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Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
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Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  24,143 ratings  ·  2,280 reviews
Four years after his #1 bestseller The Big Short, Michael Lewis returns to Wall Street to report on a high-tech predator stalking the equity markets.

Flash Boys is about a small group of Wall Street guys who figure out that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and that, post–financial crisis, the markets have become not more free but less, and m
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 31st 2014 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published September 1st 2005)
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Frank Essentially a bank would put a order in a dark pool, an HFT would get access to that order (information no one else should have) and check all the…moreEssentially a bank would put a order in a dark pool, an HFT would get access to that order (information no one else should have) and check all the major exchanges.

If the order was to buy 100,000 share at 80.00, the HFT might find a seller at 79.98 on NYSE 100,000 shares. The HFT buys the order in full at NYSE, then fulfill the order. The bank gets money from an HFT to get that extended information, they also get a sale on their Dark pool which makes their dark pool look better, the HFT gets to keep the two cents (minus anything they have to pay to the bank) And the investor loses out on the 2 cents, or in this case $2000 dollars. It's not much on a 1.6 million dollar order, but it's still $2000 dollars he missed out on.

There's more ways to increase that especially with kick backs but that's the very basic version.

Sadly I don't feel Michael Lewis fully answered that part of the book (both what HFTs were doing and what the dark pools were.)(less)
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NY Times Non-Fiction Best Sellers 2014
4th out of 82 books — 141 voters
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1st out of 30 books — 51 voters

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Community Reviews

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Ashley Katsuyama
Considering this is about my husband, I might be more than a little biased. :)
The new book by Michael Lewis criticizing high-frequency trading has created quite a stir. I’m imaging what a PR response might look like, though not an entirely serious one. It’s structured in FAQ format, but the questions aren’t really frequently asked so much as ones I’d like to answer. The ideal audience would be the inquiring readers of Flash Boys open to a counterbalance.

Q: Who is this Michael Lewis guy and why has this book been making such a splash?

Lewis is an influential writer with a t
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 actually requires 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 worl ...more
Jul 26, 2014 David rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to David by: James
Shelves: business, nonfiction
This book is wonderful; it is well-written, engaging, and the subject is fascinating. I had never given much thought to stock exchanges, trading, and the processes that occur there. Michael Lewis manages to make the subject transparent and interesting! He describes the activities of so-called "High Frequency Trading" (HFT), where buy and sell orders to stock exchanges are intercepted and prevented from occurring at the stated price. These HFT activities go on, largely unnoticed, though they acco ...more
On Reading & Rating
For my money (which, since I'm neither a Wall Street tycoon, nor a Russian coding genius, isn't a whole heck of a lot) this isn't Michael Lewis' best work. My reading experience was a mix of fascination and frustration. Why the latter? Lewis covers (and condemns) a whole bunch of different things. Agreement aside, as a human who reads books, this lack of distinction is what resulted in the bulk of my star-docking (I'd give it a 2.5/5 if half-stars were street legal aro
Riku Sayuj

It's All Rigged Folks!

The seemingly democratic 'market' is a class system and the name of the game is speed. There is a hierarchy of speed in place and the haves are looting the have-nots.

Taleb made a name for himself ridiculing the markets, the experts and the traders - attributing whatever money these blokes made to dumb luck. Nobody can game the market, he said. We all liked that. Yes, they might make money, but they sure as hell do not deserve to be smug doing so. Plus, at least we can also
Nick Black
wow. definitely Lewis's best book since Moneyball or Liar's Poker, though I'm waiting to talk to some high-frequency trading friends before i make final judgments. definitely a hell of a book to read here in Lower Manhattan, in the shadow of Wall Street, before going in for an interview at Goldman Sachs. lots of great quotes and superb little vignettes and character studies (the hallmark of Michael Lewis reporting). quite a bit seemed to have been recycled from his pieces for Vanity Fair over th ...more
Michael Lewis has given us another great read, leaving us pondering big issues about the latest wall street scam and the point of society. In today’s world, the information he shares about high-frequency trading (HFT) on Wall Street feels dated before it arrives on the page…before we read it…before we can act on it. At first I was aghast that information about the, in effect, skimming or taxing of trades on the [any] stock market was old—this stuff was recognized in 2010! Why are we just learnin ...more
Really well-done non-fiction that reads like a fictional thriller. Michael Lewis humanizes his expose of high-frequency trading and the state of the U.S. stock market by focusing on a few key characters and their stories. There is a lot of financial information to grasp here, but Lewis is an absolute master at sensible analogies that transform extremely complex transactions into ones that are easy to comprehend.

