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

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4.21  ·  Rating details ·  5,660 ratings  ·  417 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
...more
Hardcover, 295 pages
Published February 7th 2017 by Random House
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4.21  · 
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 ·  5,660 ratings  ·  417 reviews


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Pouting Always
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
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
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Trish
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:
http://www.npr.org/2017/02/07/5138963...

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
...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
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Rohit Enghakat
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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
...more
Aharon
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.
Christopher
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: https://tobereadnow.blogspot.com/2017...)

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
...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).
Jill
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.
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
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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
Louis
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
Lisa
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, kindle, 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
Shoti
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
David Quinn
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
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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.
Amanda
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!
Mac
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good storyteller...Though I was not familiar with Ms Kolhatkar's writing before, I can see from Black Edge that she knows how to tell a story. She frames the book around a central concept that's easy to grasp--the hedge funds' relentless pursuit of "edge," especially "black edge," which is illegal inside information. She creates a sense of narrative drive with lots of dialogue and plenty of details plus a good mix of dramatic courtroom confrontations so the book becomes something of a page-tur ...more
Brian
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
(4.0) Easy to follow narrative of the (so far) failed attempt to punish the kingpin insider trader--Stephen Cohen

There are a lot of people in this narrative, from the SEC, FBI, as well as the network of contributors to Stephen Cohen's incredible ability to not only make the right trades, but at the exact right time. Despite these many people to keep track of, Kohatkar has structured the book effectively, so that we never get lost. Others may disagree, but I didn't feel that this book could've be
...more
Stacy Bearse
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Kolhatkar couples the skills of an outstanding investigative journalist with the voice of an accomplished storyteller to produce a business book that reads like a thriller. The subject is hedge funds, those mysterious financial organizations that aim to combine long and short selling to reap enormous profits. In financial parlance, the "black edge" is a bit of inside information - not available to the public - that foreshadows a change in the price of an equity. Acting on these tips, or "insider ...more
Mehrsa
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.
Lynda
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
Cristobal
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I consider myself a libertarian who is all for freer markets but the way financial services are regulated and how financial fraud is prosecuted just makes me cringe. It's not only that the law gives basically no weapons to prosecutors and strictly reduces their scope to act, but also the massive money that financiers have to lobby for more deregulation and to set-up an Avenger style legal superhero team any time the government brings a complaint against them.

"Black Edge" tells the story of this
...more
John
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure - read this book only because it was a gift. Updated full disclosure - what a great gift it was. In my wildest imagination I could not conceive how the events depicted in Black Edge could be made exciting on paper. Stacy Keach narration - sure, sounds great. A thick book with small font - no way.

After reading the first chapter in the voice of the aforementioned Mr. Keach, the book took off on its own and quickly became one of those 'I'm so tired. I couldn't put the book down and
...more
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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
“— The opening argument was one of Devlin-Brown’s favorite parts of a trial. In a case like this, it was sometimes all that mattered. The U.S. Attorney’s Office had a formula for it, a system that was passed down through generations of prosecutors. It started with what they called “the grab”—a quick, two-minute summary of the case, meant to capture the jury’s attention. The grab could begin in one of two ways. The first was with a big thematic idea, as in, “This is a case about greed.” Devlin-Brown preferred what he called the “It was a dark and stormy night” beginning, which dropped the jurors right into a dramatic scene. Just like in a movie. On this day, his version began with, “It was July of 2008.” He spoke in a gentle, even voice. “Mathew Martoma, the defendant, was one of about a thousand people packed into a crowded Chicago convention hall waiting for an expert on Alzheimer’s disease to take the stage.” Sidney Gilman, he explained, was at an international Alzheimer’s conference to unveil the results of a hotly anticipated drug trial. The results of” 0 likes
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