Brooklyn-born David Russo is struggling to find a job in the post 9/11 market, even with his ivy-league degree, but a chance meeting with his role model lands him a promising job at the NYMEX located in lower Manhattan. The Harvard credentials he struggled for don't make him any friends on the exchange floor. These traders are self-made men, often with little formal education, who run on testosterone, instinct and arcane analyses making their money trading oil in international markets. In this casino billions change hands every week, brawls are part of life on the trading floor and blue collar workers turned traders become millionaires in an instant. Over time Russo makes his place at the exchange and his career gets a foothold.
In time he meets Khaled of Dubai. Khaled comes from a family of wealth, steeped in the culture of the bedouin and tutored not only in Geneva and Cambridge but also under the guardianship of the family elders.
Khaled proposes an audacious partnership promising to back it up with money, but Russo remains skeptical. Russo sees Khaled as someone with money who jumps from idea to idea without the drive to see any one plan through. Russo's view of Khaled as an Arab is illustrated to reflect the typical American view of the Middle East. To convince Russo, Khaled shows him the real Dubai and explains his ambitions and plans for the city-state. Also money.
Russo's career picks up as he begins to implement Khaled's idea to establish an oil exchange in Dubai, and indirectly make the Middle East more capitalist and therefore more welcoming to big business. On the ground in the Middle East he meets hard-line clerics and negotiates with morally flexible religious brokers to find common ground between two naturally opposing cultures, takes on an Italian millionaire, dodges communists and handles his fiery Italian mother and Latina girlfriend.
Rigged is about the establishment of the Dubai Mercantile Exchange, which would become the first oil market in the Middle East - a late development for a place from where most of the oil in the world comes. The book is entertaining to read at the beginning of your career. It has an ambitious entrepreneural idea backed up by sovereign wealth, an unlikely partnership, driven young people, an adventure that traverses the glamorous locations in Asia and Europe. You can visualise the book like Tintin's adventures, but expect simplified world views and untangled narratives. There are no lesser evils to choose from and heroes and villains are clearly demarcated.
Business / adventure.
West meets east.