Monday, January 24, 2011

Three recent books

A few books of note that are worth a mention:

 Zero Sum Game was an interesting read because it dealt with the CBOT/CME merger by a high level employee at the CBOT who started at the exchange right before the merger and presumably left right after.  It doesn't deal much w/the trading pits but on the deal making of how the CME bid for CBOT and brushed off the counter bid by ICE.  The author did a great job listing a lot of the details but I felt that she was biased towards those who gave access for the book (i.e. CBOT/ICE officials) and snubbed those who didn't (i.e. CME officals).  Go ahead and buy it as it's a great reference which truly did reshape the trading industry.

 The Futures came out recently and the concept of the book is great with chapters broken down into describing different contracts, i.e. Eggs, Onions, Eurodollars, Bunds, etc....  I didn't feel like a lot of new ground was broken in the book but I certainly learned a thing or two by reading it.  Most of the book was recounting stories of various characters so it's pretty light reading and a good overview of the stories behind contracts but I don't take as fact a lot of legends which are presented as facts because people, particularly traders, get details embellished.  To be honest, I liked it but didn't love it because some chapters I felt came in weak such as the ones on Eurodollars and Bunds but that weakness was offset w/stronger chapters like Onions, Eggs and Oil.  It's also worth a buy as it's easy to jump around the book to read each chapter individually. 

The Asylum hasn't been released yet but just putting it out there as an early notice since it's available in about three weeks.  The book tells the story of NYMEX, characters at the exchange and the role in the energy markets but judging from the publisher's description it's largely a leftist hatched job on the exchange and people involved...not that it might not be deserved but there are so many cliches it's hard for me to take serious.  As the author lives in Boulder and works at the Center for Environmental Journalism, it's pretty clear how the book is going to read.  That said, I'm still gonna buy it and see if my opinion changes.
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