Friday, December 17, 2010 Asks the Hard-Hitting Questions!

My friend and fellow author Claire Zulkey was spreading her awesomeness via waaaayyyy before the rest of us even knew what blogs were. I never cease to be amazed at her writing career -- or her interviewing skills. Check out all of the impressive authors/comedians/famous people she's talked to! And now little ol' me has joined her list of interviewees. Unless I grow a beard or somehow snag a spot as an extra in The Hangover 2, I don't think there will ever be anything else Zach Galifianakis and I have in common.

So if you've ever wondered how I went about writing Zero-Sum Game, or if I have any regrets, or what I might write about next, then stop what you're doing and read this interview!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reuters' Felix Salmon Determines That "$190,000/Year is Rich" from Reading Zero-Sum Game

Reuters' financial blogger extraordinaire, Felix Salmon, was inspired to write a very clever article after reading Chapter Two of Zero-Sum Game.

See if you agree: $190,000 a Year is Rich.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wouldn't a Personalized, Autographed Copy of Zero-Sum Game Make a Great Gift?

Don't know what to get that reader/business person/trader/investor/finance-type on your holiday shopping list? How about a personalized and/or autographed copy of Zero-Sum Game?

While I don't have the logistical set-up to mail out actual books, I DO have the ability to write notes on lovely (as well as high quality, acid-free, self-adhesive) bookplates and mail them to you free of charge. I've chosen a very simple design and currently have a supply of bookplates that will look something like the picture in this post when attached.

If you'd like one for your own personal copy of Zero-Sum Game and/or a gift you've bought for someone else, here's what you need to do:

1) Email me at Erika AT ZeroSumGameBook DOT com (if you're wondering why I just don't link to that email address and am writing it out like I did, it's to avoid spambots that troll blogs for email addresses). I can ONLY accept these requests through email in order to keep track of everything, please do not leave me a request through Facebook, Twitter or Blog Comment. I will respond to all requests by email just so you know your message was received.

2) Put "Bookplate" in the subject line

3) Include the following information in the body of the email:
  1. Who I should make the note out to, or whether you would like it left unpersonalized. If you have multiple people you'd like me to make a bookplate out to, that's fine, just please make it clear in your email message.
  2. Whether there's anything specific you'd like me to say in the note (if not, I have a few different lines I usually use). On this front, if you are someone who's followed my LOST blog and want me to include a little shout-out to the show, please let me know that as well. Finally, please remember that I have very limited space so I need to keep the notes short.
  3. The address to which I should mail the bookplate. At this point, mailing to the US and Canada is no problem, but because of the additional postage expense, I will only mail to the UK (and other countries where Zero-Sum Game is sold) if I'm provided with proof of purchase of the book.
I'll keep this offer open after the holidays as well, as I know lots of gift cards change hands this time of year and there might be book-shopping plans in the new year for many people.

And a big "thank you" to Bookplate Ink for their wonderful product!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dow Jones Article on Zero-Sum Game Republished on

Last month I pasted in the content of an article Dow Jones Newswires published about Zero-Sum Game because the piece was behind their username/password firewall.

Today that same article was reprinted on the Wall Street Journal's web site here. So I can officially say the book's been covered by the Wall Street Journal now, right? RIGHT?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"The Best Merger Book of the Year"

I was very excited to see a glowing review of Zero-Sum Game from world-renowned M&A consulting firm PRITCHETT on their merger management blog. You can read their post here.

Those of you who have read the book know that the company's founder, Price, has a quick cameo in Chapter Five!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dow Jones Covers "Zero-Sum Game"

12/2/10 UPDATE: The article was reprinted today on the Wall Street Journal's web site, here.


I love this article about Zero-Sum Game and the various reactions to it, but alas, it can only be accessed with a username/password for Dow Jones Newswires, so I've included it in its entirety below.


04 Nov 2010 11:41 EDT
DJ DERIVATIVES DIARY: Revisiting Exchange Deal That Remade Chicago

By Jacob Bunge


CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--The Bernard Dan who led the Chicago Board Of Trade from 2002 until 2007 is famed as an extraordinarily hard worker largely responsible for revitalizing the oldest exchange in the city that launched futures trading, and prided himself on being first to work in the morning. Not a terribly sentimental type, perhaps.

But after reading a newly released insider account of the CBOT's final year -- in which the exchange was wooed, fought for and ultimately bought for $11.3 billion by its crosstown rival, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange -- Dan is wistful.

"My time running the CBOT was probably the best professional experience I ever had," said Dan, who departed after the July 2007 formation of CME Group Inc. (CME) and a year later signed on for an 17-month hitch turning around the broker MF Global Holdings (MF).

"Reading the book, I realized how fortunate I was to have that role," he said in an interview.

The book is "Zero-Sum Game," a deal story in the spirit of Bryan Burrough and John Helyar's "Barbarians At the Gate," penned by Erika S. Olson, who landed a managing director job at the CBOT just five weeks before the late-2006 merger approach from CME that would redraw the map of U.S. derivatives trading. And put a lot of nice yachts in Lake Michigan.

Before inking the deal giving the combined entity jurisdiction over some 85% of domestic futures markets, Olson recounts how the exchanges were blindsided by a surprise bid from upstart IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE), jousted with surly members seeking a better deal and ultimately sweetened the offer to appease a key Australian shareholder and boating enthusiast--who nearly scuttled the transaction at the 11th hour.

