May 12, 2014

Flash Boys

The following is an excerpt from Michael Lewis' book Flash Boys (not an affiliate link because Minnesota tax laws are kind of lame sometimes):

"Why aren't you angry?" Serge just smiled back at him. "No, really," said the juror. "How do you stay so calm? I'd be fucking going crazy." Serge smiled again. "But what does craziness give you?" he said. "What does negative demeanor give you as a person? It doesn't give you anything. You know that something happened. Your life happened to go in that particular route. If you know that you're innocent, know it. But at the same time you know you are in trouble and this is how it's going to be." To which he added, "To some extent I'm glad this happened to me. I think it strengthened my understanding of what living is all about."

I wanted to quote this part of the book because of Serge's outlook on life. If you don't know the background, Sergey Aleynikov was arrested by the FBI for essentially copying/stealing code (but if you're a programmer or understand how the industry works, "stealing" isn't quite the right word and Serge had no ill-intent by taking the code). The jist is that Aleynikov was facing 10 years of prison time when he made these comments and I admire the way he handled a situation that was completely out of his control. In this particular situation (because I'm not an advocate of always taking this zen approach), no matter what he did, it wasn't going to change the result, so he might as well take it in stride and play the cards he was dealt.

Quick comment on Michael Lewis' book, it's well worth the read; it's a pretty quick read for a 300 page book (I read it on a flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas). If you invest in the stock market, it should make you think about what you're doing (I have strong opinions about that already, but that's for another post). It will also make you aware of the legal system's flaws, as well as some of the media's flaws.