The book received uniformly positive reviews from the group. Despite the title, the book had little to do with dark pools—private trading centers that allows certain investors to avoid placing orders on centralized exchanges. Rather it had to do with the evolution and growth high frequency trading and artificial intelligence on investing. Each of the book club members had personal experience with high frequency trading, artificial intelligence or both—some even had friends that personally knew people in the book. This made the “Dark Pools” more enjoyable for the group. Some of the time was spent discussing the impact on markets from the book’s subject. Most agreed that in the short-term it’s hard to beat the electronic traders, but the group’s opinion was “trading strategies work until they don’t” and that “information is not the same as knowledge.”
What people liked about the book:
- It did a good job distilling how high frequency trading works.
- People appreciated the fact it went into detail how high frequency trading evolved and that there were “heros” in the book; somewhat unusual for non-fiction.
- It’s a classic Wall Street story about how a new concept evolves into widespread practice; investor denial, gradual acceptance, and then investors piling on and mercilessly beating what was a working strategy into oblivion.
- People liked that the author mostly reported, and did not offer grandiose opinions.
- There was an interesting science angle to the book and it made some wonder if Wall Street firms were becoming tech firms.
What people did not like about the book:
- Most commented more on what the subject of the book was doing to investing rather than the book’s shortcomings. Again, the book got uniformly good reviews.