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

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  15,715 ratings  ·  1,660 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, 274 pages
Published March 31st 2014 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Frank I honestly feel the Big Short was the bigger corruption. There was no oversight, the SEC just covered their eyes, the Bond graders were pure idiots…moreI honestly feel the Big Short was the bigger corruption. There was no oversight, the SEC just covered their eyes, the Bond graders were pure idiots who thought they were geniuses, and the banks were running every gambit they could knowing they were doing wrong but getting away with it. There was many things that should have been regulated and avoided. The shorting was fine. The things that people saw that led so many people to shorting were not. And we're now seeing large court cases finally starting.

The big short was a far more complex and deep corruption and just devistating.

High Frequency trading is illuminating. It explains what banks and HFTs are doing, but it's not necessarily a "Corruption" it's a massive flaw in the way the current system works and IEX the "honest" exchange is even having trouble fixing the problems because the HFT are just hijacking issues that all exchanges have.

HFTs are systemic of the problem, the Bank's dark pools are also but realize the exchanges, the bankers and the HFT are all profiting off of the investor. It's bad, but it's a part of the market. Before this, banks were already profitting off of the market (They might buy a stock at 79.99 cents and sell it to the person at 80.01 if that's what they wanted to pay). It's just now a more automated system for it. (less)
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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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
"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
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
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
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
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
Michael Lewis is always a good read. This revealing book reminds me of Cliff from Cheers who explains that drinking beer kills his weak brain cells leaving him smarter. Lewis shows that unbridled capitalism is like drinking beer. There are always those who find ways to avoid ethics and prey on the lazy, stupid or inept. If you think this leaves the market more efficient, you are drinking too much beer.

His wise guys/flash boys skim from the market in a legal way by preying on the slight variation
Phil Simon
Not his best, but an interesting read nonetheless. At times the minutiae on the types of trades bored me, but the devil lies in the details. I found Sergey's story to be the most heart-wrenching.
Wow! If nothing else, read the first two chapters. I just completed this today and my feelings on the book are mostly amazement. Having done some light trading before, I was astonished in the speed differentials being implemented by HFT (High Frequency Traders) and how they made money. The book also exposed me to dark pools, front running, HFT's, puzzle masters and many other new terms.

Looking back at the flash crash, it's interesting to now understand this. It's also one of those things that o
Suppose you are a small investor and you decide to place an order online to buy a thousand shares of a stock. You have researched the stock carefully and you are planning on holding it for the foreseeable future. You press the send button on your iPad and your order goes to your broker. The broker then becomes obligated to place your order and buy it at the lowest price being offered on as many as fifty stock exchanges and “dark pools,” essentially private exchanges operated by banks and brokera ...more
Lewis keeps getting better at making complex financial systems understandable ... and also conveying why it's important to understand them. I was aware of some of the underlying technology issues around the race to shave microseconds off trading times from reading Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World, but Lewis does a great job of highlighting not just the technical arms-race, but the repercussions of it.

In particular he draws out how most financial regulation is The Law of Unin
Michael Lewis does a good job taking a complicated subject and explaining it with narrative. Some of the main players in this story seem genuinely compelling and some seem a bit glorified by Lewis but it all makes for an engaging read.
Akhil Parekh
Being a Michael Lewis fan, and having read his other books in past, I bought this book instantly. I would like to categorize the book into Wall Street thriller (fiction/non fiction). I am not 100% convinced to what he has mentioned about High frequency Traders (HFTs) in the book. There are certainly many things which I found to be questionable - primarily his claims that the entire market is rigged, HFTs are all profit no loss firms, all the HFTs are rigging the market, etc. I also find it incom ...more
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Wake up call or another yawn? 6 81 Nov 27, 2014 10:20AM  
Lit Lawvers: Flash Boys, by Michael Lewis (August 2014) 17 22 Nov 04, 2014 10:56AM  
52 weeks, 52 books: Week 2014.15: Flash Boys 3 68 May 10, 2014 03:49PM  
  • Dark Pools: The Rise of Artificially Intelligent Trading Machines and the Looming Threat to Wall Street
  • After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead
  • Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises
  • The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
  • More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite
  • The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America
  • Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power
  • All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis
  • End This Depression Now!
  • The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire
  • Business Adventures
  • Capital in the Twenty-First Century
  • Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World
  • The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader's Tale of Spectacular Excess
  • The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification
  • Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis
  • Devil Take the Hindmost:  A History of Financial Speculation
  • Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street
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.” 5 likes
“The U.S. financial markets had always been either corrupt or about to be corrupted.” 2 likes
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