Scott Patterson

Scott Patterson (born December 29, 1969)[1] is an American financial journalist and bestselling author.[2][3] He is a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal and author of Dark Pools: High-Speed Traders, A.I. Bandits, and the Threat to the Global Financial System and The New York Times bestselling book The Quants.[4][5][6]


Patterson has as Master of Arts and English degree from James Madison University.[7][8] Patterson is a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal covering government regulation of the financial industry.[8] His coverage has included high-profile interviews with Mark Cuban, Warren Buffett, Edward Thorp and others.[9][10][11]

He has been described as the “go-to guy” for high-tech journalism, covering topics such as dark pools, flash crashes, algorithmic trading and high-frequency trading (HFT).[3][12][13][14][15]

Patterson is an active critic of high-frequency trading, citing HFT as a major cause of market volatility and preferential treatment of select firms, yet acknowledging HFT role as market makers.[16] He is a proponent of greater government oversight on the markets, pointing out that they cannot keep up with Wall Street innovation. He names this as a cause of decreased public confidence in the markets.[17][18] Patterson attributes the Flash Crash to a combination of all these issues.[13]


The Quants

In 2010, Patterson wrote The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It, a bestseller that was published by Crown Publishing.[19] The book outlines computer-driven quantitative trading by following the lives of four “quants.” These quants are highly educated whiz kids that created complex mathematical algorithms to exploit market inefficiencies.[6]

Ultimately, the reliance on computer-driven trading was attributed to meltdowns such as Black Monday, the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management, and Great Credit Crackup.[20] The history of quantitative trading is covered, including early quants such as Edward Thorp and how much of the early knowledge was applied from lessons learned at blackjack tables.[21] The book also highlights interactions with people against quantitative trading including Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Black Swan.[22]

Dark Pools

On June 12, 2012, Patterson released Dark Pools: High-Speed Traders, A.I. Bandits, and the Threat to the Global Financial System.[16][23][24][25][26] The book expands on The Quants to show how the rise of algorithmic trading, artificial intelligence bots, and high-frequency trading have rigged the current stock market.[13][27] Patterson also discusses how governmental agencies, like the SEC, cannot keep up with the rapid evolution of technology.[17]

These new innovations show no sign of slowing, and Patterson describes AI Bots, Dark Pools, and HFT as the future of trading.[28]

The Globe and Mail described Dark Pools as “the best book going on the issue.”[16]


Patterson’s debut book The Quants went on to become a New York Times Bestseller.[5] Due to the success of the first book, Patterson began working on Dark Pools to expand on the issues covered in The Quants.[7]

Patterson’s style of writing has been compared to author Michael Lewis, due to his ability to relay complex financial topics in a way suitable for mass appeal.[2][23][24] His journalism has been praised for its depth, particularly in cataloging the roots of current market technologies.[29] Patterson’s work has been featured in The Wall Street JournalNew York Times, CNBC, Forbes, CNN, Fortune magazine, Rolling StoneScientific American, and the Financial Times, among others.

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