Flash Boys, first book of the year

Moneyball and The Big Short are great movies and I wish that they would make Flash Boys, the latest book I've read, into a film but they won't and that's for another post.

After watching and loving The Big Short I was reminded that the story was written by the same author that also wrote Money Ball, Michael Lewis. Really liking those films one of my colleagues suggested I read Flash Boys another great Michael Lewis book.

I went through the book almost as fast as a High Frequency Trading algorithm soaking up every word and event. It is a captivating book and something I wish I had read when we built StockTwits. StockTwits is a niche social network built around sharing stock information in real time.

Flash Boys is about the change of the traditional stock market as we know it (people trading with people) into the computer to computer based high frequency trading that exists today. Back in 2009 we always knew that playing stocks was a suckers game and the real money was being made by programmatic computer trades but how all this was happening and came about was mostly unknown to me and most of the world. Even the investors and day traders rarely had a clue how it all worked. We sold our StockTwits data knowing that companies like in the book would buy it to feed into black boxes to make trades on information gleaned from it. The buyers of the data wouldn't tell you what they were doing with the data but would just pay you for it. Little did I know at the time that speed was the key and what the HFT firms were buying. Any little edge to one up the competition.

The hero of the book and someone, if the events in the book are true, we should be praising is Brad Katsuyama the ex-RBC trader and current founder of IEX. He does his best to give everyday investors a fighting chance and really figures out what a lot of investors and banks didn't even know at the time. It will amaze you the attitude of some banks and investors even when they know they are getting taken advantage of to do business as usual.

If you’re into the stocks, the market, or technology this is a fascinating book. It’s a tech story without being exactly about technology and about some huge historical change that ends up affecting us all. Read it, you will not be disappointed.

This is my first book of the year and really happy it was suggested to me. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to get to reading the other two other books by Lewis.

Next book up is the recently released Retire Inspired by Chris Hogan.