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The World for Sale: Money, Power and the Traders Who Barter the Earth’s Resources Paperback – 25 February 2021

4.7 out of 5 stars 370 ratings

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Product description


This jaw-dropping study shows how much money and global influence is concentrated in the hands of a tiny group . . . A remarkable book . . . As the authors roam from oilfield to wheatfield, they reveal information so staggering you almost gasp . . . The colour is fantastic . . . Tracking down some of the biggest names in the business to their German castles and stud farms and persuading them to talk is a rare scoop. ― Sunday Times

A fascinating and revealing story . . . There are tales in the book of breathtaking trades, such as shipments of rebel oil from war-torn Libya or deals bartered amid the brutal "aluminium wars" in the Russia of the 1990s . . . A gripping book. ― Economist

Javier Blas and Jack Farchy
probe the hard-knuckle and secretive world of commodity trading. -- What to Read in 2021 ― Financial Times

A globe-spanning corporate thriller,
full of intrigue and double dealing . . . Changes how we see the world, often in horrifying ways . . . The book weaves together years of reporting experience in the field with access to many of the key figures in an industry dominated by huge characters . . . New insights and reporting mean that even seasoned observers will be amazed. -- James Ball ― Spectator

Anecdotally rich . . . A
highly readable study in world economics and a valuable primer for would-be oil barons. ― Kirkus

Blas and Farchy compellingly lay out how a handful of secretive traders have had a hand in directing not only the world's commodities, but also its politics and history.
The World for Sale draws back the covers on a sector where civil wars, dubious regimes and the collapse of states have often been just another business opportunity - and what that has meant for the rest of us. Intriguing and, at times, alarming. -- Helen Thomas, Business Editor, BBC Newsnight

colorful and alarming exposé of the shadowy world of global commodity trading . . . Hair-raising anecdotes . . . An engrossing look at an obscure yet consequential corner of the financial world. ― Publishers Weekly

A virtuoso depiction of the globe's top oil, food and metals traders . . . Javier Blas and Jack Farchy should be awaiting the call from Hollywood.
The World for Sale contains at least half a dozen narrative threads that would form the basis of a good thriller. But the authors' main achievement is to subject the biggest commodity players, and their impact on the real world, to proper critical scrutiny . . . The depth of the reporting by the Bloomberg journalists, who previously worked for the Financial Times, is impressive . . . Fascinating. ― Reuters

Some of the stories beggar belief . . .
A fascinating story, it's just incredible some of the routes that the money takes. -- Lawrence Pollard ― BBC Newsday

Could there be a better moment for Javier Blas and Jack Farchy's rollicking new account of those markets' recent history to land on investors' desks? . . .
A rich archive of ripping yarns . . . . . . The high level narrative is gripping enough. But it is the details of what these freewheeling companies actually got up to that give the book a thriller-like quality . . . Educational and entertaining. ― Financial Times

If you have the slightest interest in how the modern world was made, by whom, at what price, and at what profit, this is the book for you . . . Superbly researched and tidily written . . . A clean, compelling chronicle of the central role that commodity traders have played in the global economy from the end of World War II to the present. What they found isn't pretty - but it's plenty illuminating. ― Foreign Policy

Some of the stories could be straight out of John Le Carré. The difference is they're true . . . A fascinating tale . . . A great read about very important topics. It's well worth your time. -- Andrew Neil ― Spectator TV

A fantastic book about the world of commodity trading. -- Stephanie Flanders ― Bloomberg Stephanomics

fascinating, sometimes hair-raising new book . . . A book which on the one hand tells us some really important things about the nature of money, power and the nature of the modern economy, but on the other is just full of some of the most fascinating stories. -- Matthew Taylor ― RSA Bridges to the Future

The captivating stories of the powerful commodity traders and mystery actors of markets and geopolitics

-- Roula Khalaf, FT Editor-in-Chief - Summer Books 2021 ― Financial Times

The blistering tale of a clutch of hard-charging international commodity trading houses such as Cargill and Glencore. The authors, both former
FT journalists, trace how they harnessed the commodity boom and the setbacks they now face as climate change casts a shadow over their business model. -- Andrew Hill, FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award Longlist ― Financial Times

A very impressive profile of an industry that has long preferred to avoid the spotlight . . . The authors deftly weave stories of the individual traders and their trades with an account of the major shifts in the global economy of the past 70 years . . .
Extensively researched and well written throughout . . . I would not hesitate to recommend this book. -- International Affairs

About the Author

Javier Blas and Jack Farchy are two of the world's best-known journalists covering energy, commodities and trading houses. They both work for Bloomberg News, where Blas is chief energy correspondent and Farchy is a senior reporter covering natural resources. Previously, they covered commodities for the Financial Times.

Blas and Farchy have interviewed most of the key figures in the commodity trading industry - in some cases, the first time the traders had ever spoken publicly. They've published the financial accounts of many of these secretive companies for the first time. And they've reported on oil, food and war from countries as diverse as Kazakhstan, Ivory Coast, and Libya.

The pair frequently appear on TV and radio as experts on commodities. Blas has been interviewed on BBC News, CNN and Al Jazeera, and Farchy regularly appears on BBC Radio 4
Today. The World for Sale is their first book.

Product details

  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 416 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1847942660
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1847942661
  • Customer reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 370 ratings

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
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Top reviews from Singapore

Reviewed in Singapore on 11 January 2022
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, shines a light on the world of commodities
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 March 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars Global Arbitrage & Corruption
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 4 May 2021
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Mr Phil
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly recommended read!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 March 2021
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7 people found this helpful
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M. Gould
3.0 out of 5 stars Duplication in the Commodity Market
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 March 2021
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Gethin Darklord
5.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative History of Commodity Production
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 March 2022
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3 people found this helpful
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