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Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis
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Flash Boys Quotes Showing 1-30 of 110
“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.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“When something becomes obvious to you,” he said, “you immediately think surely someone else is doing this.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“Shining a light creates shadows,”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“A man got to have a code. - Omar Little”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
tags: code, man
“The best way to manage people, he thought, was to convince them that you were good for their careers. He further believed that the only way to get people to believe that you were good for their careers was actually to be good for their careers.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“The U.S. financial markets had always been either corrupt or about to be corrupted.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“It was like a broken slot machine in the casino that pays off every time. It would keep paying off until someone said something about it; but no one who played the slot machine had any interest in pointing out that it was broken.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“Dark pools were another rogue spawn of the new financial marketplace. Private stock exchanges, run by the big brokers, they were not required to reveal to the public what happened inside them. They reported any trade they executed, but they did so with sufficient delay that it was impossible to know exactly what was happening in the broader market at the moment the trade occurred.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“People no longer are responsible for what happens in the market, because computers make all the decisions.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“Every systemic market injustice arose from some loophole in a regulation created to correct some prior injustice.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“Thus the only Goldman Sachs employee arrested by the FBI in the aftermath of a financial crisis Goldman had done so much to fuel was the employee Goldman asked the FBI to arrest.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“The U.S. stock market now trades inside black boxes, in heavily guarded buildings in New Jersey and Chicago.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“The markets were now run by technology, but the technologists were still treated like tools. Nobody bothered to explain the business to them, but they were forced to adapt to its demands and exposed to its failures—which was, perhaps, why there had been so many more conspicuous failures.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
“We tried to trademark proximity, but you can’t because it’s a word,”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“Once very smart people are paid huge sums of money to exploit the flaws in the financial system, they have the spectacularly destructive incentive to screw the system up further, or to remain silent as they watch it being screwed up by others. The cost, in the end, is a tangled-up financial system. Untangling it requires acts of commercial heroism—and even then the fix might not work. There was simply too much more easy money to be made by elites if the system worked badly than if it worked well. The whole culture had to want to change. “We know how to cure this,” as Brad had put it. “It’s just a matter of whether the patient wants to be treated.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“Russians had a reputation for being the best programmers on Wall Street, and Serge thought he knew why: They had been forced to learn to program computers without the luxury of endless computer time. Many years later, when he had plenty of computer time, Serge still wrote out new programs on paper before typing them into the machine. “In Russia, time on the computer was measured in minutes,” he said. “When you write a program, you are given a tiny time slot to make it work.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“He further believed that the only way to get people to believe that you were good for their careers was actually to be good for their careers.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“I’d thought it strange, after the financial crisis, in which Goldman had played such an important role, that the only Goldman Sachs employee who had been charged with any sort of crime was the employee who had taken something from Goldman Sachs.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“The deep problem with the system was a kind of moral inertia. So long as it served the narrow self-interests of everyone inside it, no one on the inside would ever seek to change it, no matter how corrupt or sinister it became—though even to use words like “corrupt” and “sinister” made serious people uncomfortable, and so Brad avoided them.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“After the meeting, RBC conducted a study, never released publicly, in which they found that more than two hundred SEC staffers since 2007 had left their government jobs to work for high-frequency trading firms or the firms that lobbied Washington”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“Reg NMS was intended to create equality of opportunity in the U.S. stock market. Instead it institutionalized a more pernicious inequality. A small class of insiders with the resources to create speed were now allowed to preview the market and trade on what they had seen.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“Someone out there was using the fact that stock market orders arrived at different times at different exchanges to front-run orders from one market to another.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“The U.S. stock market was now a class system, rooted in speed, of haves and have-nots. The haves paid for nanoseconds; the have-nots had no idea that a nanosecond had value.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“The same system that once gave us subprime mortgage collateralized debt obligations no investor could possibly truly understand now gave us stock market trades that occurred at fractions of a penny at unsafe speeds using order types that no investor could possibly truly understand.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“The role had been spawned by the widespread belief that traders didn’t know how to talk to computer geeks and that computer geeks did not respond rationally to big, hairy traders hollering at them.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“Talking to a programmer type about the trading business was a bit like talking to the house plumber at work in the basement about the card game the Mafia don was running upstairs.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“The old Soviet culture also left its former citizens oddly prepared for Wall Street in the early twenty-first century. The Soviet-controlled economy was horrible and complicated but riddled with loopholes. Everything was scarce; everything was also gettable, if you knew how to get it. “We had this system for seventy years,” said Constantine. “People learn to work around the system. The more you cultivate a class of people who know how to work around the system, the more people you will have who know how to do it well. All of the Soviet Union for seventy years were people who are skilled at working around the system.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“After the markets closed Vinny would get into his Cadillac and drive out to his big house in Long Island. Now there is the guy called Vladimir who gets into his jet and flies to his estate in Aspen for the weekend. I used to worry a little about Vinny. Now I worry a lot about Vladimir.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“I’m doing something I always dreamed about doing, and it was about the most depressing moment I’ve ever had in my life,”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys
“Every day, the markets were driven less directly by human beings and more directly by machines. The machines were overseen by people, of course, but few of them knew how the machines worked. He knew that RBC’s machines—not the computers themselves, but the instructions to run them—were third-rate, but he had assumed it was because the company’s new electronic trading unit was bumbling and inept. As he interviewed people from the major banks on Wall Street, he came to realize that they had more in common with RBC than he had supposed. “I’d always been a trader,” he said. “And as a trader you’re kind of inside a bubble. You’re just watching your screens all day. Now I stepped back and for the first time started to watch other traders.” He had a good friend who traded stocks at a big-time hedge fund in Stamford, Connecticut, called SAC Capital. SAC Capital was famous (and soon to be infamous) for being one step ahead of the U.S. stock market. If anyone was going to know something about the market that Brad didn’t know, he figured, it would be them. One spring morning he took the train up to Stamford and spent the day watching his friend trade. Right away he saw that, even though his friend was using technology given to him by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley and the other big firms, he was experiencing exactly the same problem as RBC: The market on his screens was no longer the market. His friend would hit a button to buy or sell a stock and the market would move away from him. “When I see this guy trading and he was getting screwed—I now see that it isn’t just me. My frustration is the market’s frustration. And I was like, Whoa, this is serious.” Brad’s problem wasn’t just Brad’s problem. What people saw when they looked at the U.S. stock market—the numbers on the screens of the professional traders, the ticker tape running across the bottom of the CNBC screen—was an illusion. “That’s when I realized the markets are rigged. And I knew it had to do with the technology. That the answer lay beneath the surface of the technology. I had absolutely no idea where. But that’s when the lightbulb went off that the only way I’m going to find out what’s going on is if I go beneath the surface.”
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys

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