Very disheartening on one hand - human nature at its worst - and at the same time upl
I'm a longtime fan of Michael Lewis, but with this book he's finally jumped the shark.

Reading this book I found myself at first laughing with Lewis, then laughing at Lewis, and then wanting to throw the book in the trash, because he gets the history of HFT completely wrong.

Instead of listing my complaints I'd direct readers to better analyses, like these from Manoj Narang, Cliff Asness, Matt Levine, Matthew Phillips and Michael Peltz.

Lewis would do well to heed the advice of (his cousin) Nicho
John Stein
Love Michael Lewis and his narrative style, but think the hyperbole and indignation have gone a little overboard here. I am no fan of HFT and they are definitely a thorn in my professional side, but the HFT problem is just noise. The heros/victims in the book are mostly firms that used to take 4-6 cents per share as commissions, and make even more for positioning trades, who now take 1-2 cents per share and maybe give up half a cent to the HFT shops. The argument goes something like "it isn't fa ...more
while this was an interesting and well-written read, it seems to be severely lacking in evidence and more akin to an attempt to shift public opinion for the benefit of certain interested parties.
the starting premise is that brad thinks hft is bad, and from there it's just assertions and statements like "see, we found out this or that kind of thing is happening, i told you hft is bad" without really explaining what is bad.
seems like a thinly veiled ad to drum up business on the "fair" exchange.
Andrew Smith
I gave this a decent go - about 25% of it - but I just couldn't get past the fact it's just way too slow and much too boring. It's also very technical, in terms of explaining how high-frequency trading in the US equity market was rigged. And though the author takes time to try to explain it, the explanation is so protracted and woven into discussions between various brainiacs that I lost the will long before I fully understood what was going on.

Not for me I'm afraid, I gave up on this one.
Fascinating, terrifying account of how the equities markets have been systematically undermined in the last 7 years. Essential reading to understand the state of the public markets today.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

So the suspicions were right, it would appear. The US stock markets were rigged, controlled by a select few individuals. And if not all, atleast some of the biggest guys on Wall Street were in the know, actively participating in this money-spinning venture. Perhaps this whole scheme would have gone on indefinitely, swindling big & small investors alike of billions unless someone stood up for what
Mal Warwick
Bestselling Berkeley author Michael Lewis has been spending a lot of time in the East lately. After researching and writing his blockbuster fifteenth nonfiction book, Flash Boys, currently the country’s #1 best seller, he’s now juggling interviews and appearances triggered by the fallout. I can’t recall any book that has ever before struck such fear into the denizens of Wall Street.

Flash Boys tells the tale of the arcane and long-secret phenomenon known as high-frequency trading (HFT). The book
Jane Stewart
Wow! Fantastic! I loved it! Entertaining.

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 govern
Nicholas Lefevre
I got this book in the mail on Wednesday evening and finished it on Thursday evening. Once again Michael Lewis hits a home run. I did not understand high-frequency trading (HFT) but this book makes it easy to understand not just its functioning but its consequences for investors and the economy. As usual Lewis unfolds the story as personal narratives of key players. As with The Big Short, he focuses more on the heroes than on the villains (there are many). The most damning indictment is of the S ...more
Agne Jakubauskaite
Jul 04, 2015 Agne Jakubauskaite rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those interested in U.S. stock market
Recommended to Agne by: Read and Meet Book Group

“Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt” by Michael Lewis is both an infuriating and uplifting true story about the U.S. stock market corruption in the twenty-first century and a handful of extraordinary individuals who, instead of benefiting from the rigged system like everyone else on the Wall Street, are willing to go to war to fix it. Inspired by an obscure trial of Russian computer programmer Sergey Aleynikov who worked for Goldman Sachs, Lewis investigates the shadiest corners o
The days of men in the bear pit screaming prices at each other are long gone in the stock markets, now days it is all controlled by computers. These are so valuable that they are hidden well away and guarded by heavily armed men, and not even the experts know exactly what happens in these dark pools.

Those that do know won’t tell either, as they are making an absolute fortune.

