Michael Lewis is one of my favourite financial authors. He has a unique blend of on-the-ground experience (he was a bond trader on Wall Street before resigning to write Liar’s Poker), plus the talent and ability to turn a complex story into a compelling narrative.

His best work, in my opinion, was The Big Short, which explained why the U.S. housing market was propped up on bad loans and how Wall Street designed strange and complicated products to profit from its ultimate demise. The book has now been turned into movie with a star-studded cast:

I can’t wait!

Flash Boys

More recently, Lewis wrote Flash Boys, a book about a small group of Wall Street idealists who realize the stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and high-frequency traders.

One of the traders, RBC’s Brad Katsuyama, tried to design a way to level the playing field and deny high-frequency traders the ability to game the system. He ended up leaving RBC to open his own stock exchange called Investors’ Exchange, or IEX, which last week applied to become a public stock exchange.

I’m about three-quarters of the way through reading Flash Boys and it’s a fascinating story. Once again, Lewis has managed to take a seemingly complex and boring subject and spin it into a page-turning thriller.

The book’s publisher, Norton, sent me an extra copy to give away on the blog. If you want a chance to win a copy of Flash Boys, just leave a comment below and I will draw one winner at random – to be announced in the next edition of Weekend Reading.

Good luck!

This week’s recap

On Monday I looked back at a hypothetical leveraged investment scenario and what might have happened if an investor borrowed to invest in Canadian Oil Sands last year.

On Wednesday Marie explored the real cost of getting married.

And on Friday I explained why I simplified my investment portfolio, switching from dividend stocks to a two-ETF solution.

Weekend reading:

Tim Cestnick continues to provide incredible insight in his column at The Globe and Mail. This article explains how to time the collection of CPP and OAS.

How much are you spending on the little things? Wealthing Like Rabbits author Robert Brown explains why it’s more than you think.

Garry Marr explains everything you need to know about the tax free savings account and the federal election.

Blogger Mark Seed says the TFSA should be one of these three personal finance issues in the election.

Michael James offers three counter-arguments to Mark’s proposed election issues.

Put your keys in the fridge so you don’t forget your groceries (or one weird trick to counter your cognitive biases).

One of the big “safety nets” to people who retire early is that they always have the option to re-enter the work force.

Believe it or not, insurance works, says this investment advisor, who sadly lost her husband at 35 and was left to raise their five-year-old child on her own.

Rob Carrick says it might be time for many Canadians to abandon the 20% down-payment rule.

The bizarre Volkswagon scandal, or diesel-dupe, explained.

In the market for a new car? Never say these five things to a car dealer.

Accountant Dan Wesley gives a useful explanation of how taxes work for severance pay.

Robin Powell explains why investors need to curb their competitive streak.

Finally, Nelson Smith, from Financial Uproar fame, lists 11 personal finance and investing blogs you should be reading.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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