Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon Hardcover – 3 October 2023 by Michael Lewis (Author)

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  • Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon Hardcover – 3 October 2023 by Michael Lewis (Author)

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      Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon Hardcover – 3 October 2023 by Michael Lewis (Author)

      349.00

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      Review

      Going Infinite is insanely readable and I devoured it, marvelling at Lewis’s ability to pace, structure and humanise a story about something as dense and unfriendly as crypto… As with previous outings such as Moneyball (nerdy baseball stats), The Big Short (credit default swaps), and Flash Boys (high-frequency trading), Going Infinite shows off Lewis’s peculiar genius for making arcane information as transporting as fantasy fiction.Guardian

      Going Infinite is a stupefyingly pleasurable book to read. It’s perfectly paced, extremely funny, and fills in many gaps in a story that has been subjected to an unholy amount of reporting… What he began with Moneyball has come into full flower with Going Infinite. Lewis has surveyed a landscape taken by convention as settled and found it destabilized, at least here and there, by uneven and unreliable information. Perhaps Lewis’s book should encourage an update, however minuscule, in our own priors. ― New Yorker

      Going Infinite is a portrait of grandiose ambitions, youthful arrogance, and the distorting power of money… [Lewis] remains the greatest living exponent of the plain style in reporting. His eye for detail is unsurpassed… And as a chronicle of collective delusion – a modern version of the Dutch tulip mania – Going Infinite is an instant classic… Michael Lewis deserves huge credit for capturing [SBF] in all his infinite weirdness… Mark Zuckerberg, another boy genius in ratty shoes, once described Twitter as a clown car that fell into a gold mine. Sam Bankman-Fried was a Seth Rogen character who fell into a tulip field circa 1634. Another one will be along in a minute. We never learn. ― The Atlantic

      Going Infinite is in many ways Lewis at his best. He marshals a complex global story without losing sight of the delightful and revealing human details. He is a world-class noticer … Lewis is a generous writer with a humane intelligence, and it is to his credit that he doesn’t reach for easy cynicism or cheap effects. — Jesse Armstrong ― TLS

      Lewis’ storytelling is as good as ever… In the past, Mr Lewis has focused on little-known people doing extraordinary things. This time his subject is notorious… Mr Bankman-Fried’s hyper-rationality sets him apart from everyone. He views people not as good or bad, but as “probability distributions” around a mean… By tolerating the idea that hyper-rationalists cannot make sense of the rules of the game the way most people do, Mr Lewis implicitly asks readers to reconsider whatever they thought they knew about Mr Bankman-Fried. In the court of public opinion, he is already convicted. That’s reason enough to give this book a read.The Economist

      Going Infinite is wildly entertaining, surprising multiple times on pretty much every page, but it adds up to a sad story, even a tragedy, for its central character and for all the people who lost so much thanks to his actions… Lewis tries to answer the first question he was asked about Bankman-Fried: who was this guy? The question of his guilt or innocence Lewis leaves to the criminal justice system. I think that’s good practice, given that the trial is happening right now. For what it’s worth, I see no contradiction between the person described in Going Infinite and the things SBF is accused of having done. In fact I think the book makes it easier to understand how and why he did what he allegedly did. — John Lanchester ― London Review of Books

      Michael Lewis has an uncanny instinct for a big story, and is now right in the thick of the action again… Reading Lewis can feel like being a passenger in an expertly piloted bobsleigh. You’re moving so fast down the mountain, but you know you’re going to be delivered safe and sound – hot chocolate waiting at the bottom. There is no need to stress, only to thrill to the scenery as it hurtles past. ― New Statesman

      In November 2022, FTX collapsed in a matter of days after it suffered billions of dollars in customer withdrawals, sending shockwaves through the crypto world. To make sense of all this, with perfect timing, comes Michael Lewis… Going Infinite is his superbly detailed picture of the man behind it… So where might the money have gone? We still don’t entirely know, though Lewis offers some preliminary balance sheet calculations ― which remain more detailed than anything FTX ever published. ― Evening Standard

      Michael Lewis is the world’s finest financial storytellerGoing Infinite is at its best in describing Bankman-Fried’s rise… Lewis is equally sharp on how the effective altruism movement shifted its priorities, from donating to prevent disease and mortality in the global south to worrying about (putative) trillions of human lives across the galaxy in the distant future. ― Daily Telegraph

      When the stories of our times are told, there will be no more seminal documents than the books of Michael Lewis. ― Guardian

      I would read an 800-page history of the stapler if he wrote it. ― New York Times Book Review

      In the hands of Michael Lewis, anything is possible. ― Sunday Times

      He is so good everyone else may as well pack up. ― Evening Standard

      Life is what happens between Michael Lewis books. — Michael Hofmann

      About the Author

      Michael Lewis‘s global bestselling books lift the lid on the biggest stories of our times. They include Flash Boys, a game-changing exposé of high-speed scamming; The Big Short, which was made into a hit Oscar-winning film; Liar’s Poker, the book that defined the excesses of the 1980s; and, most recently, The Fifth Risk, revealing what happens when democracy unravels. Michael Lewis was born in New Orleans and educated at Princeton University and the London School of Economics.

