On November 2, Sam Bankman-Friend was convicted of seven counts of fraud, a verdict that carries a maximum sentence of 115 years in prison. But just a couple years earlier, Bankman-Fried had been a rising star. According to Forbes, he was the richest person under 30, the billionaire founder of the FTX crypto exchange. And he wasn’t purely self-interested. An effective altruist, Bankman-Fried had grand designs to make enough money to address existential risks like nuclear war, global pandemics, and the rise of artificial intelligence.
What happened? And how did it all go so wrong? In Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon (W.W. Norton, 2023), Michael Lewis takes us behind the scenes, telling the tumultuous tale of Bankman-Fried’s meteoric rise and how it all – his wealth, his company, and his credibility – disappeared overnight. A cautionary tale of how unchecked ambition and the relentless pursuit of success, even with the best of intentions, can lead to catastrophic results, Going Infinite underscores the role that cultivating the virtues of prudence and humility plays in making great moral achievements possible and the dangers of making ethical compromises in the name of a grand moral vision.