Tag Archives: Michael Lewis

Review: ‘Flash Boys’ by Michael Lewis

Flash Boys cover
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Bestselling Berkeley author Michael Lewis has been spending a lot of time back East lately. After researching and writing his blockbuster fifteenth nonfiction book, Flash Boys, currently the country’s #1 bestseller, he’s now juggling interviews and appearances triggered by the fallout. I can’t recall any book that has ever before struck such fear into the denizens of Wall Street.

Flash Boys tells the tale of the arcane and long-secret phenomenon known as high-frequency trading (HFT). The book reads like a thriller, showcasing the author’s legendary writing talent. Like the best fiction, it’s centered on people, not abstract processes or institutions, and the prose sings.

As Lewis discovered, HFT is one of the ways that Wall Street cheats investors — and not just small-time investors like you and me, but also the elite folk who manage multi-billion-dollar pension funds and mutual funds (and thus, indirectly, us as well). Initially, the practice was limited to a handful of traders working in small, independent shops, many of them Russian immigrants with advanced degrees in math or science. However, in the course of Lewis’ exploration of this complex and clever technique to game the system, he learned that many of the big Wall Street banks bought into the process as well and gained enormous profits as a result. Altogether, Lewis attests, HFT has robbed the investing public of billions of dollars. … Continue reading »

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Tabitha Soren: A career that keeps moving

Tabitha Soren. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Tabitha Soren was driving down Sacramento Street near Stanford Avenue when she spotted a change in a huge tree jutting up in the air.

For months Soren, a Berkeley photographer and former news correspondent for MTV and NBC, had been eyeing the tree. At 60 feet high, with a bifurcated trunk completely covered with leaves and vines, the tree was an arresting sight in the gritty Oakland neighborhood. Soren had long been intrigued by its sculptural qualities, but the tree had always been inaccessible behind a chain link fence. … Continue reading »

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Michael Lewis talks writing, reading for World Book Night

Berkeley author Michael Lewis spoke at Mrs. Dalloway's bookstore to promote World Book Night 2013.
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Berkeley author Michael Lewis sauntered into Mrs. Dalloway’s bookstore on College Avenue on Monday, dressed for the 85-degree weather in a white cotton jacket and pants.

The crowd, which had been expecting him a half hour sooner and had started to disperse, quickly returned to the seats set up before a podium. Within seconds, Lewis, the bestselling writer of books such as Moneyball, Liar’s Poker, The Blind Side and The Big Short, had captivated the audience with his easygoing humor.

Lewis had come to Mrs. Dalloway’s to promote World Book Night, a national effort to get books into the hands of people who rarely read. … Continue reading »

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Podcast

Podcast: The Three Michaels in conversation

Three michaels
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Two weeks ago, 600 Berkeleyside readers were treated to 90 minutes of conversation with The Three Michaels: Michael Chabon, Michael Lewis and Michael Pollan, moderated by Sedge Thomson. As a special holiday treat, here’s a podcast of the evening. To listen, either click on the link or right-click to save to your computer, tablet or phone. You can subscribe to Berkeleyside podcasts using our feed.

Among the highlights of the conversation:

  • How Pollan’s car crashed into Lewis’ studio
  • The professionals’ approach to Star Market’s annual pumpkin carving contest
  • The truth and fiction of Berkeley stereotypes
  • Balancing writing and family
  • The difference between Berkeley’s and “Republican” softball teams
  • How web browsing can lead you from spark plugs to the Partridge Family … Continue reading »
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’3 Michaels’ talk writing, inspiration and Berkeley quirks

3msfourstage
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In an evening designed to focus on the “Berkeleyishness” of Berkeley, and raise money for a great cause, three of the city’s most renowned Michaels kept hundreds of local residents laughing for the better part of 90 minutes with their wit, charm and candor.

Writers Michael Lewis, Michael Pollan and Michael Chabon — all of whom live in Berkeley — answered questions from West Coast Live host and Berkeley native Sedge Thomson, who moderated “The Three Michaels: A Berkeley Conversation” at Berkeley Repertory Theatre on Monday night.

