His Access to SBF Was Wild. This Is the Result

Michael Lewis' latest is 'Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2023 3:23 PM CDT
One Journalist Was Beside SBF as FTX Boomed and Collapsed
Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Manhattan federal court in New York on Feb. 16, 2023. The fraud trial of Bankman-Fried, the founder of failed cryptocurrency brokerage FTX, begins Tuesday with jury selection.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

"Michael's got a horseshoe in his underwear," is how Billy Beane put it to the Guardian. He's talking about Michael Lewis, the acclaimed journalist of Moneyball (Beane was a "character" in that one), Big Short, and Liar's Poker fame. He also happened to have been following Sam Bankman-Fried for months before FTX blew up—and he stuck around to watch the aftermath of the implosion. The result is Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon, which sources say Apple paid $5 million to secure the TV rights to without having read a single word. With the book out Tuesday, you can now read every word—or delve into some of the great articles being written about it. Three that are worth your time:

  • The aforementioned Guardian article by Samanth Subramanian digs into Lewis as journalist, and how that horseshoe-reputation developed. It goes deep into his process, writing space, how he finds his subjects, his upper-crust childhood in New Orleans, his "big presence," how writing has felt since the 2021 death of his daughter, and whether he got too close to SBF. (Read it here.)
  • The Wall Street Journal has a lengthy excerpt from this book, this one focused on Caroline Ellison—the former CEO of FTX sister company Alameda Research and his one-time girlfriend. Lewis explains how Ellison and SBF met, why she was convinced to leave Jane Street Capital, and the complete chaos she found upon joining him. Within a short time, his entire management team quit and the capital they had to trade cratered by 75%. "What happened next, in retrospect, seems faintly incredible," writes Lewis. (Read it here.)

  • Insider zooms in on SBF and Ellison's relationship, with Lewis having seen documents including a pros and cons list SBF sent Eliison that weighed the benefits and costs of having a sexual relationship with him. Among the cons: his tendency to "stay at work for 60 hours straight and not think about anything else" and "In a lot of ways I don't really have a soul." Appearing on the pros list twice: "I really like f---ing you."
(More Michael Lewis stories.)

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