Normally I try my darnedest to find some way to pull, drag or twist the subject of these posts into the realms of internal audit. This time I'm not even going to try. This book is worth reading just because it is good and it is important.
Michael Lewis' latest book is titled Flash Boys. It is the story of an interesting state of affairs that exists within stock market operations. In particular, it is about the role high-frequency trading plays and the way it has permeated the transactions we think we understand.
It is a fascinating look at how milliseconds make a difference and how people are exploiting those differences. As Lewis does in every book of his I've read (and I've read a number of them and suggest you explore his body of work) he explains the details in a way that is engrossing and, maybe more importantly, coherent and understandable. (And trust me; this is a complex subject that does not lend itself to a quick synopsis.)
Some have argued that Lewis is telling only part of the story. However, even if that is true, the book is still an honest exploration of a loophole in trading operations that is exposing people and businesses to significantly large losses.
And, you know what? Now that I think about it I can make this about auditing. Because the other thing that makes this book so powerful is the way the story unfolds. It is about people not settling for the quick easy answer. It is about people seeing minor discrepancies and digging in to find out why they occur. It is about people who have an overpowering desire to find the root of the issue.
In other words, it is about people who show the attributes of a good auditor and a reminder of the results that are possible when good audit work is done.