From the number-one New York Times best-selling author of Liar's Poker and "one of the country's most popular business journalists" (The New York Times) Michael Lewis, comes an engaging new book about Wall Street.
Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of Boomerang, The Big Short, The Blind Side, Moneyball, and many others, returns to the financial world to give listeners a ringside seat as the biggest news story in years prepares to hit Wall Street.
©2014 Michael Lewis (P)2014 Simon & Schuster
"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
There was a temptation to write my review before I had finished reading. To get there first before other reviewers. This race to be first, however, sometimes requires a pause, a reflection about what speed, transparency, fairness all actually require from individuals and companies. The world of finance is often opaque. Between executing a trade with your broker and another individual accepting that trade through their broker there is a ghost world operating on mico-slices of a second. It is a world filled with algorithms that are all focused on a zero-sum game where the individual seems to lose every single trade. It is a wild west were everyone is getting the shaft, except for the large banks and the high-speed traders.
No one is better at exploring the technical world of money and finance on Wall Street (and in Sports) than Michael Lewis. His talent is most obvious in his ability to spot inconsistencies, absurdities, and flaws in a system and explain them using great characters and narratives that the characters tell themselves. There is no Moneyball without Billy Beane, there is no Blind Side without Leigh Tuohy and Michael Oher, and there is no Liar's Poker without John Meriwether and John Gutfreund. There would also be no Flash Boys without Sergey Aleynikov, Brad Katsuyama and Ronan Ryan.
These characters MAKE this book great. Lewis, however, is what makes this story vibrantly great. He is a master of the New New Journalism narrative, a master of timing, and a master of getting to the story before the other suckers do. And... he appears to do it not just because he is fantastically good at it, but from all appearances because, like Brad Katsuyama, Lewis actually gives a micro-F about making the system deliver on its promise
It has a guy Brad who is my hero. It reads like a John Grisham novel, but it’s a true story about stock exchanges, high frequency traders, and dark pools. The author is great at explaining complicated technical subjects and telling a good story around them. In the middle of the book I was so angry at the rip-off of investors, I was thinking of writing letters. But by the end of the book, I didn’t have to. Some good things happened. And now, various government agencies are investigating the problems described in the book - SEC, FBI, CFTC, FINRA, NY attorney general, and US attorney general.
The audiobook narrator Dylan Baker was excellent.
Genre: financial nonfiction
Before reading Flash Boys, I was only marginally aware of High Frequency Trading and had only a vague notion of what it was. Michael Lewis sheds a lot of light on how it works and who it benefits (hint: not you) and apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was in the dark. HFT is usually portrayed as being a net win for the markets because it provides liquidity. That turns out to be far from the truth. Not only is the liquidity provided by HFT a false liquidity that benefits no one, it turns out it’s just a way to take advantage of having faster access to market data to essentially skim from “normal” market activity. It’s guys with faster connections and privileged access to market data taking your money when you trade while providing you zero benefit whatsoever in return.
You pretty much have to have faith that based on his reputation, Lewis is getting his facts straight since it obviously behooves the HFT traders to obfuscate what they’re doing. If he’s getting it right though, then there’s a lot of crap going down that should shake your faith in the good intentions of majority of stock brokers. Fortunately there is a hint of optimism throughout the book and signs that things are changing, but the situation he describes so well is very much still happening today.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
Michael Lewis has a spellbinding book with drama in a complex highly technical subject of high frequency computerized trading (HFT) in United States stock markets. This is a highly complex field that few understand; Lewis tries to explain it in terms we all can understand. This is a non-fiction book but the author made no effort to be unbiased. According to Lewis the HFT was encouraged by a regulation passed in 2005, which aimed to open large exchanges such as NYSE and NASDAQ to stiffer competition. Instead in Lewis’s view point the stock markets now are rigged by traders who go to astonishing lengths to gain a millisecond edge over their rivals. As an innocent investor presses a button to buy shares, the HFT trader leaps invisibly into the electronic market to profit from the order and thousands of other, siphoning off billions of dollars a year. The author turn it into a human narrative by telling the rise of HFT through the eyes of Brad Katsuyama a former Royal bank of Canada trader who came to Wall Street and was shocked by what he found. The story tells how he found his own exchange (IEX) that is designed to outwit the HFT abuser. If Lewis is right the regulators have failed and allowed a huge financial scandal to take place under their nose and they also have encouraged the deregulation the stock market. One of the subplots is about the role of Russian computer programmers including Sergey Aleynikov an employee of Goldman Sacks who was arrested by the FBI after leaving the bank in 2009 and charged with stealing computer code. Lewis attempts to explain why Aleynikov is not guilty even thought the jury found him guilty. Many of the Wall Street HFT elite are Russian. American’s lack of mathematical skills opened the field to the Russian mathematical and computer professionals I found this to be an absorbing fast paced story and I sure hope that Lewis has exaggerated the problem to make a good story. Dylan Baker did a good job narrating the book.
No. Like his last few books this all sounds like something I've read before, almost like a collection of magazine articles edited into one long book. It also feels a little glib, like a Malcom Gladwell book.
Michael Lewis is a very talented writer. If he were to write a longer, more in depth book as he did earlier in his career I would be all over it.
Read Dark Pools by Scott Patterson instead.
It gives you so much insight and even technical information yet reads like a novel.
There are some good people out there who want to do the wright thing.
The SEC makes me want to cry. They do not look out for investors, which is suppose to be their mission.
Thank you Michael Lewis, Brad, Ryan & Co.!
I knew allot of this but no where near the detail. Greed is a horrible thing and this book rewards the people from IEX and tells some about the other. What a great well put together book. Thanks you Michael Lewis and narrator Dylan Baker right on. I've already called my broker Fido and of course they suck.
Hacking my commute one audiobook at a time...
I did not read the print version
The background stories of the IEX group members is very well written. It effectively captured their backgrounds and life stories that influenced their decision to be the change agents.
Brad Katsuyama ofcourse.
A great eye opener about wall street and how the big banks collude to rob the little guy. I never understood the atrocities perpetuated by wall street because I never understood how or what they were doing. Michael Lewis explains the atrocities in simple terms and helps the reader understand the motives behind these actions.
Fascinating, illuminating and sadly not all that surprising.
Michael Lewis shines another light on the sickness of Wall Street.
Even fans of the Financial Sector should be angry about what is uncovered in this book, since the behaviors of High Frequency Traders undermine the healthy functioning of the market.
As an aside...
Although I recognize that economic models that legislate against greed are doomed to failure, and further acknowledge that a free market is the best known model we have, I'm still waiting for a good book on the incongruence of infinite growth and the finite resources of our only habitable planet. Solutions anyone?
Brad is Superman coming to the rescue of the little guy.
Clear strong voice.
Towards the end when he was talking about how Goldman Sachs got on Board.
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