Publisher: Allen Lane
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
– Edmund Burke
So the suspicions were right, it would appear. The US stock markets were rigged, controlled by a select few individuals. And if not all, atleast some of the biggest guys on Wall Street were in the know, actively participating in this money-spinning venture. Perhaps this whole scheme would have gone on indefinitely, swindling big & small investors alike of billions unless someone stood up for what was right.
And the few good men did. Brad Katsuyama & his bunch of Wall Street misfits – an eccentric outfit by all means – decided it was time for things to set right, to give everyone a fair chance to prosper in the market. ‘Flash Boys’ is their story – not dissimilar to ‘Moneyball’, another of Michael Lewis‘ books (about the baseball team Oakland A’s) – a story about taking on the big boys while enforcing a systemic change in the way the game is played.
Given the often-mediocre kind of books that are peddled in the name of being a bestselling sensation nowadays, it is difficult not to be skeptical when such a book comes along. However, if there was a book that deserved this moniker, ‘Flash Boys’ would indeed be a strong contender if not a clear winner.
Michael Lewis is a wonderful storyteller – for what matters the most in his books is the story itself & the rest is pretty much secondary. For even a common reader who has no background in understanding financial markets will not lose track of the engrossing tale Lewis attempts to delineate – the motives behind the actions of every individual who either tries to support or suppress the initiative by Katsuyama & co. Even the sorry tale of the Russian computer programmer Sergei Aleynikov, whose arrest made headlines a few years ago (and eventually inspired the writing of this book), is symptomatic of the underlying problems of the US financial framework.
Even though ‘Flash Boys’ is not the kind of book I’d usually read, Michael Lewis‘ powers of narration are what make it a triumph. So even if the business books genre doesn’t strictly fall within the realm of your tastes, this one deserves a strong recommendation solely because at its very essence, it is the good ol’ David versus Goliath tale in the backdrop of Wall Street.
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