Michael Lewis is the renowned author of bestselling masterpieces including Moneyball, The Big Short, Flash Boys and Liar’s Poker. This autumn he is set to release his most anticipated book to date which is likely to be one of 2023’s biggest sellers – Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon, a gripping, real-time narrative chronicling the enigmatic protagonist behind one of the most catastrophic financial meltdowns of the 21st century.
This character is Sam Bankman-Fried, who became the world’s youngest billionaire before his thirtieth birthday. And Lewis is uniquely positioned to tell his story, having been granted unprecedented access by Bankman-Fried, allowing him to witness his entire tumultuous journey. As Lewis himself puts it, ‘It’s almost as if I was attached to a character who was insistent on generating a beautiful work of fiction for me in real time, in the real world, and allowing me to watch.’
On October 9 Lewis comes to the Intelligence Squared stage to relay how, as the crypto frenzy reached its peak, Bankman-Fried’s fortune soared, attracting the attention of CEOs, celebrities, philosophers, charity heads and world leaders, all vying for a piece of his time – and sometimes his money. At one point he considered paying off the entire national debt of the Bahamas so he could take his business there.
But then it all came crashing down. Bankman-Fried has been charged in US federal court with committing a multi-billion-dollar fraud and, if convicted, faces a lengthy prison term.
Who was this unconventional figure, who nonchalantly wore cargo shorts and played video games while giving TV interviews, remaining a mystery even to his investors? What gave him such an outstanding ability to make money? And what led to the spectacular collapse of his empire?
Join us to hear the tale of an extraordinary individual and a 21st-century epic encompassing high-frequency trading, insane amounts of money, hubris and downfall.