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Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  8,302 ratings  ·  560 reviews
The story of billionaire trader Steven Cohen, the rise and fall of his hedge fund SAC Capital, and the largest insider trading investigation in history for readers of The Big Short, Den of Thieves, and Dark Money

Steven A. Cohen changed Wall Street. He and his fellow pioneers of the hedge fund industry didn't lay railroads, build factories, or invent new technologies. Rathe
Hardcover, 295 pages
Published February 7th 2017 by Random House
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Always Pouting
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nonfiction book describing in detail Steve Cohen's rise as the most prolific trader on Wall Street and the eventual FBI and SEC investigation into his hedge fund. I'm not really sure what else I can say except like wow maybe I should switch career paths now and just become a financial analyst. Especially the ending of the book where they talk about the deregulation and acquittal of so many of the people convicted of insider trading. I just can not believe they're going to let insider trading b ...more
The Pfaeffle Journal (Diane)
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Ever since the financial crash of 2008, I have felt that Wall Street is no longer part of financial institution of the United States. It's like Wall Street went rouge and serves only a few who consider themselves Masters of The Universe (Bondfire of the Vanities). Stephen Cohen, the star of this book, is one of those Masters of the universe having built a multi-billion dollar hedge fund using insider trading. I always tell my husband, if he or I committed any of the acts the Cohen and his cohort ...more
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: current-events
Black Edge can be read as a true crime suspense book or as a journalistic revelation of how greed and corruption works in the hedge fund business. I found it worthwhile on both levels not knowing how things would turn out. It’s not a whodunit, but rather a question of whether the perpetrators will be brought to justice. We learn a lot about law enforcement and financial regulation and their limits with respect to insider trading. The story revolves around SAC Capital Advisors and its founder Ste ...more
Mal Warwick
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
If you want to understand the depth of corruption that prevails on Wall Street, a good place to start is New Yorker staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar‘s admirable new book, Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street.

A loathsome human being

The central character is this superb piece of investigative journalism is Steven A. Cohen, the founder of a hedge fund named SAC Capital Advisors. Cohen is clearly a loathsome human being—obsessed wit
Steven Cohen is back running hedges (or do we call them dodges?) on Wall Street after being banned for two years from investing other people’s money. He is sixty-one years old, and has houses filled with beautiful things. His lifetime focus is trying to edge others in the market using whatever means necessary. He is said to have a reptilian cool when it comes to trading on the margins, making him one of the best traders ever. Cold-blooded is one thing. Cheating with inside information is another ...more
Terry Earley
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Fresh Air author interview:

This was more of a forensic study than a trading story. The SEC and the NY Attorney General knew for some time that this hedge fund, among many others, were trading on insider information, but did not have to tools to stop it for many years. By the time Steve Cohen made a deal to close it, he had personally amassed 10 billion dollars, making the 1.2 billion penalty minimal.

The real takeaway here, is that these people will always
Rohit Enghakat
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star, business
This is a fabulous account of the rise and fall of SAC Capital, the world's largest hedge fund. It recounts how the fund encouraged and propagated a culture of cheating and deception to generate enormous and humongous profits for themselves and their clients using insider trading tactics. It gives a glimpse into the luxurious life of Steven Cohen, the founder of SAC Capital, who spent millions of dollars collecting art at auctions and living in mansions in the toniest neighbourhood of New York. ...more
Athan Tolis
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, biography
I’ve worked in finance for 25 years and I’m never shy about commenting on it or setting people straight when they thoughtlessly malign the industry. It annoys me. Also, Archeus Capital Management, the fund I worked for when I was briefly in New York some ten years ago, had none other than Steve Cohen as its key investor.

Well, “Black Edge” has left me lost for words.

It’s an amazing feat of journalism that is told with the skill of a novelist. It’s a crash course in insider dealing, taught at a le
Alex Givant
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The say goes "There are three verdicts: guilty, not guilty and rich". This book shows exactly this. It's better to be rich guy and end up with wrist slap (5% of his net worth - right, it's 800M, but still 5% of 16B). And scapegoat who agreed to help justice will go to jail for long time. Disgusting, but again "greed is good!"
Shabbeer Hassan
Black Edge happens when a trader gains inside information to a given company's up/downs and then proceeds to short the shares, earning millions and breaking every ethical/moral/legal law which exists on financial trading.

Sheelah Kolhatkar's book is the rather shameful history of a hedge-fund mogul Steven Cohen, his cronies and associates who went on to earn billions based on black edges they ruthlessly gathered from around the world. False friendships, lies, bribes, enticements, inducements, fl
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Finishing this book filled my heart with sadness. We poor fucks are done for. That's what this book proves.

No institution, no law, no amount of Harvard degrees, no talent, no amount of willpower can do anything to a guy who has the money to throw around with half a brain. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

All that money siphoned off, people coerced and careers destroyed and the guy is still free and legally at that for the price of a fine. Fuck.

