Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

FlashBoys

Summary:

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 more controlled by the big Wall Street banks. Working at different firms, they come to this realization separately; but after they discover one another, the flash boys band together and set out to reform the financial markets. This they do by creating an exchange in which high-frequency trading—source of the most intractable problems—will have no advantage whatsoever.

The characters in Flash Boys are fabulous, each completely different from what you think of when you think “Wall Street guy.” Several have walked away from jobs in the financial sector that paid them millions of dollars a year. From their new vantage point they investigate the big banks, the world’s stock exchanges, and high-frequency trading firms as they have never been investigated, and expose the many strange new ways that Wall Street generates profits.

The light that Lewis shines into the darkest corners of the financial world may not be good for your blood pressure, because if you have any contact with the market, even a retirement account, this story is happening to you. But in the end, Flash Boys is an uplifting read. Here are people who have somehow preserved a moral sense in an environment where you don’t get paid for that; they have perceived an institutionalized injustice and are willing to go to war to fix it. (Summary and book cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This book was fascinating.  I highly recommend it to everyone who would like to have reasonable working knowledge of what has happened in the past decade in the stock market.  What made this book so awesome was the way Lewis was able to take extremely complex problems and explain them in a way that even non-technical people could understand.  And without, which was key, getting bogged down or too wordy.  This book was a great example of weaving practical, working knowledge, with the personal stories of the main players involved.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who Should Read It?  Anyone who would like an explanation for some of the drama that has happened with the stock market in recent years.