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ISBN:0471112151
Author: Leo Melamed
ISBN13: 978-0471112150
Title: Leo Melamed: Escape to the Futures
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ePUB size: 1659 kb
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Language: English
Category: Professionals and Academics
Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 2, 1996)
Pages: 488

Leo Melamed: Escape to the Futures by Leo Melamed



Leo Melamed, author of this book, is in that same league. He truly revolutionized futures trading in the United States, and in the world. This book tells ho. -Ambassador Clayton Yeutter Past President of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Former . Trade Representative. Escape to the Futures tells the remarkable story of a young boy's escape from the Nazis and the impact of his life on the financial markets of the world. It also serves as yet another poignant reminder of the immeasurable losses -in the arts, sciences, professions, and everyday life-humanity suffered because of the Holocaust. Benjamin Meed President American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.

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Acclaim for Leo Melamed Escape to the Futures "A well-written, fascinating memoir of a remarkable man of many parts, who arrived in the United States at age 9, fleeing the Holocaust. Almost single-handedly, he transformed a minor commodity exchange into the leading futures market in the world. His influence was and remains worldwide

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This is the memoir of Leo Melamed, who fled the Nazis in Lithuania on the Trans-Siberian Railway at the age of eight and rose to become one of the most powerful financial consultants in the United States. As a law student in 1953 he answered an ad for Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Beane thinking it was a law firm. Soon though, he became fascinated by commodities trading and by age 37 he was chairman of the Mercantile Exchange. Escape to the Futures goes a long way towards dispelling that stereotype, and therefore is a most overdue book. It is the memoirs of Leo Melamed, a former Chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (known in the commodities world as simply "the Merc") and one of the more important figures in the Chicago financial markets. As well as being better known than Ritchie, Melamed has more to say about his industry.

escape to the futures. Published 1996 by John Wiley & Sons in New York. Escape to the futures.

Leo Melamed (born March 20, 1932) is an American attorney, finance executive, and a pioneer of financial futures. He is the chairman emeritus of CME Group (formerly the Chicago Mercantile Exchange). Melamed was born Leibel Melamdovich to a Jewish family in Bialystok, Poland in 1932 to Isaac Melamdovich, a mathematics teacher. In 1939, at the outbreak of World War II, the family fled to Lithuania to avoid capture by the Nazis.

Leo Melamed is an American finance executive, attorney, writer and educator. He is best known as the Chairman Emeritus of the CME Group, an American financial market company. Melamed founded the futures commission merchants Dellsher Investment Company in 1965. As a chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, he created the International Monetary Market (IMM) - the first futures market for financial instruments and the launch of currency futures.

Acclaim for Leo Melamed Escape to the Futures

"A well-written, fascinating memoir of a remarkable man of manyparts, who arrived in the United States at age 9, fleeing theHolocaust. Almost single-handedly, he transformed a minor commodityexchange into the leading futures market in the world. Hisinfluence was and remains worldwide." —Milton Friedman SeniorResearch Fellow Hoover Institution, Stanford University

"There are only a few people who have revolutionized bigportions of the business world. Warren Buffett did it in investing,Bill Gates in software. Leo Melamed, author of this book, is inthat same league. He truly revolutionized futures trading in theUnited States, and in the world. This book tells how."—Ambassador Clayton Yeutter Past President of the ChicagoMercantile Exchange Former U.S. Trade Representative

"A grizzled old Merc trader once assured me that nobody everlost by being long on Leo. Why that's so, this endlesslyfascinating personal history makes clear. It shows how an immigrantboy, after surviving unimaginable horrors, drew on the 'elan,combativeness, and sophisticated conviction' learned from hisequally remarkable father to build the CME and to lay thefoundations of the modern, Chicago-based, financial servicesindustry." — Merton H. Miller 1990 Nobel Laureate EmeritusProfessor University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

"Leo tells it all. To say there would not have been a financialfutures industry without Leo is probably only a slightexaggeration!!!" — John Damgard President Futures IndustryAssociation

"Escape to the Futures tells the remarkable story of a youngboy's escape from the Nazis and the impact of his life on thefinancial markets of the world. It also serves as yet anotherpoignant reminder of the immeasurable losses —in the arts,sciences, professions, and everyday life—humanity sufferedbecause of the Holocaust." — Benjamin Meed President AmericanGathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors

He is one of the most powerful figures in the world offinance—a visionary who pioneered the modern futures industryand launched the International Monetary Market (IMM). Yet, LeoMelamed was not born to wealth and influence. His is anextraordinary rags-to-riches tale of intelligence, drive, savvy,timing, and the overpowering force of a uniquely charismaticpersonality. Now the inside story of the remarkable life and careerof Leo Melamed is revealed in this long-awaited autobiography.

