Top positive review
Outstanding story of insider trading in the 21st century.
Reviewed in the United States on February 16, 2017
This is a book giving great insight into the American phenomena of the rich getting richer by any means and doing so with impunity. According to the author, there are three different types of edge, or information a hedge fund trader can obtain before trading a securty. There's "white" edge, which is information known to the general public that anyone can find; there is "gray edge", or information that's not quite proprietary, but only available to people familiar with the inside workings of a particular company; and finally there is "black edge", which is proprietary, supposed to be held in confidence, and can have clear positive or negative impact on a stock's price. The latter is illegal, of course, and the essence of insider trading, but also the trader who uses black edge information has a distinct advantage over the millions common folk investors. Some of the characters working for SAC finally did receive justice by falling on their swords and refusing to cooperate with the SEC, whether through loyalty towards or fear of, or both, of Steven Cohen. Ultimately, this book is about SAC and Steven Cohen, and company and its founder who made unheard of profits year over year through the constant use of "black edge." Some paid the price, however Cohen never did. In America, billionaires can do virtually whatever they want, and they influence our lives more than we realize.
If you're interested in white-collar crime, particularly securities fraud, you are probably familiar with "Den of Thieves," and excellent account of the excesses of Wall Streets Masters of the Universe in the 1980s, like Michael Milken. "Black Edge" is a 21st century continuation of the tale, with the main difference being that the bad guy not only eludes justice, but he continues to prosper,unlike what happened to Michael Milken. "Black Edge" reads like a cross between crime fiction and a primer on high finance, meaning it's tautly written, the story flows beautifully, and the author Sheelah Kolhatkar weaves together an extremely complex array of characters into a well structured and easily comprehended narrative. Any negative review I've read of this book up to February 17, 2017 is entirely bogus and illegitimate, written by people who know, or are the people themselves, who are painted in an unflattering light in this book. Don't expect a feel good book with a justice prevails outlook, however. In 21st century America, with the undoubted further de-regulation of Wall Street that is to come in the future, those that think laws are for suckers will continue to prosper at the little guy's expense.
P.S. anyone who has read thus far and takes exception to the political overtones of my review, please keep this in mind: I'm very well versed in Libertarian free market economics, as I've read a few classics, such as "Free to Choose" and "The Road to Serfdom"; while the free market is in theory a beautiful idea, in practice it's simply my opinion that the Steven Cohen's of the world need at least some regulations to help equalize the opportunity for all trading in the securities market, and to keep them from distorting the market forces grossly in their favor. I want to keep my review as apolitical as possible, and respect the views of anyone reading this. I hope it comes across that way.