“Rigged” describes life on trading floor of the Merc
Ben Mezrich’s newest book Rigged is the testosterone-infused, rags-to-riches story of David Russo, an Italian kid from Brooklyn, who gets swept into the fast-paced world of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Based on the true experiences of John D’Agostino, the book follows Russo after he graduates Harvard Law School and is thrust from his faceless starting position at Merrill Lynch to the crazy trading floors of the Merc.
He quickly discovers the Merc isn’t just a busy trading floor like the New York Stock Exchange.
The price of oil is determined as shares are bought and sold, millions of dollars trading hands every few seconds. Traders’ lives are made or broken in a matter of minutes and fights spontaneously burst out on the trading floor.
After navigating the halls of the Merc for less than a year, Russo is promoted to vice-president. Then, a mysterious figure from the Middle East reaches out to Russo, promising that they can together change the world of oil in the booming city of Dubai.
Mezrich has an affinity for writing books about highly educated but misdirected young people who are thrust into worlds of deception, high stakes and even higher payouts. His other books include Bringing Down the House made into the movie 21 that was released in March. The rights to Rigged, published in October by William Morrow, were purchased by Summit Entertainment to be made into a movie as well.
His writing is easy to read and engrossing, with descriptions that make the reader feel as though they themselves are being pushed around the energetic and hostile trading floor.
Russo’s first experience at the Merc is memorable. He recounts, “It began with a bell…Suddenly, the room exploded…Hands were up in the air, fists clenching tiny slips of paper, hoarse voices shouting to be heard over the scuff of shoes, the whir of computers, and the metallic echo of the bell. The fists swung back and forth, the voices cried out, and the tiny slips of paper rained down toward the floor like confetti…’Welcome to the asylum,’ Reston whispered.”
The personalities of the traders, men who evolved “from garbagemen to millionaires,” are perfectly portrayed as they drop thousands of dollars on bar tabs and strippers and park their brand new Ferraris on the streets of Brooklyn.
If the book slows at all, it is while he is working on the plan in Dubai. While the city is a playground for the young and affluent, his business dealings surrounding it tend to drag compared to the flurry of life at the Merc.
Also, while the book touts that it is a true story, it sometimes lacks the details obtained through proper research. Mezrich’s intentions seem to be focused more on producing a bestseller than really understanding and describing the inner workings of the Merc.
However, the fast pace explicitness of the story will keep readers hooked. If craving a book that is an easy to read page turner, Rigged will more than satisfy.
You can contact Campus Press Staff Writer Morgan Keys at firstname.lastname@example.org.