If you have any money in the stock market, you need to read FLASH BOYS. Of course, I am biased because Michael Lewis (author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side, The Big Short, Boomerang, etc., etc.) could write the phone book and I would read it. His writing unrolls like a gorgeous set of waves, story after story—all true—and you cannot help but be mesmerized. This book, like his others on financial topics, is both mortifying and enlightening. And this one is also inspiring, because finally there are some good guys.
FLASH BOYS is about how Wall Street brokers, banks, and traders have been ripping investors off, which is not news, but it is actually worse than you thought. In the past few years, the invention of high-frequency trading has enabled brokers to receive information on trades micro-seconds in advance in order to take steps to alter stock prices. The fact that this is not illegal and in some ways was precipitated by a regulation attempting to close another loophole simply underlines how dysfunctional the financial system is. Through a suspenseful narrative, Lewis explains how this situation came to pass and what one man (ultimately, along with some colleagues) decided to do about it.
It is truly an amazing story, and it gives me hope in humanity. Margaret Mead continues to be right: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Brad Katsuyama is my new personal idol. I am grateful to Michael Lewis for telling his story. Bravo!