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Flash Boys - The Book

Flash Boys was written by Michael Lewis, an American author and financial journalist. The original full title of the book was Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, and it was written in 2014.

Flash Boys book cover

What is Flash Boys about?

Flash Boys is a non-fiction book by Michael Lewis, published in 2014. The book investigates the phenomenon of high frequency trading (HFT) in the US financial markets, and explores the various impacts HFT has on the integrity of these markets.

The book follows several individuals, including former Royal Bank of Canada trader, Brad Katsuyama.

The book argues that HFT allows traders with advanced technology to gain an unfair advantage over other investors, and that this has contributed to a lack of trust in the financial markets.

Who is Brad Katsuyama?

Brad Katsuyama is the co-founder of Investors Exchange (IEX), a US stock exchange which aims to limit the effects of high frequency trading (HFT).

While working as a trader at the Royal Bank of Canada, Brad Katsuyama became aware of the impact of HFT on the integrity and fairness of the US financial markets, and in 2012 he left that role to co-found Investors Exchange (IEX). IEX uses a proprietary speed bump to slow down trading and prevent HFT traders from gaining an unfair advantage.

What is Michael Lewis' background?

Born in New Orleans on 15 October 1960, Michael Lewis went to Princeton University to study art history, and later gained a Master’s at the London School of Economics (LSE). From there he moved to the investment bank Salomon Brothers, where is worked as a bond salesman. It is here that he gained first-hand knowledge of the financial industry, the subject of some of his most famous books.

Michael Lewis author and journalist
Michael Lewis © Rex Features via AP Images

After leaving Salomon Brothers, Michael Lewis became a successful writer, receiving the National Book Award, amongst others. He has also worked as a financial journalist, receiving the Gerald Loeb Award for Business Journalism, and has taught financial journalism classes at the University of California, Berkeley.

Was Flash Boys a success?

Flash Boys was a commercial and critical success, and was praised for helping to bring attention to the issue of high frequency trading (HFT) and its impact on the financial industry.

Has Michael Lewis written other books about trading?

Michael Lewis’ others books about trading include Boomerang, Liar’s Poker and The Big Short. The Big Short was made into a 2015 film of the same name, directed by Adam McKay, with a star-studded line-up including Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt.

He is also famous for his books about politics (The Fifth Risk and Losers), Silicon Valley (The New New Thing), baseball (Moneyball and Coach) and American football (The Blind Side).

His latest book, The Premonition, was published in 2021. In it he explores the US’ early response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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