Have you ever read a book that feels like it’s in a foreign language? It covers a subject you know is important and you figure at some point it will all make sense. What do you do when that doesn’t happen? Obviously, the easiest solution is to toss the book aside. But what if the underlying message is something you “get” and don’t want to give up on? I faced that dilemma recently.
We all know there is something shady about Wall Street. The people who work there seem to live in another world and follow a different set of rules. The big banks helped foment the Great Recession in 2008 and basically went unpunished. The phrase “to big to fail” became part of their lexicon. The U.S. taxpayers bailed them out and they went back to business as usual. It’s hard to understand how our financial institutions could put the entire world on the brink of an economic meltdown and pay no consequences.
A new book looks at that phenomenon with an unusual twist. “Flash Boys,” written by Michael Lewis, presents the story of a select few people on Wall Street that actually have a conscience. It is the story of their efforts to clean up Wall Street by offering investors a clean alternative to the usual shenanigans that infest big-time finance.
Lewis brings some solid credentials to the subject. He has written about Wall Street before in “The Big Short” but is probably best known for “Moneyball,” his tome on the Oakland A’s and their ability to compete as a small market team against the free-spending ways of big market teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Los Angeles Angels. It became a best-seller and was made into a successful film starring Brad Pitt.