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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back on Form
Michael Lewis, as a former Salomon Brothers bond trader, has a perspective on the financial markets that other journalists do not. He also writes fluently, and is skilled at taking complex and obscure subjects and explaining them clearly. Of his books, Liar's Poker and The Big Short are terrific, whereas Boomerang seemed to me as if it had been rushed out and rather...
Published 10 months ago by Andy Hayler

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good journalism, but somewhat unsatisfying
Michael Lewis is trying to explain the inner workings of the stock markets to a broad audience. If you are a finance professional, the book lacks the kind of detail that would make it really satisfying. There is a much bigger story here than just the IEX founders and a lot of other characters and institutions are glossed over very lightly. The exchanges in particular and...
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back on Form, 9 April 2014
By 
Andy Hayler "prose_lover" (London England) - See all my reviews
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Michael Lewis, as a former Salomon Brothers bond trader, has a perspective on the financial markets that other journalists do not. He also writes fluently, and is skilled at taking complex and obscure subjects and explaining them clearly. Of his books, Liar's Poker and The Big Short are terrific, whereas Boomerang seemed to me as if it had been rushed out and rather lazily edited. Flash Boys marks a return to form, lucidly explaining the hidden world of high frequency trading, and vividly bringing to life the personalities of many of the key players involved in it. It raises very serious questions about the financial system today, as if even more of these were needed.
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars F***ing outrageous and scandalous!, 2 April 2014
By 
Steven Aitchison "Steven Aitchison" (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flash Boys (Hardcover)
I can't believe no one has posted a review saying they are totally outraged by everything this book has documented. The worlds largest banks knowing they are totally ripping off their customers, and getting away with it.

The absolute shocking treatment of Serge Aleynikov by Goldman Sachs infuriated me, and they got away with it with no criminal charges against them, and managed to ruin a guys life in the process. The guy used open source code to write code for Goldman Sachs system, and they didn't allow him to deposit that code back, as is the etiquette of open source. However when he downloaded the code he had written for Goldman Sachs, they called in the FBI who flung him in Jail in 2010 - TOTALLY CORRUPT. You might say, there's always two sides to the story, but wait until you read it.....

Okay, outrage over.....

The book is jaw droppingly good. I honestly could not put it down, and all the while I was reading it I kept on saying 'no way!'. The people who we entrust our money to every single day are so corrupt it's beyond believable: that being the banks.

The story itself is about High Frequency Traders (HFTs) and their need for high speed data, before anyone else gets it. The huge banks of America were more than willing to supply these HFTs with information in order to manipulate stock orders placed by unsuspecting clients so that the HFTs could front run them and make money. The HFTs in turn paid for this information in the form of Dark Pools.

Well, a bunch of guys sought to change the practice of high frequency trading,led by Brad Katsuyama and bring a bit of honesty and integrity back to Wall Street. They wanted to open an exchange, IEX, that was not being led or manipulated by HFTs and give their clients real time quotes which they could buy at without the HFTs being involved.

Goldman Sachs, or the two partners who were brought in changed things, somewhat redeemed the name of Goldman Sachs by 'going straight' and using the IEX exchange to do their trading, and yet there was still resistance from the top of Goldman Sachs, because they would be losing money by not having the HFTs front running.

Obviously I am only reading one side of a complicated story, but Michael Lewis has written an excellent book about the inner workings of Wall Street, and he has managed to make complicated material readable to the lay person.

I'm still aghast at everything written about, and I'm by no means a naive person, but this is just incredible.

If you're really interested you should also watch Michael Lewis, Brad Katsuyama and William O'Brien (BATS Exchange) in a heated debate about this, and then make your own mind: [...] up.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book - don't be fooled by negative reviews, 2 April 2014
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This review is from: Flash Boys (Hardcover)
To begin, you should be aware that that the majority of the negative reviews are from people who are (indirectly) being described as stupid or greedy in this book. If you're either stupid or greedy and work in financial services, I agree that you may not like this book.

