The information is important for everyone to be aware of. If you invest on an individual level or as part of a 401(k) plan, your money is being siphoned off legally. While the information is important, I thought that it could have been conveyed in far fewer words.
[CLICK!] Lewis contends that Goldman Sachs was behind the curve in HFT, yet all the market evidence is to the contrary, they were and are the leaders of the HFT pack! [CLICK!] Half of GS's programmers were Russian, because they were superior? Yet, recall how Putin's plan backfired when he dispatched the best and the brightest computer science types from Russia to infilitrate American business, and not a single one could get a tech job - - and Obama deported them under FARA! [CLICK!] Lewis concentrates on HFT, yet the criminal conspiracy is internalization, which is the crux of the matter - - the top banks and hedge funds purchase of almost 100% of the public trades from the top brokerages, and doing those trades as they like, internally, on their own systems or dark pools! [CLICK!] Lewis publicly has stated that the bankers shouldn't go to jail because of their financial innovations. Calling financial fraud tools Financial Innovations is the method Lewis uses to confuse and bewilder, on the one hand seeming to be for the people, yet on the other hand being a staunch supporter of Wall Street. The book should have focused on p.182, instead of barely touching upon it. [Quite similar to how Noam Chomsky attacks the politicians while supporting various government whitewash commissions and the Federal Reserve Bank, or his daughter, Avi Chomsky, writes on immigration while completely negating labor history and financial history. Or when various neocons blame housing prices for the global meltdown, when it was a securitization bubble, of which housing was but one component among many.]
The patronizing depiction of Mr Katsuyama's "Canadianness" aside, Mr Lewis weaves a topical and fascinating narrative throughout, ably narrated by the always-excellent Dylan Baker.
I heard about this book on cbc radio and signed out the audio book. Listening to it on the 30min drive to work and back each day took about 7 days. It is written (and read) in a very conversational style so there is some swearing that at first is justified but becomes a little gratuitous. Mostly through character vignettes, the book reveals how rigged the US stock market was in favour of high frequency electronic traders over the past decade and what Canadian Brad Katsuyama chose to do about it, right up to last year. Fascinating but it could have been abridged a bit.
Michael Lewis has a literary knack for taking a completely incomprehensible topic, the inner-workings of the 21st century stock market for example, and explaining it in a way such that I now have a better understanding of how much I still don't know. This was true for when I read The Big Short (2010) and it's true again for Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.
Nevertheless, this is a depressing book. I mean it's exhilarating watching Brad Katsuyama and his team fight the good fight against greed, and I'm not up to date with how they're currently doing so I hope things continue to improve for them. Still, this gloomy examination of high frequency trading is such a downer that I'd just rather stay as far away as possible.
This story is about how a number of Wall Streeters, led by Brad Katsuyama, identified corrupt practices by the Wall Street institutions and then decided to found their own honest stock exchange. The narrative is breezy in style and in many places repetitive in making the same point over and over again. However, the basic idea of the collusion between High Frequency Traders, various public and dark exchanges, and the large Wall Street banks to exact a hidden transaction fee on the unsuspecting investor is fascinating. This book makes plain how little we know exactly how the stock market works. Indeed apparently many of the Wall Street insiders do not know how the market works.
sheronann2000 thinks this title is suitable for 30 years and over
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