This was the third public forum Berkeleyside has put on, part of its commitment to providing quality conversations and debates on issues that matter to Berkeley, both on- and off-line. (Scroll down for a slideshow, courtesy of Pete Rosos, from the forum.) … Continue reading »

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The ‘Three Michaels of Berkeley’: Supporting, supported

Final poster
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Authors Michael Chabon, Michael Lewis, and Michael Pollan, who all live in Berkeley, will appear at the Berkeley Rep in “The Three Michaels: A Berkeley Conversation,” an event organized by Berkeleyside, to help enable the creation in Oakland of a tutoring and creative writing center for East Bay youth modeled on the highly regarded 826 model.

The original 826 center, 826 Valencia, founded by Dave Eggers and Nínive Calegari in San Francisco ten years ago, is dedicated to supporting students, ages six to eighteen, with their writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. All their programs are free of charge and, so far, their model, which combines a writing hub and retail storefront, has been replicated in eight locations nationwide. … Continue reading »

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Halloween champs: Albany-Berkeley Sting is scary good

Halloween Champions 2012
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By Mark Galbraith

The Albany-Berkeley Girls Softball League’s 12U team, Sting, continues its victorious streak. You may remember the team from the article Michael Lewis wrote for Berkeleyside last year. We’ve been following their progress. Here’s the latest installment:

The Under 12 Albany-Berkeley Sting completed their Fall season by winning this past weekend’s Monster Bash Classic tournament with a thrilling back-from-the grave finish.

Like all good nail-biters, this story starts on a bright, sunny day. On Saturday, Sting got into the Halloween spirit by taking the field in Crayola-inspired Technicolor uniforms, designed by Berkeley’s own budding activewear designer, Katie Kaneko. (At the time of this story’s submission, there was no confirmation if Ms. Kaneko intends to expand upon her Sting designs to create a complete Fall collection.)

Sting’s opener against the Salinas Storm was a well-played contest between two evenly matched teams. Pitcher Quinn Lewis and sharp Sting defense kept the Storm’s potent bats in check for much of the game. … Continue reading »

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‘Three Michaels’ sold out, last chance to snag tickets

Screen shot 2012-09-16 at 10.15.06 PM
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As you may have heard, Berkeleyside is organizing what promises to be a hugely entertaining evening on Monday Dec. 10. The “three Michaels of Berkeley” — Michael Chabon, Michael Lewis and Michael Pollan, all Berkeley residents — will come together for the first time to talk place, politics, people and, no doubt, writing. The event is a benefit for 826 Oakland, a new youth writing program for the East Bay, inspired by Dave Eggers’ pioneering 826 Valencia. The event is sponsored by One PacificCoast Bank.

We are delighted to announce today that “The Three Michaels: A Berkeley Conversation” is sold out. Clearly many people are as eager as we are to support a great cause and to hear from three of the country’s best writers, all of whom do fascinating work in their fields.

There is one last chance to snag tickets, however. … Continue reading »

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Wonky Wednesday: three forums to consider

Michael Lewis
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Wednesday Oct. 17 is one of the days where there is too much in Berkeley to choose from, particularly tonight. Here is a partial listing of offerings:

Michael Lewis will be interviewed by Linda Schacht Gage at the Central Library tonight. He will talk about Obama’s Way, the article he wrote about President Obama for Vanity Fair. Although tickets sold out fast, there will be some tickets available from no-shows. The waiting line will start at 5 pm. The reception begins at 6 pm and the talk is from 7 pm to 8 pm.

The Berkeley Unified School District will hold a forum for middle and high school parents on alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, its effects on teens, and resources available to address the issue. Teens and experts will discuss the best way to talk to your kids. The forum is at 7 pm at Berkeley Technology Academy, 2701 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. … Continue reading »

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Valley sting: Albany-Berkeley 12U wins at Davis/Dixon

Softball league 10.12
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By Mark Galbraith

The Albany-Berkeley Girls Softball League’s 12U team, Sting, continues its victorious streak. You may remember the team from the article Michael Lewis wrote for Berkeleyside last year. We’ve been following their progress. Here’s the latest installment:

As a previous cub reporter on the Sting beat noted last year, dropping into the Central Valley used to be a daunting journey for Albany Berkeley Girls’ Softball League’s finest. Infernal heat, adobe-hard infields, and battle-hardened opponents often added up to disappointment: players dismayed at not having a chance to play for a tournament title and its accompanying trophies, and their parents downhearted at an early exit leaving them no legitimate excuse for blowing-off weekend errands.