For everyone else, this is a must read. Lewis has an extremely engaging writing style which makes for a fun read, but the content will leave you speechless. Never before has the greed and dishonesty of the major Wall Street players been so clearly documented.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!, 3 April 2014
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This review is from: Flash Boys (Kindle Edition)
We all suspected something fishy was going on, but exactly what could never be explained to us, until now! Fascinating!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good journalism, but somewhat unsatisfying, 15 April 2014
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This review is from: Flash Boys (Kindle Edition)
Michael Lewis is trying to explain the inner workings of the stock markets to a broad audience. If you are a finance professional, the book lacks the kind of detail that would make it really satisfying. There is a much bigger story here than just the IEX founders and a lot of other characters and institutions are glossed over very lightly. The exchanges in particular and the regulators that created the rules of engagement hardly seem to bear any responsibility for the chaotic market structure that ensued. Where is any mention of the Fed and their view of financial deregulation and its effect on the banks? Why don't we hear more about who the HF traders actually are? The footnote on Citadel and E*Trade could have been a fascinating chapter on its own. It's a good story, but a partial picture at best.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Notes on a scandal., 22 April 2014
By 
Lola (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Flash Boys (Hardcover)
Okay, let's pretend [no, strike that] believe that Michael Lewis is 100% not interested and not biased and he was not taken on weekends away by the Brad Katsuyama and the Royal Bank of Canada to write this book, in which, let's face it, those two are prominently standing good guys in the totally screwed immoral world of Wall Street as we [come to] know it. God, this is scary. The more I read the more I want to keep my money solely invested in the land, as Mark Twain once said "Buy land, they are not making it anymore" - who would be giving their hard-earned cash to be managed by bad guys, by sharks, which are revealed and shamed and red-flagged? How are these banks still in business? Where are the regulators?

Ah Michael Lewis. He has these skills to chew for us the complicated data obtained while he interviews real hard-core engineeres and make technical issues easily understandable (okay, I had to re-read a number of paragraphs, but half a dozen at most!), and he is an amazing story-teller. In "Flash Boys", Lewis applies combination of his talents to explain to us, lay people, the rise and fall (let's hope) of the high-speed trading, the way the technology has been used (and why not?) to create money for people willing to pay for it. Also, somewhat askew moral compass is also a given, therefore the system is abused. And, it seems, always has been.

"Flash Boys" is an amazingly well-told story (it's a page turner!) about yet another economic injustice in the financial world (precisely here: Wall Street) and how a bunch of insiders who figured the "flash" business out decided to reform the broken system by creating a new type of stock exchange - the one that tries to be honest and actually honor it's duties towards their clients (again, does not this sound like a juicy ad for for IEX, this new stock exchange sans dark pools and cheating?).

I think I have become a cynic. But here's hoping Michael Lewis is truly trying to call out and smooth out the injustices made possible by the disproportionate supply of and access to the information. Anyway, what a great read. So great it almost feels like a work of bestselling fiction, not the exposé of the dirty world of high-frequency trading. Sometimes I found myself longing, weirdly enough, for more financial data and mind-boggling statistics to remind me that this is all real. But in the end, I guess it's 5 stars. And juicy stars at that.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shows there are good guys on Wall Street, 6 April 2014
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This review is from: Flash Boys (Hardcover)
Flash Boys is not as balls out funny as some of Lewis's other books like Boomerang but it is still incredibly well written and engaging. Part of the reason for the lack of funny is that this isn't really an amusing subject.

Most of Flash Boys is about how a large number of stock brokers and investors on Wall Street simply did not understand what had happened to the market after the 2008 crash. The book focuses on a Royal Bank of Canada employee who gradually worked out not only that the market was being distorted by High Frequency Traders (HFT) but also uncovered the ways in which the major banks and the stock markets were aiding the HFTs in ripping off ordinary people.

While many people will already be aware that HFT existed (think Robert Harris's novel The Fear Index) what is shocking about the story told in Flash Boys is the way that HFTs were allowed and encouraged to distort the stock market in a way that served no purpose other than to generate money for HFT. You can feel the anger that Lewis feels about this and the anger that many of the people on Wall Street felt. It does have hopeful moments towards the end but overall this is a pretty depressing story about how Wall Street and the regulators of Wall Street fail to act in the interests of a free and open market.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unreliable narrative, but vintage Lewis nonetheless, 6 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Flash Boys (Hardcover)
Like everything Lewis writes, this is a book about an arcane subject matter of limited apparent relevance to most people that is written in such a way as to be very hard to put down. Lewis's secret is to write books about people, and, like his previous work, this is at its heart a biographical study of some oddballs, misfits and eccentrics who set out to change their small corner of the world. The formula is pretty familiar to Lewis fans by now and, as I note below, this one is full of bias and fallacy, but for me this does not diminish the appeal of the book as a gripping page-turner.

