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Publisher's Summary

In today's financial markets, trading floors on which brokers buy and sell shares face-to-face have increasingly been replaced by lightning-fast electronic systems that use algorithms to execute astounding volumes of transactions. Trading at the Speed of Light tells the story of this epic transformation. Donald MacKenzie shows how in the 1990s, a new approach to trading - automated high-frequency trading or HFT - began and then spread throughout the world. HFT has brought new efficiency to global trading, but has also created an unrelenting race for speed, leading to a systematic, subterranean battle among HFT algorithms.

In HFT, time is measured in nanoseconds (billionths of a second), and in a nanosecond the fastest possible signal - light in a vacuum - can travel only 30 centimeters, or roughly a foot. That makes HFT exquisitely sensitive to the length and transmission capacity of the cables connecting computer servers to the exchanges' systems and to the location of the microwave towers that carry signals between computer datacenters. Drawing from more than 300 interviews with high-frequency traders, the people who supply them with technological and communication capabilities, exchange staff, regulators, and many others, MacKenzie reveals the extraordinary efforts expended to speed up every aspect of trading.

©2021 Princeton University Press (P)2021 Gildan Media

What listeners say about Trading at the Speed of Light

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Bright book, many dimensions, crisply told

It plods at first, as the author takes time to explain methodology and approach, academic-style. But quickly, the narrative takes off and never stops, unpacking all kinds of aspects of its topic. I've read a couple of Leo Melamed's earlier books, and maybe five other books on exchanges and their recent history, but this one covers the same ground and, for its overall clarity and coverage, is head and shoulders over all the others. It is the complete package: energetic and yet crafted with great discipline. It has a virtuoso combination of tech aspects, story and personalities.
One point off for this: there are fairly frequent references to visual aids that are in the print version but not provided here. It is not critical to getting a lot from this work, but it is obvious it would have enhanced it substantially. Alas, the print version at this writing is expensive, so I can live with this "discount."

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meh

the narrator is painful...British....beware.....lot of charts so bad for audiobook....the author refered to all interviews by code letters ...very annoying

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Worst Narration I’ve Ever Heard

Wonderful content, destroyed by an absolutely dreadful reading. The vocal inflection is so terrible I couldn’t get through the book via audio. I had to purchase a physical copy to finish the book.

For what it’s worth, I’ve listened to hundreds of audiobooks and never left a review like this. Be warned, the reader is unbearable.

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  • Luis
  • 11-07-21

Really bad

Book is very focused on minutiae while on pollitical topics while simultaneously very vague when it comes to the details of trading. Slow and very verbose. I can't come up with anything I learnt or took away from the book. Do not recommend at all.