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Oil's Endless Bid: Taming the Unreliable Price of Oil to Secure Our Economy Hardcover – April 12, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Why does it cost $40 to fill your gas tank one year and $80 the next?

What caused oil and gas prices to soar 600% from 2003–2008, only to take a nosedive and soar again over the next couple of years?

Why, if cheap energy sources are more abundant than ever, are we bankrupting our economy in order to make foreign oil producers even richer than they already are?

While there seems to be no shortage of "expert" opinions as to why oil prices have been behaving so erratically, the three most commonly given blame either the decline in the value of the U.S. dollar; China's insatiable hunger for oil; or investor fears of inflation.

Thoughtful people sense there is something wrong with this conventional wisdom about the oil markets, but they are hard pressed to say what it is. Are they correct? Is there another, more sinister force driving the oil's crazy price volatility—something glaringly obvious that the experts are missing or, worse, deliberately glossing over?

The short answer, according to author Dan Dicker, is yes—and that missing "something" is, quite simply, that the oil markets are terribly broken. What broke them, and how can they be fixed before they drag us all down into an economic black hole, is the subject of Oil's Endless Bid.

Few authors are as qualified as Dan to write such a book. During his two decades as a NYMEX oil trader, he watched a clubby niche market explode into a firestorm of financial speculation fueled by a high-octane mix of unbridled greed, the malignant growth of exotic financial instruments, and a near-total lack of oversight.

Interweaving personal accounts with expert analysis, Dan reflects on his life as a trader before and after passage of the Commodities Futures Modernization Act opened up the oil markets to a flood of "dumb money." According to him, the "assetization" of oil, and the rapid growth of oil index funds and ETFs, has created an incessant upward pressure on the price of oil—the lifeblood of American industry. And that pressure has severed it from the practical realities of oil and the oil industries. Hence, "oil's endless bid."

The biggest victim of this latest speculative feeding frenzy is the American consumer, who pays the price at the pump and in the inflated costs of everything—from food and clothing to electric power and even lifesaving medications.

Oil's Endless Bid offers a unique insider's look at the modern face of oil trading, along with expert advice on how to immunize your assets from unpredictable price volatility in the markets. But perhaps, more important, it explains what corporate and government leaders can and must do to address this dire problem . . . before it's too late.

From the Back Cover


"Eye-opening for anyone who drives a car or uses a lightbulb. Dan Dicker draws on his years of experience at the heart of energy markets and uncovers why Americans are paying the price for huge funds to gamble in futures. By the end, he makes his case for some real-world solutions to a problem that is bound to spiral out of control once again. As compelling as it is entertaining."—Melissa Francis, Host of CNBC's The Call

"Armed with the perspective of a market professional, Dan Dicker dives into the slick, murky world of oil trading and emerges with an illuminating cautionary tale." —Daniel Gross, columnist for Yahoo! Finance and Newsweek

An industry insider tells the biggest financial story of the new millennium—how we lost control of our oil markets

Leading energy industry analyst Dan Dicker recalls his twenty years as an oil trader and describes the huge changes that have taken place in the market over the past decade. He details the impact of the Commodities Futures Modernization Act on the oil market and how the financialization of oil transformed a sleepy niche market into a global Ponzi scheme. He explains how investment banks, energy hedge funds, managed future funds, and ETFs came to dominate energy trading and wreak havoc on the oil market and the world economy. And he exhorts government and corporate leaders to act to stabilize oil prices before it's too late.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470915625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470915622
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Al N. Roy on April 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dicker's book is more than an expert explanation and analysis of the oil markets and of the speculative debacle they have become, and an astute call for regulation. It is an insider's look at the exotic world of New York floor traders and Texas oilmen; it entertains us with stories from the trading pits, putting us right in the thick of it.

Although not intended as an investment guide, the book illuminates commodities trading strategies and their advantages and pitfalls. On this subject, Dicker, a successful trader on the New York Mercantile Exchange, is unusually well-qualified.

