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Sheelah Kolhatkar

Journalist and author of Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street

  • About Sheelah Kolhatkar

    New Yorker staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar’s work offers a ground-level view of the rise of the speculation economy that has ushered in a new era of Wall Street power and influence. Her deeply reported first book, New York Times Bestseller Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street, is a true-life legal thriller that centers around hedge fund billionaire and renowned art collector Steven Cohen, the founder of SAC Capital. Black Edge has been described as a “tour de force of ground-breaking reporting and brilliant storytelling” (Jeffrey Toobin) and a “work of major importance” that is “also addictively readable” (Jane Mayer). For anyone who would like to understand how Wall Street financiers have become so immensely wealthy and powerful, Black Edge is critical reading.

    Kolhatkar is an insightful commentator on financial crime, women in leadership, lessons from innovators in business, and the challenges facing our economy, as well as the role money plays in national politics.

    In her magazine articles, Kolhatkar has written about the pioneers of the hedge fund industry, the sharing economy, and sexism in the video game industry. She has profiled people as diverse as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Pimco founder Bill Gross, hedge fund mogul John Paulson and president-elect Donald Trump. Her feature for New York Magazine, “What if Women Ran Wall Street,” was syndicated around the world and sparked a national conversation about whether a lack of diversity contributed to the conditions leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

    Kolhatkar has appeared as a speaker and commentator on broadcast outlets including CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg Television, Charlie Rose, PBS NewsHour, WNYC and NPR. Kolhatkar is also a skilled moderator; she has conducted numerous on-stage interviews at live events, including Bloomberg Markets Most Influential Summit, The New Yorker Festival’s TechFest, the United Nations, Advertising Week, and the Business for Social Responsibility Conference. Her writing has appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek, The Atlantic, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Time, and other publications. Kolhaktar holds an undergraduate degree from New York University and a M.A. from Stanford University.

  • Speaking Topics

    Wall Street: Financial Crime and Regulation

    As a former hedge fund analyst, Sheelah Kolhatkar knows how Wall Street works today. In this riveting and highly informative lecture, Kolhatkar pulls back the curtain on the financial industry and some of the most prominent financiers in the country, including Wall Street legend Steven A. Cohen whose hedge fund SAC Capital was indicted in connection with a large-scale insider trading scheme.

    Women in Business, Leadership, and the Workplace

    In 2010, Sheelah Kolhatkar’s New York Magazine featured piece, "What if Women Ran Wall Street," sparked lively conversations and debates around the world. In her lecture on women in business and leadership roles, Kolhatkar presents fascinating findings about gender stereotypes and what true gender equality would mean for Wall Street. As Business Insider asked when reporting on Kolhatkar’s findings, “If Lehman Brothers had actually been Lehman Sisters, would it would have survived?” Audiences will leave Kolhatkar’s riveting presentation with their own answer and ideas for improving their own workplace.

    Economic Policy in the Trump Administration: What Can We Expect?

    Donald Trump was elected president after promising to bring back jobs and re-shape Washington to make it more favorable for middle class voters. So far, he has appointed a handful of Wall Street titans to be the next stewards of the U.S. economy. Kolhatkar examines the backgrounds of Trump's new business-elite administration, the policies they are likely to pursue and the question of who is likely to benefit—and who isn't.

    The Trump Administration: Draining the Swamp or Replacing the Swamp Dwellers?

    As income inequality swelled and manufacturing jobs fled the country, a new wave of populist anger swept Donald Trump into the White House, based on his promises to drain the culture of corruption and corporate interests from Washington. Since then, he has appointed wealthy CEOs (Rex Tillerson, Andrew Puzder), private equity moguls (Wilbur Ross), major republican donors (Betsy DeVos) and Wall Street financiers (Steven Mnuchin) to key posts. Is the new president draining the swamp or simply adding alligators?

    Financial Crises and How to Prevent Them

    Big Money and Politics

  • Video

  • Praise for Sheelah Kolhatkar

    Praise for Black Edge

    Excellent… Three themes stand out in Black Edge,. One is the hollow life of the protagonist. Clad in a fleece, surrounded by 12 screens, masseuses, a manipulative wife, a hostile ex-wife and a cast of millionaire sycophants whom he periodically culls, Mr Cohen cuts a sad figure. The second theme is the decay of the industry’s ethics. The banks still do business with Mr Cohen, and if he opens a new fund, supposedly reputable firms will line up to give him money. The last theme is the feebleness of enforcement. Mr Cohen’s government pursuers were comprehensively outwitted by his lawyers. In fictional accounts of high finance—in Tom Wolfe’s novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, or Wall Street, directed by Oliver Stone—the courts ultimately bring the biggest egos crashing down. In real life the law has much less power.

    The Economist

    Masterfully deconstructing a massive web of Wall Street operating, New Yorker staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar retraces the seven-year government investigation that took down the firm—though not the man—in a true-life thriller with Shakespearian stakes… [H]er chilling account of a blighted industry is as mesmerizing as a human story as it is as a financial one.


    Black Edge is a real-life thriller about the government’s attempt to get the legendary trader Steve Cohen on insider trading charges—and the lengths to which he goes to elude them. Using deep reporting and top-notch storytelling, Sheelah Kolhatkar is able to shed new light on one of the least known and most fascinating characters on Wall Street.

    Bethany McLean, co-author of The Smartest Guys in the Room

    Fast-paced and filled with twists, Black Edge has the grip of a thriller. It is also an essential exposé of our times—a work that reveals the deep rot in our financial system. Everyone should read this book.

    David Grann, New York Times-bestselling author of The Lost City of Z

    Black Edge is not just a work of major importance, it is also addictively readable—and horrifyingly compelling. Sheelah Kolhatkar pulls back the curtain on the cheating, corruption, and skulduggery that underlie large swaths of the hedge fund industry and some of Wall Street’s most fabled fortunes. This book is as hard to put down as it is to stomach.

    Jane Mayer, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Money
  • Books by Sheelah Kolhatkar

  • Media About Sheelah Kolhatkar

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  • 212 572-2013
  • Sheelah Kolhatkar travels from New York, NY

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