse of fear was counterintuitive. Goldman's Lloyd Blankfein and other bank executives liked to imagine themselves as "Dirty Harry" Clint Eastwood types: MBAs with vast intelligence and the toughness of Navy SEALs. Paper-pushers, it seems, like to imagine themselves as tough guys. But beneath the cocky exterior lurks an uneasiness that the proletariat might be out for blood, not only in lower Manhattan, but in the gated communities of Connecticut—hedge fund country. It may never have occurred to the bank executives that one day they would be seen as pirates, loathed and hunted by those whose fortunes and lives they had plundered.

I didn't take this talk seriously until months later. It was confirmed by Alice Schroeder in a December ...

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