Cornerstone signs book on the hidden world of commodity trading

Rights - NonFiction Wednesday, 20 March 2019

The World for Sale by Bloomberg reporters compared to 'The Big Short and Barbarians at the Gate as an essential account of the inner workings of modern capitalism'


Rowan Borchers, editor at Random House Business Books, bought UK and Commonwealth rights at auction from James Pullen at the Wylie Agency. The World for Sale by Javier Blas and Jack Farchy (pictured) will be published by Random House Business Books in hardback, trade paperback and ebook in 2020.

According to the acquisition statement: 'Every year commodity traders move $10 trillion worth of raw materials across the world, doing business in countries where others would never dare set foot. Theirs is the industry that financed rebel forces in Libya’s civil war; helped Saddam Hussein sell his oil; swapped sugar for oil with Cuba’s Fidel Castro; and sold US wheat to the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. They are, in the words of Bloomberg’s Javier Blas and Jack Farchy, "the last swashbucklers of global capitalism."

'Now, a new book from Blas and Farchy promises to tell the full, inside story of how commodity trading operates in the twenty-first century. In The World for Sale, the pair will draw on an extraordinary network of contacts to reveal precisely how traders make a living.

'They will travel the globe – from the battlefields of Libya, to the cobalt mines of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the corn fields of the American Midwest – to uncover the economic impact of commodity trading. And they will profile the billionaire businesspeople responsible for striking some of the biggest commodity deals of the last fifty years.

'The result will be a gripping tour through one of the most secretive and under-scrutinised sectors of the global economy.'

Blas and Farchy said: "They may be largely unknown to the general public, but the commodity traders have been behind-the-scenes powerbrokers in some of the most important political events of the last fifty years. We believe their ascent to the pinnacle of global finance is a fascinating and important story."

Borchers said: "From the first page of Jack and Javier’s proposal, I was gripped by their depiction of this hidden world of adventurous traders and intrepid deals. The World for Sale looks set to hold its own alongside the likes of The Big Short and Barbarians at the Gate as an essential account of the inner workings of modern capitalism."

The authors both work for Bloomberg News, where Blas is chief energy correspondent and Farchy is a senior reporter covering natural resources. Between them, they have travelled to nearly 100 countries, reporting on oil, food and war from countries as diverse as Kazakhstan, Ivory Coast, and Libya. Farchy was previously a Financial Times correspondent in Moscow for three years and reported from across the former Soviet Union, while Blas was the Financial Times’s Africa editor and commodities editor.

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