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Dark Pools: The rise of A.I. trading machines and the looming threat to Wall Street [Kindle Edition]

Scott Patterson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

Dark Pools is the pacy, revealing, and profoundly chilling tale of how global markets have been hijacked by trading robots – many so self-directed that humans can’t predict what they’ll do next.It’s the story of the blisteringly intelligent computer programmers behind the rise of these ‘bots’. And it’s a timely warning that as artificial intelligence gradually takes over, we could be on the verge of global meltdown.

‘Scott Patterson has the ability to see things you and I don’t notice.’ Nassim Nicholas Taleb, New York Times bestselling author of Antifragile, Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan

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Product Description


"As an exposition of Wall Street nerdcraft, Dark Pools truly delivers ... Patterson's tales of ingenuity and cunning read like a spy novel." (Jon Ihle Sunday Business Post)

"Gruelling and terrifying, Patterson questions the future of the human inquisitve mind." (European CEO)

Book Description

A chilling look at the rise of artificial intelligence in the financial markets

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 863 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (17 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008LW1ZVC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #84,273 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It might sound strange saying this about a book on financial markets, but I found the book a real page turner. It was also very thought provoking. I'm glad I read it.

That said, the structure of the book is rather confusing. There is a narrative in there somewhere I'm sure, but it reads just like a series of (admittedly interesting) anecdotes. There are also some sections towards the end that read suspiciously like there were just inserted to get the page count up (the section on 'big data' for example). I also noticed the style of writing was a lot more tabloid than in his previous book (The Quants - which I really enjoyed). This isn't to my personal taste.

That said, it's a fascinating topic, so he gets away with the above flaws in my opinion.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylistically wanting; factually chillling 24 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The machines apparently now have the power to pauperise us all -- or at least most of us. The message in Patterson's book is chilling -- and confirms to those who may have been wavering that stock markets are rigged, in favour of the house, with the punters perennially doomed to see their money whittled away by charges, slow execution and lack of information.

Patterson's book has echoes of Roger Lowenstein's When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long Term Capital Management and Michael Lewis's Liar's Poker (Hodder Great Reads). Stylistically it is well behind both, with Patterson's irritating business magazine punctuation and syntax doing his exposition no service. But when your mind becomes numb to the stylistic/linguistic quirks, the book is an excellent exposition of the way that the markets have changed beyond all recognition in the past twenty years. If the public were to appreciate the the way that the financial markets are now run the weight of anger might just bring the system tumbling down: here is the reason for under performing pensions and casino banking. This book and others like it have the potential to do great service: if more people read this book then maybe a better-informed public would demand change.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read with a misleading title 4 Feb. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent historical recount how the machines took over from people in the stock (and other) markets. It tells the stories of a handful of people who transformed the complete market despite of the wishes of the big players (i.e. the exchanges).
The title is misleading, as the book does not deal with dark pools.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having some previous interest in computer algorithms and having a doing bit of unrelated dabbling in the stock market some years ago, without understanding how it all really worked under the bonnet (or hood, even), I found this book to be an eye-opener. The author simplifies the computational aspects but I could still relate to the programs the high frequency traders were trying to operate which gave me confidence that his description of the "plumbing" of the stock markets and dark pools, of which I was previously ignorant, was also technically accurate.
A bizarre picture of the antics of stock exchanges, traders, market makers etc. either conspiring or competing to skim their slim profits of perhaps 0.01 penny off each share trade emerges. The computer pioneers in the beginning (1990's) had an altruistic aim of bypassing the delays and mild corruption problems in the old human and telephone oriented share trading system. The necessary hardware and infrastructure was gradually installed to allow this to happen, up to 2000 say, initially beneficially reducing the costs and execution time of trading. But they didn't anticipate than once the system was fully automated and the human trader finally eliminated, crafty programmers would devise and release "rogue" algorithms that would excel in all the old human trader tricks, such as front-running, only the computers could do this better and millions of times faster. This action typically operated in the new dark pools that the public could not access. Finally the whole system has now became so complicated that no one really understands exactly what is going on.
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By A. I. Mackenzie VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a quick read and makes a nice companion to Flash Boys which deals with the later period of electronic trading.
It begins with smaller traders spotting a technological edge - trading directly electronically. Levine is the technical genius for one of the firms. It then digresses onto Artificial Intelligence and Genetic algorithms used to develop better trading strategies than humans can develop unaided.

It generally good journalistically and makes for an exciting read but fails to give much of a technical explanation of why The Island system was better than others - why was its availability better? Scott Patterson isn't technical.
The book would benefit from someone that understood both the technology and the markets.

Nevertheless a good history of the origins of High Frequency trading, worth a read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too journalist in style 4 July 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I think it covers a lot of themes which are not mentioned by the FLASH BOY from Michael Lewis. It's helpful as a reminder to today's investor and strategist to not forget the quants driver behind. Nevertheless, too many unnecessary narratives seem only aim make story horrible and simply to impress innocent readers about the greedy far as I see, the author has not learnt how to be greedy in this space though morally we stand against that....

Excellent reading includes: The beginning of the book about how the option trader found he's been ripped off; the entrepreneur part about how Levine fighter other vested interests....the second part are not conclusive and just written to scar people, I would say.
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