On February 17, 1984, I interviewed in the bond trading department at Goldman Sachs in New York City for a summer job for the summer between my two years of graduate business school.
The way the interview day was structured was that I interviewed with each of eight partners individually first. Then at the end of the day was a group interview: the eight partners and me.
Since I had gone to business school straight out of college, I really had nothing on my resume to speak of.
However, at the bottom of my resume, it stated, "spent summers as a tour guide and resident magician at the Houdini Magical Hall of Fame, Niagara Falls, Canada."
During the group interview, one of the partners, Jon Corzine (who later became governor of New Jersey) said, “I see it says on your resume that you are a magician. Show us some magic!” I responded, “Well, I am here for a job in bond trading; you don’t want to see magic now.” He retorted, “Yes, I do. Show us some magic!” I looked around at the other partners in the room and gave them a look as if to say, please tell this guy to drop that idea and let’s get on with the interview. Their response, however, was, “Yes, we would like to see magic too.” I said it again, “You want me to show you magic right here and now?” and by now they were all nodding their heads, “Yes!”
I said okay, and I put my hand in my pocket and pretended to take out an invisible deck of cards. I shuffled the invisible cards and then fanned out the deck. I asked that partner to choose one of the cards. He looked around, puzzled, and I reiterated, “Go ahead, take one!” He played along with it and “took” a card. I told him he had taken two cards and I “took” one back. Then I said to him, “Show everyone else your card but don’t show me.” He “showed” everyone else his card. Then I told him that I was turning the cards face up and I wanted him to put his card into the deck face down, which he “did,” after which I pretended to put the deck of invisible cards back in the box and put the box into my pocket.
I then took a real pack of cards out of my pocket and said, “This is the same deck of cards we were just using, but now the cards are visible.” Then I said to him, “Now before I open the box, please tell us all, what was the name of the card that you took?” He responded, “The jack of clubs.” I asked, “Now did I in any way, shape, or form force you to take the jack of clubs?” He said no. I said, “You could have chosen the ace of spades or the queen of diamonds, but you chose the jack of clubs. Now before we open the pack of cards, would you like to change your mind?” He said no. I asked, “Are you sure?” He said he was sure.
I then opened the real pack of cards and fanned them out. Sure enough, the cards were all face up except for one card that was face down. I asked him to take out the face down card and show it to everyone, and he responded, “If that card is the jack of clubs, you have the job!” Well, it was the jack of clubs and I got the job.
I have Hugo Furney and Ron Conley to thank for my getting that job at Goldman Sachs. This book explains the process by which that happened, and so much more. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.