In 2007, a stranger-than-fiction multibillion-dollar bidding war for the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) erupted between the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Atlantas IntercontinentalExchange (ICE). Zero-Sum Game: The Rise of the Worlds Largest Derivatives Exchange takes readers behind the scenes of this battle to tell the gripping and often comical story of how the historic merger between CME and CBOT almost didn't happen.
Author Erika S. Olson, a managing director at CBOT during the bidding war, delivers a blow-by-blow account of the fight for the world's oldest futures exchange, taking you inside CBOTs landmark Chicago Loop headquarters, onto the high-octane trading floor, and into executives offices.
Through the lens of the CME/CBOT deal, Zero-Sum Game:
Erika S. Olson is a former managing director of the Chicago Board of Trade and spent over ten years working in and consulting to the financial services industry. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.
This is not a deep-analyzing treatise of how the derivatives markets work, or where they are heading. There were a few limited passages on that, especially at the end, which were my favorite parts of the book. This author is a good explainer. This book is more a readable snapshot of some fairly recent times during the merger of Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange, seen from inside CBOT (and a recent-hire, mid-level employee's perspective, not a dealmaker in the situation). Sometimes (unfortunately, right at the start) it dwells a bit on trivial office life and personalities. When will authors get that the tinny shallow supposed flamboyance of some of these people are mostly pathetic, and beside the point? I guess it is thought to add color. However, I found it a listenable tour through a place and time, with some very very basic explanations of the business of these organizations. And, it was an OK blow-by-blow of living through a corporate merger. Overall, this was a relaxing and light sort of business read, and in that, worth it. It really whet my appetite to learn more about these markets and exchanges. I wish we had something with more meat to it, in that regard, a bit more technical.
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