However, this is a new trail-blazing Sting team. Coming off a championship run earlier in the month, they entered the Valley without fear, confident in their bats and gloves. Make no mistake: there would be no trips to Pastime Ace or Berkeley Bowl for the traveling Sting faithful this weekend. … Continue reading »

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NorCal girls’ softball teams feel the sting in new season

Softball league
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By Mark Galbraith

The Albany-Berkeley Girls Softball League’s 12U team, Sting, continues to turn heads in 2012. You may remember the team from the article Michael Lewis wrote for Berkeleyside last year. We’ve been following their progress. Here’s the latest installment:

The Albany-Berkeley Girls’ Softball 12 & Under Sting team continues to turn heads in 2012. Their latest display of domination on the diamond was at last weekend’s Fall Brawl tournament in Fremont. After a slow start in the opening rounds, Sting got their game in gear, finishing with a victory in the Championship game over the hometown Fremont Flyers via the mercy rule.

While this result may have been similar to their summer performances, a few of the faces have changed for their fall campaign. New coaches, Jenna Best, Jolene Henderson, and Lori Saaf; and players Amelia Galbraith and Tara Steckler looked to join the strong core of returners to keep the good times rolling.

The weekend started when Sting and its swarm of supporters pulled into Fremont’s fogged-in Central Park well before sunrise on Saturday morning. … Continue reading »

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ABGSL Sting 12U team wins final summer season tourney

team 1 rebel classic
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By Kate Campbell

The Albany-Berkeley Girls Softball League’s 12U travel team, Sting, won the final 2012 summer season tournament. You may remember the team from the article Michael Lewis wrote for Berkeleyside last year. We’ve been following their progress. Here’s the latest installment:

Facing a field of eight other teams, none of whom they had yet played this season, the Sting team had strong pitching, was on fire with their hitting and solid in their fielding. Their batting lineup started slow on Saturday, narrowly losing their first game on Saturday to the San Bruno Storm 8-7. Despite 14-3 and 7-2 wins in their other games, they were seeded a dark horse fifth on Sunday.  Ironically, in single elimination Sunday they again matched up against the San Bruno Storm, and this time they shut them out 2-0 in seven innings, with Robyn Wampler pitching a perfect game.

Sting was definitely one of the teams to beat on the B team softball circuit this summer. This was their third tournament win out of the five tournaments they played for the season. Beyond the wins, though, the team was known for the teamwork, camaraderie and positive attitude that characterized both practices and tournament competition. … Continue reading »

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Sports

Hits, put-outs and a Garbanzo tournament victory

Team Zonta Garbanzos, who won last Saturday's mid-season tournament. Photo: ABGSL
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By Bora Reed

Bora Reed, an Albany Berkeley Girls Softball League parent and the league’s reporter coordinator recently wrote to Berkeleyside wondering if we would publish game reports. “Why not?” was our reply. Here’s the first: 

The Albany Berkeley Girls Softball League season is well under way, with girls grades 1-8 building skills, learning teamwork and having fun. Berkeleyside provided one perspective on the league from Moneyball author Michael Lewis in December. Below is a report of the Older Division’s mid-season tournament last Saturday, along with a few reports from games in the Middle and Younger Divisions. Special thanks to the team of embedded reporters for the game write-ups.

Zonta Garbanzos Win Mid-Season Tournament

Zonta Clubs’ Garbanzos girls softball squad jumped to an early commanding lead from the get-go in their first game on Saturday against the Friedman-Brueggemeyer Fantastic Flying Frying Pans with one run each scored by Zinnia Thewlis, Grace Rusin, Dylan Kurzgul and Anne Mugler. The four-run lead was held throughout the four-inning game thanks to sharp pitching from Zinnia and Grace and deft fielding skills of Claire McNally and Griffen Campbell. … Continue reading »

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