From the author who brought you the massive New York Times bestseller Bringing Down the House, this is the startling rags-to-riches story of an Italian-American kid from the streets of Brooklyn who claws his way into the wild, frenetic world of the oil exchange. After conquering the hallowed halls of Harvard Business School, he enters the testosterone-laced warrens of the Merc Exchange, the asylumlike oil exchange located in lower Manhattan. A place where billions of dollars trade hands every week, the Merc is like a casino on crack, where former garbagemen become millionaires overnight and where fistfights break out on the trading floor.
This ordinary kid has traded Brooklyn for the gold-lined hotel palaces of Dubai. He keeps company on the decks of private yachts in Monte Carlo, teeming with half-naked girls flown in by Saudi sheiks, and makes deals in the dangerous back alleys of Beijing.
But the Merc is just a starting place. Taken under the wing of another young gun and partnering with a mysterious young Muslim, the kid embarks on a dangerous adventure to revolutionize the oil trading industry: and, along with it, the world. Rigged is the explicit, exclusive, true story behind the headlines that dominate the world stage.
Following in the tradition of Liar’s Poker, Ben Mezrich’s Rigged delivers a no-holds-barred journalistic exposé of Wall Street bravado. However, where Michael Lewis’ seminal work painted a largely bleak portrait of Wall Street largesse, Mezrich’s financial visionary - Ivy League prodigy David Russo - is presented in a more varied light. Mezrich doesn’t mince words depicting the heedless, competitive machismo that belies finance culture, as he follows Russo’s exploits through luxuriant Dubai resorts and private yachts staffed by half-naked escorts. Nevertheless, Russo is given due credit for his instrumental role as a cofounder of the Dubai Mercantile Exchange. Performing his own work, Mezrich is fluid, straightforward, and objective, concealing whatever political or economic biases that might occasionally slip through his text.
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- Eric Pietz