      From the Publisher

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      Dimensions 3.2 × 23.6 cm
      Publisher ‏

      ‎ Allen Lane (3 October 2023)

      Language ‏

      ‎ English

      Hardcover ‏

      ‎ 272 pages

      ISBN-10 ‏

      ‎ 0241651115

      ISBN-13 ‏

      ‎ 978-0241651117

      Item Weight ‏

      ‎ 474 g

      Dimensions ‏

      ‎ 15.8 x 3.2 x 23.6 cm

      Country of Origin ‏

      ‎ India

      Based on 5 reviews

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      5 reviews for Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon Hardcover – 3 October 2023 by Michael Lewis (Author)

      1. Soroosh S

        NY Times got it wrong.Michael Lewis is a master expositor. What seems to attract him is to uncover complex stories with important societal and economic impact that are either too complicated for the general media to explain in a meaningful way or the common explanation is so simplistic as to be misleading. He often finds the actual story is much more interesting than the common narrative and frequently driven by fascinating, multi-faceted characters. And here’s where he shines. The main actors in his stories are all real people living amongst us but extraordinary and even magical when placed under the microscope of his piercing pen. His writing has the quality that they call “Sahl o Mostahel” in Persian poetry: easy but impossible. Which when combined with his wit and sense of humour make his books such a joy to read.”Going Infinite”, Lewis’s most recent foray into the world of Cryptocurrencies tells the story of the dramatic rise and fall of the young founder of the failed exchange FTX, Sam Bankman Fried. This is a captivating book and has many of the author’s characteristic qualities of fluid prose and deep insight. But it is perhaps not Lewis at his best. It’s hard to put a finger on why. It’s certainly not because of what NY Times misguidedly labelled an attempt to “make a hero out of Sam Bankman-Fried”. There is no hint of such intention in the book and other accusations of Lewis acting as a biased defender of a fraudster are equally wrong. The truth is that the bankruptcy of FTX is so fresh and so fraught with emotions that any semi-balanced exposé of the topic is bound to attract some protest and indignation. Also, NY Times’ claim that Lewis can only “write a happy story” reflects a total misreading of his works. “Flash Boys” is decidedly a very sad story as far as Lewis is concerned. A few sophisticated hedge funds seem to be stealing from the savings of ordinary investors in broad daylight and no-one seems to care. “The Big Short” has a happy ending for a few traders who saw the folly of the financial markets before the crisis but tragic for millions of people and hundreds of businesses that the crisis impacted. Lewis retells both accounts with equal empathy and skill.If one is to find the relative weakness of “Going Infinite” one must look elsewhere. For one thing, Lewis’s captivating sense of humour is somewhat absent or much muted in this book. For another, the “arc” of the story which makes the ride of his other books so enjoyable is abbreviated here. Cut abruptly by the events of bankruptcy which seem to have come as a shock even to the insiders of FTX, the story has barely enough time to pull us in and get us to know the characters in any depth much less care about them. And talking about caring, perhaps the fundamental difficulty of the book, through no fault of Lewis, is that the characters themselves are uniformly unsympathetic and unengaging, at least to the extent that we get to know them. Even their cult of Effective Altruism is so demonstrably flawed that even if the initial idea may attract, we soon lose interest. There are no heroes or villains here just overgrown children with ASD and no adult supervision.And yet, all this is in the context of Lewis’s other works which can be considered genre-defining. Going Infinite is still a good read and far better than almost anything else written on cryptocurrencies. It just lacks that mirror shine of the author’s other books.

