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BLACK EDGE: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street
announced first printing: 60,000 copies
“Fast-paced and filled with twists, Black Edge has the grip of thriller. It is also an essential exposé of our times—a work that reveals the deep rot in our financial system. Everyone should read this book.” – David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z
“Black Edge is not just a work of major importance, it is also addictively readable -- and horrifyingly compelling. Kolhatkar pulls back the curtain on the cheating, corruption, and skullduggery that underlies large swaths of the hedge fund industry and some of Wall Street’s most fabled fortunes. As hard to put down as it is to stomach.”– Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money
“Black Edge is a tour de force of ground-breaking reporting and brilliant storytelling. It's a revealing inside account of how the Feds track a high profile target -- and, just as important, an unsettling portrayal of how Wall Street works today.”—Jeffrey Toobin, author of American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst
In the tradition of DEN OF THIEVES and TOO BIG TO FAIL, BLACK EDGE is the deeply reported story of Wall Street legend Steven A. Cohen and the rise and fall of his legendary hedge fund SAC capital, and the FBI agents, prosecutors and SEC lawyers who led the largest inside trading investigation in the history of Wall Street. This is a riveting, true-life thriller that raises an urgent and troubling question: Are Wall Street titans like Cohen above the law?
Born into a middle class family in an affluent town in Long Island, NY, Steven Cohen longed from an early age to be a star on Wall Street. He went to Wharton, and in 1992 launched the hedge fund SAC Capital, which he built into a $15 billion empire, almost entirely on the basis of his wizard-like stock trading. He cultivated an air of mystery and extreme excess; on Wall Street, he was revered as a genius: one of the greatest traders who ever lived.
That public image was shattered when SAC Capital became the target of a sprawling, seven-year criminal and SEC investigation, the largest in history, led by an under-recognized but determined group of FBI agents, prosecutors, and SEC investigators. Labeled by prosecutors as a "magnet for market cheaters" whose culture encouraged relentless pursuit of an information “edge”—and even “black edge” (inside information)—SAC Capital was ultimately indicted and pled guilty to charges of securities and wire fraud in connection with a large-scale insider trading scheme. Cohen's company paid record criminal and civil fines of nearly $2 billion and Cohen was forced to stop managing other people's money.
But as Kolhatkar shows, even as the company bearing his initials pled guilty, Cohen was never actually put out of business. He was allowed to keep trading his own $10 billion fortune, and can start a new hedge fund in only a few years. Though his company and several of his employees were convicted or pled guilty to insider trading, Cohen himself walked away a free man. He continues to be a mythic figure, one of the most prominent financiers in the country.
This is a gripping account from an author perfectly primed to deliver it: Sheelah Kolhatkar is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a former hedge fund analyst who understands the industry from the inside. She has extensive media experience and has appeared on CNBC, Bloomberg Television, Charlie Rose, PBS NewsHour, CBS, NPR, as well as numerous podcasts and live conferences. Her writing has appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Magazine, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and other publications.
BLACK EDGE is the culmination of three years of reporting, and contains a wealth of new information. BLACK EDGE offers a revelatory, ground-level view of the rise of the speculation economy that has ushered in a new era of Wall Street power and influence, and which has contributed to wealth and income inequality.
Praise for the book:
“[Black Edge] is many things: a Wall Street primer; a procedural drama; a modern version of “Moby-Dick,” with wiretaps rather than harpoons. Kolhatkar, a staff writer for The New Yorker and a former hedge fund analyst, expertly synthesizes an enormous amount of material, including court documents and hundreds of her own interviews.” – The New York Times
“Kolhatkar's story of [Steve] Cohen's near prosecution is not a revisionist account; it won't change your understanding of what occurred (or what didn't occur, in this instance). But what she does do is put you where few journalists ever take readers: inside the room where prosecutors and defense lawyers were jousting over whether Cohen should be charged, in a meeting called for the express purpose of giving the defense team an opportunity to persuade the prosecutors not to charge Cohen… The vast majority of readers will embark on the story already knowing how it turns out and yet it's a journey worth taking.” -Fortune CEO Daily
“Sheelah Kolhatkar…has written a fast-paced tale of how the feds worked for almost a decade to build a case against [Steven Cohen], and why they couldn’t indict him, in Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street… Kolhatkar smartly pieces together…and refines our understanding of the saga with as-yet-unpublished tidbits she gleaned through interviews and court documents.” – Bloomberg Businessweek
“If you're a financial thriller junkie, you'll love Black Edge…” – Pensions & Investments
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