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Michael Lewis's expose of high frequency trading, Flash Boys
, has already been mentioned
on the blue, but, unusually for a work of non-fiction it ends with a cliffhanger. At the end of the book, Lewis stares up at a microwave tower in central Pennsylvania that had created a new, faster link between financial markets in Chicago and the East Coast: "I noticed, before we left, a metal plate attached to the fence around the tower
. On it was a Federal Communications Commission license number: 1215095. The number, along with an Internet connection, was enough to lead an inquisitive person to the story behind the tower. The application to use the tower to send a microwave signal had been filed in July 2012, and it had been filed by . . . well, it isn’t possible to keep any of this secret anymore. A day’s journey in cyberspace would lead anyone who wished to know it into another incredible but true Wall Street story, of hypocrisy and secrecy and the endless quest by human beings to gain a certain edge in an uncertain world. All that one needed to discover the truth about the tower was the desire to know it.” Now we know that truth
. [more inside]
Cups and bags at Chipotle (previously
) will now feature stories and essays by famous authors, including Toni Morrison
, George Saunders
, Steven Pinker
, Sarah Silverman
, and Jonathan Safran Foer
, who came up with the idea for the series
and will be curating it as well.
It used to be that when his trading screens showed 10,000 shares of Intel offered at $22 a share, it meant that he could buy 10,000 shares of Intel for $22 a share. He had only to push a button. By the spring of 2007, however, when he pushed the button to complete a trade, the offers would vanish. In his seven years as a trader, he had always been able to look at the screens on his desk and see the stock market. Now the market as it appeared on his screens was an illusion.
In an excerpt/adaption of his new book Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
, Michael Lewis follows Brad Katsuyama from uncovering evidence of high-speed electronic front-running to the founding of the IEX exchange intended to discourage it. The Wolf Hunters of Wall Street
"Twenty five years ago I quit a job on Wall Street to write a book about Wall Street. Since then, every year or so, UPS has delivered to me a book more or less like my own, written by some Wall Street insider and promising to blow the lid off the place, and reveal its inner workings, and so on. By now, you might think, this game should be over. The reading public would know all it needed to know about Wall Street, and the publishing industry would be forced to look to some other industry for shocking confessions from insiders. Somehow this isn't the case
"To understand how air-force navigator Tyler Stark ended up in a thornbush in the Libyan desert in March 2011, one must understand what it’s like to be president of the United States—and this president in particular. Hanging around Barack Obama for six months, in the White House, aboard Air Force One, and on the basketball court, Michael Lewis learns the reality of the Nobel Peace Prize winner who sent Stark into combat
"My case illustrates how success is always rationalized. People really don’t like to hear success explained away as luck—especially successful people. As they age, and succeed, people feel their success was somehow inevitable. They don’t want to acknowledge the role played by accident in their lives. There is a reason for this: the world does not want to acknowledge it either." Michael Lewis's address to the Princeton Class of 2012
The King of Human Error
: Michael Lewis profiles Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman [more inside]
newest piece of financial disaster tourism came out a few days ago, relating his take on California's Bond problems. Some
think that he didn't interview the right experts in the field and that the lesson of the city of Vallejo have already been internalized by city managers.
of the Bankruptcy code, governing municipal bankruptcies has been used less than 600 times since 1937. This means that the case law is still relatively undeveloped. Only in 2009 did it become clear that municipalities could void union contracts for public workers
. [more inside]
"For the Germans the euro isn’t just a currency. It’s a device for flushing the past—another Holocaust Memorial. " Vanity Fair's Michael Lewis checks in with Europe's savior.
"If there were any justice in the world the Greek bankers would be in the streets marching to protest the morals of the ordinary Greek citizen." Michael Lewis investigates Greece's economy.
"In Greece the banks didn’t sink the country. The country sank the banks."
In this terrific Vanity Fair piece, Michael Lewis visits Greece and examines a country where the general sense of civil society and trust has broken down, allowing mismanagement of the country's finances and economy on an unbelievably massive scale. [more inside]
Michael Lewis going after Joseph Cassano
Trying to find out what happened to the AIG guys who crashed the system. [more inside]
Demetri Martin cast in Steven Soderbergh's Moneyball
. An adaptation of Michael Lewis' controversial and influential 2003 book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
, the film
will begin shooting in June and will star Brad Pitt
as Oakland Athletics' General Manager Billy Beane, Martin as Beane's then-assistant GM Paul DePodesta, and former major leaguers Scott Hatteberg and David Justice as themselves. [more inside]
"I had no idea how my open-handedness could be made to look,
after the fact. At the time I bought the subprime portfolio I thought: This is sort of like my way of giving something back. I didn't expect a profile in Philanthropy Today or anything like that. I mean, I bought at a discount. But I thought people would admire the Wall Street big shot who found a way to help the little guy. Sort of like a money doctor helping a sick person. Then the little guy wheels around and gives me this financial enema. And I'm the one who gets crap in the papers!" -- Michael Lewis
on the subprime meltdown
It's Wall Street bonus season.
And, as Henry Blodget writes, the folks who have "the good fortune of working in a hot industry in a favorable market environment"
are doing extremely well this year. Notably, Goldman Sachs is breaking records with a $16.5 billion bonus pool. That is roughly $622,000 per employee but some employees do better than others
: "[Goldman CEO] Lloyd Blankfein, for one, will probably earn a measly $50 million (loser), whereas Morgan Sze (big man on campus), head of GS's principal strategies group in Hong Kong will go home with a check around twice that." Anyway, whether you're a $120K secretary or a $100M trader, author Michael Lewis has some some tongue-in-cheek advice for dealing with poorer relations
The Ballad of Big Mike. “Where are you going?” he asked. “To basketball practice,” Michael said. “Michael, you don’t have basketball practice,” Sean said. “I know,” the boy said. “But they got heat there.” Sean didn’t understand that one. “It’s nice and warm in that gym,” the boy said. As they drove off, Sean looked over and saw tears streaming down Leigh Anne’s face. And he thought, Uh-oh, my wife’s about to take over. ... “One night it wasn’t going so well, and I got frustrated,” Mitchell says, “and he said to me, ‘Miss Sue, you have to remember I’ve only been going to school for two years.”’
from this weeks nyt mag: a fantastic article by the always-excellent michael lewis: Jonathan Lebed: Stock Manipulator, S.E.C. Nemesis -- and 15
Three good pieces from the Sunday Times: New York as viewed through foreign tourist guidebooks
(big surprise, the French books are the ones that spend the most time pointing out American inferiority). Jerry Nachman
on journalists' overwhelmingly one-sided ideology and their rapidly-decreasing ability to hide it. And Michael Lewis
on how TiVo and Replay are going to destroy television as we know it, eek! (And don't miss the videos
showing how they blew up the TVs and Kellogg's boxes to get the photographs that accompany the article.)
I don't think the Nachman link will live beyond 11 pm Eastern on Sunday; I couldn't find a longer-lasting link to it. I guess opinion pieces aren't important to the Times.