Brilliant writing by the author. Five star effort. Bravo to her
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Sheelah Kolhatkar’s Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street is the story of what may be the most important insider trading case of all time. The case against Steven Cohen and SAC Capital is complicated and involves a lot of different people. Although prosecutors were able to make a case against some of Cohen’s traders, they were never able to conclusively prove that Cohen himself traded on inside information. If nothing else, th ...more
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it
One of those books where Ivy-educated lawyers adjust their silk ties as they stride across the worn marble floors of courthouses just a few blocks from the tony addresses where they grew up and attended prestigious private schools that were the training grounds of Manhattan's elite, unlike their clients, who grew up at the bottom rung of Long Island's etc. etc. you've read it before. But for all that perfectly fine.
Rob Woodbridge
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is eerily similar to Bobby Axelrod and the Billions plot lines. So good.
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
(Reviewer's Note: I just wrote a more in depth review of this book on my weekly book blog. If you like this review and would like to read more, click on the following link:

The 2008 financial crisis laid bare how greed and fraud had taken over Wall St. nearly bankrupting the country in the process. Hedge funds in particular were singled out for stock market speculation that served very little purpose, yet commanded huge amounts of capital and salaries for
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Very engaging, as exciting as any good financial / legal thriller, a real page-turner. It’s about an FBI / SEC investigation aimed at bringing down Steven Cohen, a highly successful hedge fund manager admired as a semi-god on Wall Street, and his sleazy firm, SAC Capital, being notorious for insider trading. Without disputing the evident financial genius of Cohen he seems to have built SAC Capital around gaining and trading on the basis of ‘black edge’ i.e. information not available to the publi ...more
Bryan Schwartz
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sheelah Kolhatkar does several things very well. She tells a compelling and thoroughly researched story of Wall Street greed, she makes complicated financial jargon accessible to a layman, and she vividly illustrates the corrupt lives of hedge fund moguls and unscrupulous white shoe lawyers.

And yet, I have a few complaints (gripes?) that prevent me from giving Black Edge a full five stars.

First, and while this is an incredibly minor point, humor me...

I hate the way that Kolhatkar (or her edit
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fast-paced, informative and highly readable. The author is clearly familiar with the subject matter and tells the story very well. If you're not so interested in financial markets or if it bothers you to read about unseemly people making obscene fortunes then this may not be the book for you.

Steven A. Cohen, the hedge fund industry, U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District, SEC and FBI combine to make a compelling narrative. Kolhatkar's strength is her knowledge of the hedge fund world
Jerry Peace
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you're of the 1%, read this book and laugh your ass off at how stupid we 99%ers are. If you're of the 99%, read this only if you enjoy flaying yourself with the criminal impunity of the 1%. A quote-"There was no [moral] code at all, nothing beyond a shared lust for making money." And the double whammy- not only is criminality rampant both on Wall Street and within our corporate structure, it is winked at by the feds. The SEC have had their teeth removed, sans dentures, and prosecutors are so ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, non-fiction, audio
I started this on my kindle and ended on audio. This gave me a lot more insight into the financial world and a lot of the layered corruption that goes on there. I'm definitely not going to quit my day job and become a trader after reading this as I'm still pretty confused about how hedge funds work, but I do have a better grasp now. My favorite part of the book was the behind the scenes look at law enforcement going after insider trading. When Martha Stewart's case went down in all seemed so qui ...more
Daniel Simmons
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A financial thriller that is (very unfortunately, given the bad-guys-win conclusion) nonfiction. Even the most casual reader of business news will find the overall thrust of this book -- very rich people get what they want -- not so surprising; what DID surprise me, however, was just how incredibly difficult it is for authorities to bring rich baddies to justice, even when proof of their illegal behavior seems virtually incontrovertible. I'm no Wall Street aficionado but Kolhatkar's a terrific w ...more
Milo Geyelin
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the best non-fiction legal thriller I've read since "A Civil Action." Not as well written as that book and not as many twists and turns as in that story, but still a gripping read, even if you are familiar with most of the details from news coverage at the time. I still highly recommend this book.
Gabriel Pinkus
Well-worth the read if you're interested in securities law, the SEC, finance, insider trading, etc., especially post-2008/2009 reforms to see how things have changed (and more importantly, how they haven't).
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well written and well researched and weirdly endlessly entertaining. Think it has general interest even if not connected to finance or law. To extent author has agenda w/r to subject it's not overt at all.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Sheelah Kolhatkar's August 27, 2018 article in The New Yorker titled "Paul Singer, Doomsday Investor" and I was hooked by not only the story, but also her story-telling ability. Thus I came across her book 'Black Edge' which is a well-written and well-told story about the shadier side of the hedge fund industry, specifically about an obscure hedge fund company called SAC Capital that in its heyday few people outside powerful circles in Wall Street had heard of. Even more interesting is th ...more
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I followed all the pieces of this story when it was in the news but it was nice to have it all in one place. This is a nice intro into hedge funds, insider trading, and financial crimes. It's a fun fast read.
Oct 13, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is probably better than 3 stars, but the whole Wall Street/finance industry is one I’m completely naive about .. so overall a little dry for me. I did learn about hedge funds though!
Eric Franklin
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gripping account of one of the most successful hedge funds of all time. If you've enjoyed Michael Lewis books about the financial industry, this one will be right up your alley. Unfortunately, the real-world story arc does not get its desired Hollywood finish, although it's all super interesting and cautionary. Watch out for the sharks my friends, especially the multi-million dollar, modern art collecting ones.
Jaak Ennuste
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Now I know why I did not make money with AMD stock. Despite of it's superior performance, compared to their arc rival Intel. Why then? Somebody had an edge. Some had a Black Edge. Somebody, who has billions to trade and always wins.

Long journalistic story, not so much a novel.
May 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a straightforward procedural about the insider trading done at Steve Cohen's hedge fund, S.A.C. I'm about halfway through and will probably not finish, since I have about a dozen other books I want to read right now. [Update: I finished it a few days after writing this.]

There was a fun anecdote near the beginning about Cohen bidding against another Wall Streeter for a $14 mil house. The other financial manager offered him $1 mil to walk away and Cohen said, "What am I going to do with a
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Sheelah Kolhatkar, a former hedge fund analyst, is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where she writes about Wall Street, Silicon Valley and politics among other things. She has appeared as a speaker and commentator on business and economics issues at conferences and on broadcast outlets including CNBC, Bloomberg Television, Charlie Rose, PBS NewsHour, WNYC and NPR. Her writing has also appeared in ...more

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