Masters in Business Podcast (Bloomberg Radio): Barry Ritholtz

Masters in Business

I have long been a believe in the old adage that “Leaders are Readers”. In order to be an effective leader, it is necessary to continuously upgrade and update your knowledge in the most broad sense. Readers are not necessarily leaders; the mere act of reading does not transform a bookworm into a charismatic champion executive anymore than diligently studying J.K. Rowling can turn a muggle into a gifted wizard.

However, it can be difficult for a busy executive or manager, or an aspiring leader, to budget adequate time to read the books, newspapers, professional magazines, and trusted online resources to gain access to the incredible wealth and diversity of information available in our modern and fast paced age.

I typically spend at least 6 hours each week driving. I used to listen to music during my long drives. However, early last year I decided to turn off the music and invest the hours I spend behind the wheel listening to podcasts.

For those individuals who are struggling to keep up with the diverse array of modern digital media choices, a podcast is basically an audio recording that is available for download to your smartphone, PC, music player, or other form of digital media player. Since I am primarily invested into the Apple ecosystem, my preferred source for podcast is Apple iTunes.

One podcast which I have greatly enjoyed and highly recommend to anyone with even a casual interest in investing or financial management is “Masters in Business” featuring Barry Ritholtz and published by Bloomberg Radio.

Each week Barry interviews a successful and influential business person, and explores the unique technical, professional, and personal views and attributes that have contributed to the success of the interviewee and his / her business.

Most of Barry’s interviews are conducted with Wall Street icons and financial leaders, such as Bill Gross of Janis Capital, Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago Booth School, and Nobel Laureate of Economics Professor Paul Krugman. However, he also interviews successful business people including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Restauranteur / Iron Chef Mario Batali.

Barry is an engaging interviewer who has a gift for facilitating entertaining and informative dialogs and discussions. Whether the discussion is about high speed trading, portfolio weighting theories, or the most important attributes of restaurant design, Barry encourages his guests to share their most valuable insights underpinning their business success.

I highly recommend podcasts as a supplement to traditional hardcopy or digital books and periodicals to maximize the productive time available for continued learning and self-improvement.

Frank T.

Flash Boys: Michael Lewis 2014

Flash Boys

Though I consider myself to be quite familiar with Corporate Finance and the vocabulary of Wall Street, I don’t have nearly as much familiarity and experience with trading and sophisticated investing.

“Flash Boys” was recommended to me many months ago, and I kept putting off reading the book because I wasn’t confident that I would find the world of high speed trading and issues such as “front running” to be interesting.

I have been recently and routinely listening to the Bloomberg “Masters in Business” podcasts hosted by Barry Ritholtz, which has greatly improved my knowledge of trading and investing, and the various strategies and issues commonly associated with this field. This finally inspired me to read “Flash Boys”.

Fear not … Michael Lewis has done a masterful job of introducing the modern concepts of electronic trading, high speed trading, the National Market System regulation, Black Pools, etc. In this regard, I will compare him to a financial version of Tom Clancy. Clancy had an amazing ability to introduce military technology, espionage, geopolitics, and strategy to take the reader on a riveting journey through his fictional world. Michael Lewis has managed to achieve nearly the same level of excitement, intrigue, suspense, and engagement in his non-fiction world of Wall Street shenanigans.

I believe that Lewis has done a great public service in recognizing and highlighting the heroic deeds of Brad Katsuyama and his team at IEX, the fair, investor-friendly stock market created by Brad. Perhaps more importantly, Lewis has totally exposed the fraudulent, manipulative, and fundamentally unfair trading practices that were, and continue to be, practiced by High Frequency Traders to unfairly front run trades to collect risk free returns.

It is true that the HFT guys are not stealing milk money from hungry school kids or retirement savings from grandma and grandpa. However, though the individual impact on each transaction may only be a penny per share, the cumulative impact has been billions of US dollars per year of risk free profit earned at the expense of the investing community with no socially redeeming or morally justifiable basis.

I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend “Flash Boys”, by Michael Lewis, and I look forward to reading some of his other books.

Frank T.