Flash Boys has been one of the best-selling non-fiction books this year, and for good reason. Michael Lewis attempts to open up the opaque, confusing, and ever-changing world of High-Frequency Trading (HFT), and expose it for what it is (spoiler alert: it’s hi-tech scalping). Lewis makes his case by interweaving three fairly unconnected stories of people involved in the HFT world: one Good Guy and two Sort Of Ambiguous Guys.
Lewis is great at telling a story and making it compelling, accessible, and human. Some people who are looking for very granular information on the specifics on HFT may find the book a bit slow, but I thought it was a fun and informative listen. The book may also end up having far-reaching impact: US legislators have started taking action against dark pools, which receive extended discussion in the book (though of course it is not easy to assess how much of this is attributable to increased focus on the issue from the book, and how much to other factors). Pretty exciting: long-form journalism may well be an important force for drawing attention to things that can be improved!