Back to non-fiction – and one of my favorite topics, finance! I’ve heard a lot of critical acclaim for Flash Boys, which seeks to take on and explain the mystery and complexity behind high-frequency trading, or HFT.
What is HFT? In short, it’s the stock trading strategy of racing the market, finding out when a large order is going to be placed, snapping up all of those stocks before the large order can go through, and then selling them to that purchaser for a profit.
It’s a bit like seeing a lot of customers at a lemonade stand on a hot day, cutting to the front of the line, buying ALL the lemonade, and then turning around and selling it to the customers for a higher price.
Seems wrong? I agree! As do many people in this book…
The book follows a real-life trader, Brad, who slowly comes to learn about HFT – and sets out to create a stock exchange where traders are safe from HFT’s reach, trying to restore some fairness to the market. There’s also a lot of background, and although the book does get technical in some places, I didn’t have too much trouble following along, even as a Wall Street outsider.
Time to read: 3 days, mainly in small chunks at night.