      2. samburrows

        Impossible to put down“Going Infinite” by Michael Lewis is an enthralling exploration into the meteoric rise and catastrophic fall of Sam Bankman-Fried, the enigmatic young billionaire who made a fortune in the volatile world of cryptocurrency. Lewis, a maestro in non-fiction storytelling, has a knack for capturing not only the dizzying heights and cataclysmic lows of the financial world but also the complex personas navigating it.The book’s strength lies in its narrative structure, which is nothing short of a roller-coaster ride, mirroring the volatile subject it tackles. The story of Bankman-Fried is so unbelievable it almost defies reality. Yet, it is precisely that element of incredulity that makes the book so engrossing. One is compelled to wonder how a man so young could accumulate such immense wealth and influence that even world leaders sought his counsel.Another arresting feature of the book is its characters, particularly Bankman-Fried, who is portrayed as an extraordinarily gifted ‘thinking machine.’ This real-life Gatsby is a man of contradictions—a financial genius clad in cargo shorts, a millennial multi-billionaire whose enigmatic demeanor leaves even his investors puzzled. Lewis’s sharp eye for detail transforms him from an enigmatic financial tycoon to a human being with vulnerabilities and flaws.Despite its focus on finance and technology, the book isn’t solely for those in the know about high-frequency trading or blockchain. Lewis constructs the narrative so meticulously that it serves as a salient lesson in the importance of corporate and financial governance. Bankman-Fried’s downfall is not just the result of market forces but also a sobering tale of hubris, lack of oversight, and the sheer unpredictability that defines the world of cryptocurrency.However, it’s worth noting that the book is not a vilification of Bankman-Fried or the world of crypto; it’s an examination of a man who could play the system so well until he couldn’t. It stands as a testament to the perils of unfettered ambition and serves as a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks they can navigate the high-stakes world of financial markets without rules.In summary, “Going Infinite” offers a gripping tale filled with invaluable lessons. Its narrative intensity and larger-than-life characters make it an unputdownable read, and its underlying message serves as a wake-up call to all who engage with the world of modern finance. It’s not just a story of one man’s ambition; it’s a revelation of how quickly that ambition can spiral into an uncontrollable descent.

      3. CEH

        Valuable insight on the FTX crypto disasterReading this book is like watching a movie where the storyline and characters seem so unbelievable that you search for something else to watch. But then you get sucked in by the very absurdity of some unkept, introverted twenty-something in cargo shorts and a tee shirt becoming the richest person in the world under 30, and doing it in only three years with a ragtag group of colleagues, billions of other peoples’ money and no CFO or chief risk officer.Unbelievable as it is, Lewis’ story of FTX is fascinating, the numbers are staggering and the failures of corporate governance and business management—both at FTX and its investors and customers—are stunning. The only thing harder to believe than the storyline and the characters is the number of seemingly smart people who failed to do the slightest due diligence needed to see just how unbelievable the whole morass was. Their gullibility alone makes the book worth reading.Lewis says he spent more than a year with “unparalleled access” to Bankman-Fried, watching him amass a $22.5 billion fortune in record time. He also watched FTX crumble, remaining with Bankman-Fried as his employees fled and the authorities moved in on FTX’s headquarters in the Bahamas. Some critics have suggested that Lewis became too close to Bankman-Fried and foolishly bought into his claims that the FTX crash resulted from innocent lapses of management and not intentional efforts to defraud anyone. Many of Lewis’ excellent earlier books focus on underdogs who make contrarian bets and become heroes in the end. It’s easy to believe that Lewis expected Bankman-Fried to be vindicated.You can make your own judgment about whether Lewis’ time with Bankman-Fried unduly influenced the author’s journalism. The jury in Bankman-Fried’s fraud trial this month was clear about its judgment. After only four hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Bankman-Fried of seven counts, including fraud and money laundering. Five of those counts carry a maximum of 20 years of prison sentence each, while two others could earn him maximum jail time of 5 years.Regardless of what Lewis may have concluded about Bankman-Fried, his book makes clear how the global hype surrounding Bankman-Fried and FTX caused investors, customers, celebrities and politicians to blindly hitch their stars to a story that, at best, was a disaster waiting to happen. Besides being an interesting, well-researched read, this book is a valuable reminder that hype and wishful thinking cannot overcome the age-old needs for investor due diligence, competent business management, transparency and honesty.

      4. Mr. Tempo

        Good read and started me learning more …It read like fiction as I had taken little interest in Crypto coin regarding it instinctively as a scam . I got to it from reading other fraud books such as Enron, Lex Greensill, Iceland and Lehman Brothers which were all excellent reads.Didnt find it the most enjoyable read but certainly riveting and educating.Now reading “Let them Eat Crypto” and am amazed at where its got to and into so many countries. Maybe a second read as there is so much to take in in this book.

      5. Joachim O.

        One of Michael Lewis’ not so great booksAs the book subtitle suggests, this is a book focused on SBF. It starts with his childhood, his life at university and how he entered the professional life at Jane Street and how he eventually set up Alameda Research and FTX. (I did not know that this was not even his idea)If you followed the book tour of Michael Lewis and if you followed the trial, then there is not much new relevant information you get from reading this book. The book feels rushed as if this was one of the first versions put to paper without further time for polish it since it had to be published with the start of the trial to capture the free marketing and before it becomes totally irrelevant. Particularly from chapter 6 onwards, the book is not well structured with time jumps back and forth as if it was just an initial brain storm of a script.I purchased and read this book after the conclusion of the trial and I found the revelations during the trial a lot more interesting. It is sort of hilarious that Michael Lewis suggests that just because the money turned up before in an earlier episode of missing money and that it might turn up again, that this somehow would vindicate Sam (he also kept suggesting this during his interviews).During his book tour, Michael Lewis claimed that he believed that this was his best book so far which I cannot disagree more with. More likely his weakest, average at best. I became a fan after reading “The Big Short” but this one is a disappointment by his standards.

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