"I knew this was bound to be a crazy story because it was these century-old rivals trying to merge, and then ICE came in and there were all these twists and turns," said Olson in an interview.

The book arrives four years after CME made its initial approach to CBOT, and just in time for the futures industry's annual Chicago meeting, known as "Expo."

Olson said she planned to attend, despite some misgivings. "I don't want to get strangled," she said.

CME Chief Executive Officer Craig Donohue, a key player in "Zero-Sum Game," hasn't read the book. He said he is still working his way through "Too Big To Fail" by Andrew Ross Sorkin. Other members of CME's senior management also professed not to have seen it, though a copy with highlighted passages was reportedly spotted in circulation at CME's Wacker Drive headquarters.

For Jeff Sprecher, the CEO of IntercontinentalExchange and erstwhile CBOT suitor, "Zero-Sum Game" reopened some old wounds. At the end of the book, Sprecher reiterates his view that ICE's bid represented a better offer for CBOT shareholders and would have made the U.S. futures business more competitive.

"Inside the Board of Trade, it seemed like they never really took our bid seriously," Sprecher said in an interview. Though Olson noted the more dramatic moments around ICE's involvement -- like announcing its bid by way of documents slipped under the hotel doors of sleeping attendees at a March 2007 Futures Industry Association gathering -- Sprecher said ICE at the time could have warranted its own book.

"Our company was operating at its finest," he said, with the CBOT bid following a series of successful acquisitions that expanded ICE's market portfolio.

Dan, who left MF Global in March and is now mulling his next move, said reading the book was a "walk down memory lane." Next year will see him return to financial services -- in what capacity, he isn't yet saying--but "Zero-Sum Game" sharpened his desire.

"It made me think of all those people and the success that the Board of Trade experienced in the seven years I was there," Dan said. "It was rewarding for me to read it."

-By Jacob Bunge, Dow Jones Newswires

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Recap of the University of Chicago Finance Roundtable Event

On November 11 I had the great honor of being the featured speaker at a University of Chicago Booth School of Business Finance Roundtable event. Our room in the Gleacher Center was at capacity -- despite the fact that it was the Veteran's Day holiday -- so I took that as a sign that Chicagoans were curious to know more about their city's futures exchanges and the executives in power.

I spoke for an hour about the history of the exchanges, the over-the-counter derivatives market, the 2007 bidding war for CBOT, and the Dodd-Frank legislation that will soon overhaul the derivatives industry. Then I was thrilled to have Bernie Dan, former CEO of the Chicago Board of Trade, join me for the Q & A session. The last time I'd seen Bernie was in July 2007 -- I conducted all of my interviews with him for the book over the phone -- so it was wonderful to be reunited.

I will be giving similar presentations at other schools and to various business clubs throughout the coming months. If you're a member of an organization that might want to hold an event like this, leave a comment with your contact information (I won't publish it) or message me @ZSGame on Twitter and I'll be in touch!

In the meantime, here are a few pictures of myself and Bernie Dan at the University of Chicago Booth Finance Roundtable:

- Erika

Monday, November 1, 2010

Official Publication Day is Here! And so is the Full-Length Trailer Video...

Today -- November 1, 2010 -- is the official publication date for Zero-Sum Game.

We finished the full-length trailer just in the nick of time!

Check it out below... or if you would like to watch a bigger, high-quality version, you can do so here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Exclusive Author Q&A Now Live on

A Q&A with Zero-Sum Game author Erika S. Olson was posted today on the book's page -- it covers the exact moment Erika knew she wanted to write the book, as well as why anyone would want to get the inside scoop on CME Group and ICE, and more. Check it out here (scroll down a bit), and stay tuned for Zero-Sum Game's full-length trailer video, information on media appearances, and details for an upcoming Chicago event.

The official publication date is Monday, November 1... but the book is already in stores and available online. (This isn't Harry Potter or Twilight, folks. Bookstores don't "hold" many nonfiction books after they receive them -- they just stock 'em on the shelves once they arrive. That means no costume parties in bookstores at midnight Sunday night -- sorry! You're still welcome to dress up like your favorite character and send in a picture, though.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In Stock Online... and In Some Bookstores Already

I was very surprised to receive this picture from my brother in Washington DC. Looks like Zero-Sum Game has found a cozy home in Barnes & Noble, amid excellent company. (It's in the center on the lower shelf.)

Books were sent out from Wiley's warehouse last Monday, and many of the online sites currently have the book in stock.



(there's more, but I'll spare you a ton of links)

I'm assuming the balance of bookstores in the US and Canada will all have it in stock soon, too.

We shot the full-length trailer for the book this past weekend and will be editing it this week, so stay tuned for that!

- Erika

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Teaser Trailer for Zero-Sum Game is Here

Make sure your volume is up!

(If you'd like to watch a larger, high-quality version of this teaser, you can do so here.)

Stay tuned for the full-length trailer...

Stay Up to Date with Zero-Sum Game News

Zero-Sum Game will be in bookstores in the United States and Canada on November 1!

In the meantime, you can visit and "Like" Zero-Sum Game on Facebook


follow Zero-Sum Game on Twitter: @ZSGame.

Pre-order the book on:

Amazon (Amazon has the most up-to-date information about the book, including descriptions, jacket quotes, etc.)

Amazon Canada



Barnes and Noble