The Ascent and Decline of an Ambitious Tycoon: Michael Lewis’s ‘Going Infinite’

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In Michael Lewis’s new book, “Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon,” he explores the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX and its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried. Lewis reveals an intriguing claim made by Bankman-Fried about exploring the possibility of paying Donald Trump $5 billion to not run for president in 2024. However, Lewis does not delve further into this claim or investigate its veracity. The book provides a glimpse into Bankman-Fried’s upbringing, his lack of connection to others, and his interest in effective altruism (EA) and crypto trading. Lewis portrays FTX as heavily influenced by EA and highlights the lack of financial controls within the company. Furthermore, Lewis questions Bankman-Fried’s belief that the missing $8 billion that led to FTX’s bankruptcy will be found, which may explain his decision to go to trial instead of taking a plea.

While Lewis’s book provides insights into Bankman-Fried’s story and personality, it lacks detailed financial analysis and a nuanced breakdown of what went wrong at FTX. Readers looking for a more comprehensive exploration of crypto’s rise and fall may turn to Zeke Faux’s “Number Go Up,” which includes dramatic appearances by Bankman-Fried and positions itself as an “I-told-you-so” narrative. Faux’s book focuses on the rise of the stablecoin Tether and its impact on the price and infrastructure of bitcoin. It also delves into the clashes between Tether and regulators and introduces colorful characters involved in the crypto world.

Overall, these books shed light on the collapse of FTX and the wider crypto industry, but while Lewis’s book offers an intimate portrait of Bankman-Fried, it falls short in providing a comprehensive analysis of the situation. Faux’s book, on the other hand, dives deeper into the intricacies of crypto’s rise and fall and offers a more captivating narrative.

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