Book Review: Flash Boys

Michael Lewis, of Liar’s Poker and The Big Short fame, has written a book on the world of High Frequency Trading. The booked is called Flash Boys and it’s more or less as entertaining has Lewis’s recent books.  That’s a good thing, even if it doesn’t quite reach the highs of Liar’s Poker (which you absolutely must buy if you haven’t read it before.)

In some ways I’m surprised more hasn’t come of Flash Boys – when it was published there was some noise about investigations and hearings into the allegations in the book.  I’m not aware that any of that led to anything. However,  my reaction should give you an idea of how explosive the allegations in the book are. I went from misunderstand HFT as a algorithm based approach to trading based on patterns in the data to (probably still misunderstanding) HFT as a parasitic arms race against “regular investors” who are potentially losing money to at least some of the HFT firms without any tangible benefit.

Read the book just to open your mind to the possibilities and for a new appreciation of the speed of light through glass.

Published by David Kirk

David Kirk runs Milliman’s actuarial consulting practice in Africa. He is an actuary and is the creator of New Business Margin on Revenue. He specialises in risk and capital management, regulatory change and insurance strategy . He also has extensive experience in embedded value reporting, insurance-related IFRS and share option valuation. He has been involved in significant insurance projects across Sub Saharan Africa and in the Middle East.