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Download The Asylum: The Renegades Who Hijacked the World’s Oil Market Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Asylum: The Renegades Who Hijacked the World’s Oil Market, by Leah McGrath Goodman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (51 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Leah McGrath Goodman Narrator: Robert Fas Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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They were a band of outsiders unable to get jobs with New York’s gilded financial establishment. They would go on to corner the world’s multitrillion-dollar oil market, reaping unimaginable riches while bringing the economy to its knees.

Meet the self-anointed kings of the New York Mercantile Exchange. In some ways, they are everything you would expect them to be: a secretive, members-only club of men and women who live lavish lifestyles; cavort with politicians, strippers, and celebrities; and blissfully jacked up oil prices to nearly $150 a barrel while profiting off the misery of the working class. In other ways, they are nothing you can imagine: many come from working-class families themselves. The progeny of Jewish, Irish, and Italian immigrants who escaped war-torn Europe, they take pride in flagrantly spurning Wall Street.

Under the thumb of an all-powerful international oil cartel, the energy market had long eluded the grasp of America’s hungry capitalists. Neither the oil royalty of Houston nor the titans of Wall Street had ever succeeded in fully wresting away control. But facing extinction, the rough-and-tumble traders of Nymex—led by the reluctant son of a produce merchant—went after this Goliath and won, creating the world’s first free oil market and minting billions in the process. Their stunning journey from poverty to prosperity belies the brutal and violent history that is their legacy.

For the first time, The Asylum unmasks the oil market’s self-described “inmates” in all their unscripted and dysfunctional glory: the happily married father from Long Island whose lust for money and power was exceeded only by his taste for cruel pranks; the Italian kung fu–fighting gasoline trader whose ferocity in the trading pits earned him countless millions; the cheerful Nazi hunter who traded quietly by day; and the Irish-born femme fatale who outsmarted all but one of the exchange’s chairmen—the Hungarian ÉmigrÉ who, try as he might, could do nothing to rein in the oil market’s unruly inhabitants.

From the treacherous boardroom schemes to the hookers and blow of the trading pits; from the repeat terrorist attacks and FBI stings to the grand alliances and outrageous fortunes that brought the global economy to the brink, The Asylum ventures deep into the belly of the beast, revealing how raw ambition and the endless quest for wealth can change the very nature of both man and market.

Showcasing seven years of research and hundreds of hours of interviews, Leah McGrath Goodman reveals what really happened behind the scenes as oil prices topped out and what choice the traders ultimately made when forced to choose between their longtime brotherhood and their precious oil monopoly.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A riveting tale of greed gone mad. Goodman nails the culture…A great ride for market fans.”


  • “A seriously informative and amusing look into the oil trading pits.”

    Huffington Post

  • “Finance journalist Goodman traces Nymex’s transformation into a colossus with a stranglehold on the sale of the world’s energy. Goodman explores the lurid culture of Nymex traders, scruffy hustlers who shriek, swear, and bring guns, drugs, and hookers right into the trading pit…One of the year’s most colorful business histories.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “In the complex world of the energy markets where pit trading is a blue-collar profession, Goodman captures the grit and spirit of the floor and the personalities in the board room…Her depiction of the players and the place to ring true.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Johnbh46 | 8/8/2013

    " Outstanding analysis on the background and evolution of the Oil futures market. This should required reading for everyone interested in the cause and effect regarding oil prices and the world market "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Tracy | 8/3/2013

    " This was recommended to me as a sort of companion book to the Enron story "The Smartest Guys in the Room" but it wasn't as well-written and I gave up. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Damiano Crognali | 7/16/2013

    " Commento per gli italiani: un attesissimo libro negli Stati Uniti, una interessante storia da leggere, per chi ama leggere in inglese "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Samantha Hartke | 7/5/2012

    " A must-read for anyone either in or on the sidelines of the energy industry. If there was any last remnants of belief that fundamentals rule the energy markets, this portrait of the NYMEX pits and how screen trading as completely overcome the industry, will bury that belief firmly six feet under. "

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About the Author
Author Leah McGrath Goodman

Leah McGrath Goodman is an award-winning journalist who has written for Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, the Financial Times, and the Guardian in New York and London. She currently resides in Boulder, where she is a Ted Scripps fellow at the University of Colorado.