This market, that we have been assured is open and fair, is rigged. And the key that unlocks the money chest now is speed.
Andrew Tollemache
This book was a must read for 2 important reasons: (1) Lewis always writes a compelling story on whatever he covers and (2) this book covers an area that has been central to my career and life for 18 years or so. Even though I had grown rather tired and bored of the HFT debate, I found Lewis provided some fresh color and perspective that reanimated my thoughts. His key point(s) is that while a great deal of the rise of HFT might be due to legit computerization and the advance of tech and capital ...more
Ian Robertson
In his first book, Liar’s Poker, Michael Lewis sketched colourful and entertaining characters to show us the excesses of a Wall Street titan - Salomon Brothers - at the peak of its game. Later, in The Big Short, he used his considerable storytelling abilities and yet more colourful and entertaining characters to help explain the financial collapse of 2007. With his latest book,Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, Lewis again weaves a compelling story with still more wonderful characters, but rather ...more
Review #13 of "Year of the Review All Read Books"

The story reads like a detective novel. Except without all the loquacious descriptions of trench coats, rainy nights and damsels in distress (IT DOESN'T EVEN PASS THE BECHDEL TEST OMG!). Lewis designs the book in tributaries so that one thread or character will all eventually funnel into the protagonist Brad Katsuyama. Brad, a Wall Street Investor, discovers one day, when trying to execute a trade according to prices that he sees on his screen, is
Aaron Thibeault
*A full executive summary of this book is available here:

The thrust: Over the past 20 years, and particularly in the past decade, the stock market has undergone some significant changes. The most visible change is that much of the action has now become computerized. For example, whereas stock markets used to consist of trading floors, where floor traders swapped stocks back and forth, we now have computer servers where sellers and buyers are connected aut
Brad Lyerla
FLASH BOYS is about high frequency traders and the effect that they have on the stock market. Through sinister sounding things like "front running", "rebate arbitrage" and "dark pool arbitrage", which Lewis describes clearly for lay readers, high frequency traders have taken billions from ordinary investors and made the stock market an even more forbidding and unfair place than it already was.

Sometimes I wonder why anyone, who is not an insider, invests in the stock market. But then there is no
It's kind of shocking to know that I (lawyer) might be disqualified (rightfully) from representing a client because someone in my 1200-attorney firm once defended some interest of the giant corporate opposing party, while regulators have allowed banks not only to further their own interests in their own private dark pool exchanges, but also to act in direct conflict with their clients' interests. And it's lawyers everyone hates??

Enough about me. Lewis's narrative is compelling as usual, moreso t
Mark Kagan
A very nice birthday present from my colleagues at the office. An easy read, breaking down seemingly complex market systems into easy to understand concepts with simple analogies. The main message: the market is rigged in favor of high frequency traders. Lewis tells the story of a group of seemingly naive/idealistic wall street types who discover the true nature of the market, and then attempt to fix it.

Being quite a naive idealist myself - this narrative appeals to me. On the other hand it fee
Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated"
I found this incredibly readable for a book set in the Wall Street and having to do with high frequency trading. I read it as part of my Good Reads Challenge:

I found this book as a choice in the Kindle Unlimited library so I decided to try it. The author not only makes things clear and readable, but he also makes people that I wouldn't normally find sympathetic and likable exactly that.

I was flabbergasted that there are ethical and open and transparent p
Seamus Enright
Think your opinion of the low-life pond scum who work on Wall St can't get any lower than it is already? Have a read of this book and realise that things are even worse there than you imagined.

It tells the story of how some traders got together with some ambitious techies to speed up the process of short-selling by enough micro-seconds to make even more money for their brokerage houses.

At first it was a few small brokerage houses but when Goldman Sachs smelled the extra money from their directio
“Moneyball” and “The Blind Side” are just a few of the notable works this author Michael Lewis has stimulated both readers and movie goers alike with endearing stories and true-to-life likeable folks. Of course he has written many other great titles, yet not making the silver screen probably because the books have been investigative works dealing with the financial markets and the nearly consistently repulsive characters that big money attracts. This book too deals with some uber greedy abhorren ...more
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  • After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead
  • Dark Pools: The Rise of Artificially Intelligent Trading Machines and the Looming Threat to Wall Street
  • Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power
  • End This Depression Now!
  • The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success
  • The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire
  • All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis
  • Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises
  • Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World
  • The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader's Tale of Spectacular Excess
  • Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World
  • Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis
  • More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite
  • Hedge Fund Market Wizards
  • Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War
  • No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller
  • The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
  • The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America
Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, The Money Culture, The New New Thing, Moneyball, The Blind Side, Panic, Home Game, The Big Short, and Boomerang, among other works, lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.

His latest book, Flash Boys, was published on March 31, 2014.
More about Michael Lewis...
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game Liar's Poker Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

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“The world clings to its old mental picture of the stock market because it’s comforting; because it’s so hard to draw a picture of what has replaced it; and because the few people able to draw it for you have no interest in doing so.” 7 likes
“A man got to have a code. - Omar Little” 3 likes
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