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The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich
The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich
by Daniel Ammann
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and topical, 9 Nov 2012
Having worked as a commodities reporter in the pit of the London Metals Exchange for the past couple of years, the name "Glencore" and all the connotations associated with it became ubiquitous in my day to day life.

Then, in 2010, Glencore became the second biggest IPO of all time. I knew people who worked there who became fantastically rich. And I don't typically like boring biographies but when I read the book about the guy who founded it (Marc Rich), I found it absolutely fascinating. Unputdownable. It was an extremely well-written, well-researched account of one man's extraordinary life, and it stings of what's wrong with Western bureaucracy, particularly within the United States.

Although Ammann never answers the very deep, probing question, "Who is Marc Rich?" We nevertheless get a very good idea of the image this man wanted to portray to the rest of the world. But even if we are always scratching the glossy surface of a fugitive billionaire, this crafted persona is still absolutely thrilling and exotic in every way.

Ammann's book is also a tiny tribute to Switzerland and its resourceful and practical people. The Swiss protected Marc Rich from prosecution from the FBI at a time when many other countries wanted to see him become toast. As an American newly moved to Switzerland and working for a commodity hedge fund, I can not only identify with the challenges within his industry, but also with the cultural issues he encountered with leaving the US (Not the police chase, of course:) ... but the issues are divisive enough that one can feel the urge to relinquish citizenship just like he did.

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