2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
In this sensational book, American journalist Leah Goodman presents a stunning picture of the inner workings of a commodity exchange during those turbulent days during 2006 when gasoline and oil prices skyrocketed to unheard of levels. The focus of her study is the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange)- a small group of rogue traders - as it attempted to become a front-line player in the battle to control the volatile international energy sector. It was the unscrupulous actions of this improbable gang of wannabe financial pirates that, in Goodman's estimation, contributed, in large part, to much of the market uncertainty of the times. Her review of the history of this 'other' exchange and its many unorthodox operators makes for a scintillating read that is comparable in wit and irony to Michael Lewis' "Liars Poker". The ongoing conflicts within this group of traders presents both a picture of cutthroat survival in the competitive world of commodity trading and the height of financial daredevilry. What was once a humble operation devoted to selling potato contracts, the NYMEX soon found that it needed greater respect in the financial world. Goodman provides an often hilarious account of how this slimy and badly-divided company worked itself into a position where it could become a big player in fossil fuels. Its secret was to capitalize on the new-found freedoms granted the marketplace because of President Reagan's efforts to deregulate. What I found most fascinating were the many side deals in the form of arbitrage that seemed to make the NYMEX look like a big player at the table. A very captivating read for those of us like to delve into the corrupt practices of white-collar criminals.