Will Flash Boys Save Wall Street?


Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis hit my Kindle Fire HDX 7″ sometime after midnight EDT, and it took an act of will for me not to spend the rest of the night reading it. I suspect there were plenty of business journalists and Wall Street movers and shakers who didn’t have the luxury of going back to bed. This book may well change things.

I knew that when I saw a Financial Times article three days ago, titled “‘Flash Boys’ starts Wall St Soul Searching” by Arash Massoudi and Tracy Alloway. The story said that Lewis, the author of Liar’s Poker and The Big Short, “is spurring industry participants to change their approach to a business that has revolutionized stock markets.” This was before the book was even released!

The revolutionizing business that Lewis’s new book may well upend uses lightning fast trading systems that, the FT reports, “have grown to dominate a fractured terrain where multiple exchanges and ban-run trading platforms compete for orders.” In the two weeks before today’s release, Massoudi and Alloway write, “Goldman Sachs has suddenly thrown its weight behind market reform after years of investment in HFT (high frequency trading) and taken the unusual step of telling staff to publicise its support for a competing trading platform.”

I spotted this alternate take on Lewis’s exposé at Business Insider, and who knows? Maybe a fix would be worse than the problem. In any event, this book is going to generate a ton of smart commentary.

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