Flash Boys – by Michael Lewis

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Flash Boys – by Michael Lewis, 271 pps., (2014)

 

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What I found most amazing about this book

This book is pertinent because it highlights a segment of the financial world that seems to have a great propensity to make money regardless of consequences.  Just the concept of spending the time and investment to install a “super speedy” stock trading line from (Point A to Point B) Chicago to New Jersey is amazing.

What I DIDN’T like about this book

It’s not something I didn’t like about the book, but rather the unlikeable tendency we humans have.  That is – the built-in greed button to “WIN at all costs” and the extent to which we can risk everything we have in order to satisfy that urge to make a buck.  It ends up costing ourselves and others (who entrust us with their investment capital).

Whom would I recommend to read this book

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in working in any capacity in the stock trade.  It is both eye-opening and a great discourse (as always in Michael Lewis books), on the “game within the game.”  It is both any exciting read and makes the reader twice about what might be going on in his or her trusted trader’s investment strategy…

Any thoughts?

-A.N.

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Conspiracy of Fools – by Kurt Eichenwald

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Conspiracy of Fools

by –  Kurt Eichenwald, 675 pgs.

What I found most amazing about this book

It was interesting to revisit the new millennium – a time when the U.S.A.’s company heads were spending like drunken sailors, startups were hideously overvalued and debt- laden without revenues, and the world appeared to be at everyone’s feet.  This was termed the dot com boom days. Of course, it didn’t last.  Nothing this hedonistic could have lasted long.  Within a few years of 2000, most were brought to a grinding halt – as a result of economically unwise strategies and reckless errors. 

It is now 2017 and history appears to be repeating itself.  Despite the fact that we recently experienced two economic crises – the dot com bust in 2000-02, AND the Great Recession in 2008-09 – we have yet to fully learn from the error of our ways.  What should have changed our ways permanently seems to have eluded us in favor of more greed and arrogance. For the most part, our collective capitalist memories seem to have been wiped clean after each recovery – only to repeat similar (and sometimes worse) actions in later years. 

We should try harder to never forget that we are not the only economic empire to ever exist in history.  It’s so easy to become complacent with the belief that we can always “pull through the next one.”  I guess we’ll only truly realize this when we experience the event that becomes too catastrophic from which to recover.  At any rate, this book is a great reminder of what happens to those who operate without thinking about the consequences of their actions.

What I DIDN’T like about this book

I liked pretty much everything about this book.  I think it was interesting, well researched and a smooth read. 

Whom would I recommend to read this book

This book is a great read for any adult who has an interest in learning about the true story of a seemingly normal Fortune 50 company which was hijacked by corporate greed and steered into destruction. It’s easy to forget about all of the family members of every employee who are affected by such incompetence and selfishness.  Retirement accounts are squandered, college plans vaporize and innocent futures are never the same again. This is all the result of self-inflicted wounds and the inability to stop deviant behavior despite combined years of executive education and experience.  By not having (or choosing to circumvent) a system of “checks and balances,” it is easy to get so many people (innocent and not so innocent) become ensnared in a colossal and deadly spiral. 

Any thoughts?

-A.N.

 

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