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Rigged by Ben Mezrich

Rigged by Ben Mezrich

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Rigged by Ben Mezrich
Rigged is the true story of a kid from Brooklyn, with an Ivy League education, who was instrumental in the creation of the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME). The DME is a commodity exchange in Dubai that trades the Oman crude oil futures contract. The dream of the DME, however, is credited to another young go-getter from the Dubai Finance Ministry.

You won’t learn how to trade crude oil futures from reading Rigged, but it is a highly entertaining story of how two young visionaries from different worlds turned a pipedream into a reality.

The book is a true story, but I am sure the author used some embellishments to portray the actual events and characters. The names were changed to protect the identities but the author probably didn’t have to work very hard to make the characters interesting.

Probably the most amazing part of the story is that the main characters, Russo and Khaled, were just out of grad school and they had virtually no experience with commodity exchanges. Even more amazing were all the barriers they had to overcome in order to get this deal done. Russo had to convince the board of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) to partner with the Finance Ministry of Dubai. Khaled had to sell Russo on the idea and convince the religious leaders in the Middle East that a commodity exchange did not conflict with their religious beliefs.

I can only imagine the reaction of the NYMEX traders and board when they were pitched the idea of partnering with a country in the Middle East just one year after 9-11.

This is a great story that is related to trading commodities. However, Mezrich does focus more on the individual struggles of Russo and Khaled than he does about the details of establishing a commodity exchange and trading commodities. I had a hard time putting this book down and I couldn’t help but feel inspired by the remarkable accomplishments of these individuals.

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