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Zero-Sum Game: The Rise of the World's Largest Derivatives Exchange Hardcover – October 26, 2010
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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Olson is a more than competent writer. However, throughout the book she made choices regarding the overall organization of the material, the level of details (was she *really* an insider, given her inexperience at CBOT compared to those of her compatriots) what to share (and not share) that began for me as a letdown that escalated into full-blown disappointment. I do not entirely fault Olson, as in the hands of a different editor, this could have been a much different read.
While many reviewers liked the detailed descriptions of the "players" in the book, it was too much for me--a few paragraphs with salient details would have easily sufficed. When an author devotes 2-4 pages of material on a person's upbringing, education, and personal life over and over again, you as a reader expect that person to play a subsequent, prominent role. This was only true part of the time. About halfway through, I started skipping the CV portion of the book.
A small quibble: this was a book promoted as having pop culture references liberally sprinkled throughout. It does not. It is a book about futures and derivatives and the battle between CBOT and the Merc. The only pop culture references were the names of each chapter--the same device that Olson uses in her blogging. Anyone thinking they're going to get a dose of pop culture in this book will be disappointed.
Although Olson was in management, she came across more as a witness to the action rather than a participant. While she chronicles myriad meetings, the "indepth" details--as well as her participation--are hazy. What was her role, other than to attend and get her marching orders? Her voice--literally--is missing.
Another thing that was absent was talk about herself - she gave so many of her characters the "CV treatment", why not give herself the same scrutiny. At the end of the book, it's not even clear what happened to Olson--did she leave because she was laid off, did she quit because she was burned out, or something else? With as much careful attention as she gave to everyone post CBOT merger, for me, this was a glaring omission.
Although those who disparage Markets and are quick to blame speculators for many of our ills won't read this book, anyone who appreciates and respects the benefits of Capitalism and its impact on modern society should read this book - if only for the education in what Markets do for us and how they work. Here I don't just mean Futures Markets, as this book is about the market for entire companies as CME and ICE bid for CBOT.
Zero-Sum Game: The Rise of the World's Largest Derivatives Exchange