Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

Michael Lewis

Book cover

As many others have commented in reviews, this book is entertaining, but not near the level of “Liar’s Poker” or “Moneyball.” However, I would also say that it was more informative than I expected it to be. I think of myself as knowing a reasonable amount about high frequency trading (and have even talked with a guy from a HFT firm about it), but I definitely learned some new things from this book.

I also agree with many other reviews that Lewis tries a bit too hard to push the “hurting the little guy” angle, when it is far from clear (to me at least) that HFT in fact does that. The most significant impact of HFT is on large block trades, which are not normally relevant to retail investors. My mental model is that HFT has mostly taken profits away from other financial sector players rather than retail investors.

The (supporting) character of Sergey Aleynikov is a very interesting one. Almost worth reading for his story alone.

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars