The distinguished gentleman at right is not the Adam Smith who wrote our yoga tennis story on page 36. This gentleman is the real Adam Smith, celebrated 18th century author of the Wealth of Nations and high priest of the economic system known to its friends as liberal—and to its detractors as laissez-faire. He was totally unconcerned with either yoga or tennis. Our Adam Smith is George Jerome Waldo (Jerry) Goodman, a financial writer who began to hide behind that pen name some years ago to keep his true identity a secret. When the secret leaked out he retreated to another defense—doggedly refusing to be photographed.
But why Adam Smith? Goodman refers all such questions to Chapter One of The Money Game, his 1968 bestseller about Wall Street. It turns out that Goodman sought a pseudonym so that insiders on the Street would speak more freely to him. He chose Procrustes, the highwayman of Greek legend who placed his victims on a bed of iron, stretching them if they were too short and chopping off their feet if they were too long. "It seemed appropriate for Wall Street," Goodman says. But an editor encountering Procrustes failed to get the point. Adam Smith was the first name he could think of that would fit.
Bylines aside, yoga tennis is not as far away from Wall Street as it may seem. Goodman-Smith indicates that it is all psychology, after all. When The Money Game appeared, The Walt Street Journal called it a study of "crowd psychology." The Washington Post observed that the book's recurring theme is the human side of the game and "the mystery of mass psychology."
Thus, in terms of tennis or money, Goodman's preoccupations have merely jelled. He is now attending a seminar at Berkeley sponsored by the Esalen Institute on "Exploration of Modes of Consciousness." He also is at work on a book about mental powers, "things you can and can't do with your mind," he explains.
August 12, 1973
A Harvard graduate (class of '52) and a Rhodes scholar, Goodman's early journalistic career included TIME, FORTUNE, Barron's and Collier's. He also has written three novels, The Bubble Makers, The Wheeler Dealers and A Time for Paris; one children's book, Bascombe the Fastest Hound Alive: co-authored a whodunit, A Killing in the Market; and recently published another bestseller, Supermoney.
Goodman's current interest in states of consciousness, coupled with his love of tennis, led him to a yoga seminar at Esalen that inspired this week's piece. "I haven't studied Zen formally," he says. "I'm more interested in the psychological effects of Eastern religion, like 'Does meditation really help you relax?' " These preoccupations relaxed Goodman for a time, although their effects on his tennis game are debatable. The yoga tennis thesis is that Ego interferes with our game. We all know how to play tennis; perfect tennis is in us all. And when you put it that clearly, we think that even the other Adam Smith would approve.