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As you have more than likely heard, Michael Lewis’s 14th book was released yesterday. In Flash Boys, Lewis explores the world of high-frequency trading, focusing on a Canadian named Brad Katsuyama who left the Royal Bank of Canada to create trading platform called IEX, which “slow[s] down customers’ orders to stymie high-frequency traders,” who Katsuyama (and Lewis) believe hurt non-HFT investors. Some people, like the co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading, have applauded Lewis’s latest effort (“We believe Lewis’s book can have a big impact on complex market-structure issues that have been simmering for years,” he told Bloomberg). Others think it’s a piece of garbage they wouldn’t use as liner in their parakeet’s birdcage.
Rustled out of bed by his toddler, William O’Brien downloaded “Flash Boys,” the new book by Mr. Lewis, onto his e-reader — and fumed as he devoured the pages during his morning commute to BATS Global Markets, the stock exchange where he serves as president…Critics argue that Mr. Lewis broke no new ground. And a number of executives at the firms mentioned in the book said that Mr. Lewis did not double-check the facts. “Michael Lewis clearly has a blind side, as we’ve just discovered,” said Mr. O’Brien of BATS, cheekily referring to a previous work by the journalist.
Burns aside, what’s clear is that many people, who less than 48 hours ago worshiped at the altar of Lewis, are now dealing with a range of emotions that include shock, confusion, and sadness, which would explain this “You broke my heart, Fredo“-esque reaction:
Others found the book nothing less than a betrayal. “When I came to Wall Street back in 1992, his book ‘Liar’s Poker’ was required reading. It was one of my favorite books,” said Manoj Narang, the chief executive of the high-frequency trading firm Tradeworx. Of the new book he said: “It’s very disappointing.”
It’s like they don’t even know him anymore.