Crapshoot Investing: How Tech-Savvy Traders and Clueless Regulators Turned the Stock Market into a Casino


“The government’s master planners have done it again! Usurping the role of ‘invisible hand,’ they have inadvertently destabilized the stock market and frightened off long-term investors. McTague sardonically chronicles how this happened and the new dangers the meddling has created for the investing public.”

Larry Kudlow, Host, The Kudlow Report, CNBC

“Jim McTague is the best, because he refuses to report like the rest. He was the first to report in the dot-com boom that earnings should matter, and in the real ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (11) from $5.15   
  • New (6) from $15.93   
  • Used (5) from $5.15   
Crapshoot Investing

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$14.99 price
(Save 44%)$26.99 List Price


“The government’s master planners have done it again! Usurping the role of ‘invisible hand,’ they have inadvertently destabilized the stock market and frightened off long-term investors. McTague sardonically chronicles how this happened and the new dangers the meddling has created for the investing public.”

Larry Kudlow, Host, The Kudlow Report, CNBC

“Jim McTague is the best, because he refuses to report like the rest. He was the first to report in the dot-com boom that earnings should matter, and in the real estate boom, that simple math matters. Some might call that being the skunk at the picnic. Pity we don’t have more skunks.”

Neil Cavuto, Host, Your World with Neil Cavuto, Fox News Channel

“Jim McTague presents a ferocious verdict on the state of the markets after the Flash Crash of 2010. It takes a strong mind to read the anecdotes and reporting in Crapshoot Investing and not break down laughing. Cash under the mattress or in a coffee can? Far more secure than the ticker tape.”

John Batchelor, Host, The John Batchelor Show, WABC Radio Network

“This fascinating and compelling book is a must-read for anyone that invests in the stock market. Jim McTague pulls no punches in telling the alarming story of how these markets have been transformed into risky casinos. If you plan to be one of the winners, this is a book for you.”

James R. Barth, Lowder Eminent Scholar in Finance, Auburn University

“This book is like a fast, furious, and sometimes airborne motorcycle ride. It hurtles along, avoiding the obstacles that lie in the path of investors, devilishly constructed by Wall Street and haplessly beyond the ken of the regulators. It is not a book that makes you feel good about your 401K, but you will laugh aloud often.

Llewellyn King, Host, White House Chronicle, PBS

“McTague’s book is an indispensible read for everyone interested in the problems and benefits of replacing human traders with algorithmic machines in one of the most important markets in the world. The equity markets play a central role in the allocation of scarce resources to many of the most productive enterprises that provide jobs for workers, and goods and services for consumers. Short-term retail investors should also consider Jim McTague’s advice: ‘It has become a shark tank and we are the anchovies.’”

Robert Auerbach, Professor of Public Affairs, The Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin

The equity markets are now nothing more than high-speed casinos: white-knuckle rollercoaster rides that have left individual investors legitimately terrified of equities. The Flash Crash of May 6, 2010—when the DJIA plummeted 734 points in 17 minutes and dozens of top companies traded as low as zero—was just a harbinger of even greater disasters.

In Crapshoot Investing, Jim McTague, Barron’s Washington Editor, reveals the twin causes of this massive transformation: high-frequency traders using mathematical hocus pocus and blundering regulators whose new rules have massively backfired.

McTague takes you through the Flash Crash moment by moment, revealing what happened and how it happened. Next, he burrows “under the volcano” to uncover the titanic, uncontrolled forces at work in equity markets, showing you exactly what you’re up against when you trade stock. Last but not least, he presents a rational strategy for investors who need to get ahead in markets that have become riskier than most casinos!

  • Bi-polar markets: from mania to depression in an instant
    The massive new forces pumping new volatility into the markets
  • How markets are selling unfair advantages—at your expense
    How some traders buy privileged access—and tilt the markets against you
  • The new SEC rules that helped destroy the markets
    …and what must be done to fix them
  • How to invest successfully in a shark-infested market
    A disciplined new approach to long-term investing: today’s only route to success
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
McTague, Washington editor for Barron's Magazine and frequent FOX Business News guest, offers his take on recent Wall Street history, most notably the Flash Crash of May 2010; increasing market volatility; the advent of high-frequency trading and the algorithmic trading activities of "quants" (quantitative analysts); and Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulation efforts (which, he contends, have been largely ineffectual, if not counterproductive). Equity and commodity trading are becoming increasingly complex, and McTague's narrative is correspondingly detailed and acronym heavy, although he still tells a quickly paced story. McTague clearly knows his financial stuff (although he perhaps over-attributes investor jitters to the Flash Crash), but his right-of-center political bent sometimes colors his commentary. The jacket copy promises tips for trading, but the book does not contain much in the way of concrete advice for the generalist investor. VERDICT An interesting read, particularly about technological and regulatory shenanigans in today's financial markets, but not as accessible as Michael Lewis's Liar's Poker or The Big Short or as helpful as Gary Kaminsky's Smarter Than the Street.—Sarah Statz Cords, The Reader's Advisor Online
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132599689
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,319,609
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jim McTague has been Washington Editor of Barron’s Magazine since 1994–a post that gives him privileged access to key players throughout Washington and Wall Street. A credentialed White House and Capitol Hill correspondent, he’s covered every administration since the first President Bush. He has appeared on NBC, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, FOX, and is a frequent guest on FOX Business News. McTague’s extensive analysis of the underground economy in 2005 exploded the myth that illegal aliens were a small percentage of the U.S. population, triggering today’s border security debate.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

About the Author viii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: Strange Encounters 11

Chapter 2: Not Your Grandma’s Market 27

Chapter 3: Screaming Headlines 39

Chapter 4: Accidental Senator 47

Chapter 5: Flash Crash 61

Chapter 6: Shock and Awe 81

Chapter 7: Poster Child 85

Chapter 8: Accident Investigation 91

Chapter 9: The Trouble with Mary–and Gary 97

Chapter 10: The Road to Ruin 105

Chapter 11: Busted! 113

Chapter 12: Precursor 125

Chapter 13: Birth of High-Frequency Trading 135

Chapter 14: Evil Geniuses? 149

Chapter 15: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels 165

Chapter 16: Dark Pools 171

Chapter 17: Volatility Villains 175

Chapter 18: The Investigation 183

Chapter 19: The Vigilantes 193

Chapter 20: The Tide Turns 199

Chapter 21: Letter Bomb 207

Chapter 22: Scapegoat 213

Chapter 23: The Real Culprits 221

Chapter 24: Investing in a Shark-Infested Market 229

Index 237

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)