When Jonathan Goldfarb looks back on his 35 years as an analyst, his first reaction is one of disbelief. God, that was a hard job, he says. How did I do that for so many years? But, upon further reflection, the 68-year-old Goldfarb adds, it didnt seem that difficult at the time. His clients would have agreed. Goldfarb was an Institutional Investorranked analyst in Building Materials and Building for 24 years running, including 11 appearances as No. 1. A graduate of Harvard Business School, he joined Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith in 1975. The next year he won the top spot in Building. I became good at understanding how cycles worked, Goldfarb says. I learned how to anticipate turning points. Goldfarb, who retired from Merrill in 2001, works three days a week as CFO of National Executive Service Corp., a nonprofit outfit that recruits retired executives to provide consulting services to not-for-profits in the New York area. He also serves as an arbitrator on securities cases for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.