Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One of the best things about being a writer

is meeting other writers, forming new friendships, reading their books, and then liking those books so much you want the rest of the world to read them too.

One of those writers is Fred Burwell, and his debut novel is Prairie Hill.

Set in small town Wisconsin, Prairie Hill reflects the values of midwestern America in the characters and their struggles to find themselves within melancholic environs. Fred's prose is gently engaging; I read the book with nary a rest to glance out the window, but when I finished I looked into my garden with new eyes.

Prairie Hill will be offered on a free promotion tomorrow and Friday (6/21-6/22). I encourage you to pick up a copy.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Explore More: A TAKEDOWN Study Guide

Although TAKEDOWN is a fictional work its underpinnings are serious issues that impact all of us.

In the real world we’ve seen a pattern of troubling computer software failures in the equity markets this past year.

The BATS IPO was marred by “computer glitches”:

Facebook’s failed IPO was also blamed on computer software “glitches”.

Computerized high frequency trading (HFT) is whipsawing the market and is the likely culprit in “flash crash” scenarios:

The SEC’s inability to seriously investigate financial fraud due to regulatory capture by the industry they are given authority to police is another theme woven throughout TAKEDOWN.

Matt Taibbi’s investigative reporting digs in on this topic:

The SEC does occasionally catch a fish:

One reader mentioned that Dan Decker's motivations in TAKEDOWN are very similar to John Corzine's at MF Global. Both men started with the best intentions as they tried to save failing institutions, and both ended up committing fraud to achieve their ends.

Is Dan Decker different from Corzine?

How does each man co-opt his colleagues in implementing a scheme?

PBS Frontline has a good, short video about Corzine's takedown of MF Global: