2018 Quarter Two Reading List
30 Sep 2018
Table of Contents
Sheelah Kolhatkar - Black Edge
Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street
- You might want to just watch the PBS Frontline documentary To Catch a Trader if you aren’t interested enough to read the book.
- The complete lack of operational security on SAC’s part. For example, a major part of the government’s case for a trade made on Dell’s stock hinged on an email with purported inside information by a SAC research trader forwarded to Cohen. Since email is about as secure as writing your message on a postcard (if the post office photo copied every post card it transported), I’m amazed that they would memorialize something like this. Given the stakes, and lengths the firm went to after the fact (in terms of lawyers, etc.), it is crazy that SAC didn’t invest in more robust forms on encrypted communciation.
Take away (spoilers)
- Whats disappointing about this story, and not the author’s fault, is that it plays out exactly as you would expect it if you hold some fairly common conceptions of Wall Street and the justice system. The central figure gets off with a with a slap on the wrist (a short term ban from managing other’s money which has since expired). The state expended time, money and resources and basically got a few low level traders and one significant insider trading conviction.
- This was an interesting look into hedge funds and insider trading but probably you are better off exhausting Michael Lewis’s books rather than picking this one up
Michael Lewis - Flash Boys
A Wall Street Revolt
- Lewis is a masterful story teller, and I find the topics he picks to be fascinating
- His tendency to lionize his characters feels problematic at times. In the big short you had Steve Eisman, in Flash Boys you have Brad Katsuyama. The portrait painted is of David v. Goliath
- The HFT programmer, Sergey Alynikov, is a disturbing tale of an ex-Goldman Sach’s employee who was prosecuted twice for copy Goldman’s code shortly before resigning
- I find the idea of deleting your bash history to be suspicious and the offered reason strange (he wanted to clear out his passwords he entered into the CLI).
- Perhaps my generation is more license conscious in the age of licenses being integrated directly into Github
David Enrich - The Spider Network
How a Math Genius and a Gang of Scheming Bankers Pulled Off One of the Greatest Scams in History