Having said that, I found the Lewis formula slightly less convincing in this context than some others - it's certainly not hard to believe that Jim Clarke is a renegade or that Michael Oher is an outsider; but the head of equity trading at RBC? Really? It is inconceivable to me that anyone in the sharp-elbowed, politically ruthless world of Wall St just falls into a $2m-a-year job without having pretty clear and aggressive ambitions to get there. And the other characters, likewise, must have played the game pretty well and been reasonably focussed and compliant to have forged the careers they did.

And Lewis clearly cut corners on his research here. Whether his success has made him lazy, or whether he was more keen on pushing an agenda than reporting facts, I don't know. However, unlike Liar's Poker, whose appeal came from being written by an true insider, this book is written from the point of view of a man whose many decades away from the coal face have left him substantially out of touch with the world he writes about. Combine this with the fact that, by his own admission, he could not get any successful HFTs to talk to him, and you end up with a poorly informed narrative biased by the agendas of its sources. Some of the more glaring errors included the claim that no inside finance knows about HFT (co-location was first explained to me by a Spanish literature student with no connection to finance, back in the late 1990s) and that HFT barely existed prior to 2007 (again, I was interviewing HFT traders back in 2003 and 2004, and most had built substantial careers in that business by that time).

It is a pity that this book is so transparently factually inaccurate, but if read as a novle it is highly entertaining, and something that I would nevertheless recommend to anyone who wasn't likelt to take it too seriously.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Third ace from the author of ‘Liar's Poker’, 1 April 2014
By 
Denis Vukosav - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flash Boys (Kindle Edition)
‘Flash Boys’ written by Michael Lewis is a new book from successful author who three years ago in his book ‘The Big Short’ gave his views on the market crisis continuing the story begun in ‘Liar's Poker’ in which he went all the way to 1980's.

All Lewis books were bestsellers so far, and it’s realistic to expect that similar fate this latest one will experience, regardless that each his release is always accompanied by fragmentation of the audience on those extremely prone and averse to his reflections.

For readers acquainted with the author's previous books, there will not be a greater surprises – ‘Flash Boys’ is somehow typical work with all the characteristics Lewis usually offers that make his actual story to be read like a fiction with regard to how the author skillfully tempers its pace and interweaves several story streams.

In the center of the story is a group of people called ‘Flash Boys’ who realize that the stock market is adjusted in a way that more than ever before is under the control of major Wall Street banks. They figured out that independently working at different companies but after finding out for each other they decided to join together trying to change financial markets by introducing exchange that eliminates advantages of high frequency trading.

Somewhat incredible sounds the story with which the book begins revealed by one of the participants in this story – laying down a special optical cable between Chicago and NYC in order to obtain extra 0.003 of a second off the time it takes information to travel between these two cities, a speed advantage that will be used by Wall Street guys to beat the system.

In a similar style the rest of the book is written that results with reader’s interest and often disbelief allowing a peek behind the scenes of modern trading in which machines do the work much faster than a man could imagine using amazing algorithms that compete among themselves deceiving each other by placing delusion trades.

So if you like previous books of Michael Lewis you will certainly love this one - a good pace, excellent knowledge of discussed topics and skill in creating a coherent story make his latest three hundred pages to fly by in no time leaving reader in anticipation of a new behind-the-scenes market story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flash Classic, 8 May 2014
This review is from: Flash Boys (Hardcover)
No intelligent adult interested in the truth of today's economy can avoid reading a Michael Lewis book and nor should they. Ever since Liar's Poker, Lewis has been pulling the trousers of Wall Street down around its ankles and inviting us to have a peek at the sordid sight. In this respect, Flash Boys joins a long list of unmissable books, and is right there up there with his finest.

While outsiders might find Liar's Poker and the Big Short more relevant, Lewis unearths the bizarre world of the HFT (high frequency traders) who have really taken over since the crash and are skimming the entire stock exchange. How they do this and who found out the truth and did something about it, is the meat of the book - and I won't spoil it. It is too good.

Lewis is expert at decoding and simplifying the arcane and intricate world of Wall Street (and other interesting, financially focussed worlds) and simplifies them so even dumb clucks like me can understand what's happening and shudder. Flash boys takes what seems a minor, hidden phenomenon, and shows us all what the hell is going on. And it ain't pretty at all, You might think this activity is small beer compared to the 2006-2008 scandals - but this move to computer directed trading in the flash of a nano-second may produce scary results that shock us all.

So by all means BUY this book and read it. It will open your eyes, like all Lewis books, and make your head swim. Promise.
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Flash Boys by Michael Lewis
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