After reading "Oil's Endless Bid", I have a thorough knowledge of the oil and oil by-products markets and of trading strategy terminology. Most importantly, I have plenty to think about regarding the effects of rampant speculation on the price of oil and how that influences the U.S. and world economies and our everyday lives.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Paul Nunes on April 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book will provide an excellent educationo n the nature of the crude oil markets and how trading in those markets has evolved over the years. I completely disagree with the reveiwer that was dismissive of the points Dan made in his books. The changing of the rules that has allowed an exponential increase in the betting on oil prices does not provide real world economic benefit other than to the profitting trading firms. THe futures markets for commodites provide the business and social stabilizing function of price discovery just as the capital markets for bonds and stocks exist for capital formation. The speculation aspect has always existed in human nature and these markets; but the evidence clearly depicted in this book shows the speuclative aspect of the market has overwhelmed the ecnomic useful aspects of these markets. I learned a lot from Dan's book and I encourage you to read it. I would also suggest in addition to this book Oil 101 by Morton Downey; it comptements this book very well if you are interestsed in the energy markets. Dan's financial commentary is available at and I have found his videos and columns helpful in my investment advisory business. As an added bonus; Dan has great personal stories!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jay Poppenhusen on April 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Day after day our news media report to us on skyrocketing oil prices and endless environmental, geopolitical side stories. Why is the price of oil going up an endless spiral? Dicker provides an autobiographical, commodities "trading pit" account of what is happening. He uses plain old street language in an attempt to clarify what is hedging, trading, investing, and speculating. And this uncovers the problem he sees with the oil industry. Oil producing companies that might appear to be hedging are actually trading, and Goldman Sachs mysteriously makes oil appear to be something that can be managed like a stock equity. How can they be allowed to do that at the expense of the consumer? Decker teaches readers how to place a "crack spread" bid in all the yelling in your face language on the trading floor. He offers a fully developed theory on why the rules of online, ETF, investment bank commodities trading are no longer on a level playing field.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DeanJ on May 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recieved the book on Saturday and it was rainy and cold here in Chicago. So when I took it out of the Amazon box I figured I would puruse it to get some insight on what it contained. Well after five hours I was half way throught the book and could not stop reading it, what a wealth of information. In my humble opinion it is superlative.... For anyone seeking knowledge and wisdom on this subject including our own government officails this is the manuscript to obtain and read; not like the legislation they seem to continue to pass which they know nothing about its consequences such as the "Futures Moderization Act" passed by Clinton. I especially like the way you wrote the book with your wit and your anecdotes. The cover is also very creative with the oil rig serving as one of the letters.. excellent job. I must admit that I did not go to the Wharton School of Business, but none the less the mantra of "commodities are not stocks" will continue to serve me well when trying to explain to individuals who constantly think that it is the greedy oil companies that are forcing the price of oil upwards; but instead as you eloquently point out it is the investment banks, the asset managers and the quest for higher portfolio returns from these individuals and the financial instruments used to "get in on" the oil's endless bid which is a self fullfilling prophecy which will result in the country's demise... in essence we are "eating our own." The book once again is fantastic not at all a typically written dry and boring piece of "academia" with endless statistics and formula's... this is exacly the complete opposite with an insight into the oil world that is truly eye opening and sobering. As you well point out this country can not become properous due to our reliance on this commodity if it is endlessly going to be bid upwards without any ties to the laws of supply and demand.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DS on May 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dan Dicker has produced a serious and detailed analysis of the troubled state of the world's energy markets. With a pedigree that includes three decades as a market participant and analyst, he is well-suited to opine on market structure and operation and does so in a narrative style that is engaging and thought-provoking. Traders, exchange representatives, regulators, and elected officials should read this book to gain perspective on the fundamental instabilities in these markets and the steps that can be taken to fix what is wrong.

And yet, this book can and should be appreciated by a wider audience. As Dicker rightly points out, it is not only market participants who should care about "oil's endless bid." The high price of energy affects everyone on the planet and threatens to undermine growth rates and wealth creation throughout the world. This is an important book arriving at a critical time. A very worthwhile read.
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