A Holocaust survivor, Leo Melamed had barely begun the firstgrade in 1939 when he and his parents fled their native Poland onestep ahead of the oncoming Nazi juggernaut. Crossing Siberia enroute to a brief stay in Japan—just months before PearlHarbor—the family arrived in the United States to begin lifeanew. They settled in Chicago, where young Leo became a product ofthe inner city and embraced his new country and its culture.

Seeking part-time employment while attending law school, LeoMelamed answered a classified ad that would change his life. Hiredby what he presumed was a law firm named Merrill, Lynch, Pierce,Fenner & Bean, he found himself on the floor of the ChicagoMercantile Exchange.

"I was Alice stepping through the Looking Glass into a world ofnot just one Mad Hatter, but hundreds. The shouting among thetraders, the movement of their bodies and hands, captivated me likenothing before . . . there was a life force on that floor that wasmagical and exciting, and though I didn't understand what was goingon, I wanted to be a part of it."

Leo Melamed became much more than just a part of it. From modestbeginnings as a pork belly trader, he led the Chicago Merc for thenext quarter of a century, introducing finance to an industry thatwas the exclusive domain of agriculture. As his reputation as afinancial genius grew, so did the tales of his larger-than-lifepersonality. In Leo Melamed: Escape to the Futures, you'll meet theman behind the legend.

Written with the assistance of award-winning journalist BobTamarkin, this enthralling memoir deftly weaves intimate personaldetails with behind-the-scenes accounts of some of the mostmomentous financial events of our century—including Leo'srole as advisor to the White House after the Hillary Rodham Clintoncattle futures trading episode. You'll read fascinating accounts ofhis dealings with political powerhouses like Bob Dole, Tip O'Neill,Dan Rostenkowski, and others. Offering penetrating insights intothe workings of a multibillion dollar industry, this is a storythat has as much to say about human nature as it does about thenature of today's markets.

Hailed as both hero and tyrant, Leo Melamed is undeniably one ofthe most colorful and intriguing personalities of our time. Thisintimate, revealing personal account is not to be missed.

Reviews: 5
Macill
This is a great memoir of how Leo escaped the Nazis with his family as a small boy and became the gratest financial innovator of the 20th Century.
Nargas
Wonderful book by a wonderful man. The first several chapters, detailing his escape from the NAZIs, are especially riveting. For a preview of the story, here's an excellent podcast featuring an interview by Mr. Melamed:[...]
Kulwes
Engaging and fascinating. A real masterpiece.
Ishnsius
I almost never write a review on a book, and seldom regret purchasing one. This case is an exception...the success or failure of a major institution is almost never the result of one person. There is a lot of credit and blame to go around.
Viashal
Commodity Futures have been called "The Last Great Frontier of Capitalism". A characteristic of frontiers is that they produce interesting people. But while we know a good deal about the interesting people in other industries - Bill Gates in software, for example, or Peter Drucker in management consulting - until recently the public has heard little of the human side of the futures business.
A few years ago a remarkable book was published by the options trader Jack Ritchie called God in the Pits - Confessions of a Commodities Trader. The book had much to say about author's spiritual journey and little about the financial markets in Chicago, but he described his motivation for writing the book as follows: "...the common stereotype is that integrity and commodities trading go together like Al Capone and Mother Teresa. While they are seldom accurate, neither are common sterotypes completely erroneous".
Escape to the Futures goes a long way towards dispelling that stereotype, and therefore is a most overdue book. It is the memoirs of Leo Melamed, a former Chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (known in the commodities world as simply "the Merc") and one of the more important figures in the Chicago financial markets. As well as being better known than Ritchie, Melamed has more to say about his industry. One comes away from the book with an impression of the heroic qualities of the markets as well as an appreciation for the pioneering men who made this new frontier possible. The book's title refers to Melamed's origins. Like that other well known investment figure, George Soros, Melamed is of European Jewish extraction - he was born in Poland. His family managed to escape the Holocaust by fleeing, first to Lithuania, then, barely escaping the Nazi occupation of that country, emigrating to the United States via Japan (pre Pearl Harbour) after a long train ride across the Soviet Union. The twists and turns of this exciting story hints at the origins of Melamed's succ! ess. As Soros has said, describing his experience in the Budapest of 1944: "I learned the art of survival...that has had a certain relevance to my investment career"
Like many careers prior to the arrival of post-industrial society, Melamed's began by accident - he answered an advertisement for a "runner" for what he presumed was a law firm but was in fact a member firm of the Merc. He quickly fell in love with the market: " I was enthralled with the open outcry system of buying and selling contracts, with the speed at which things happened, with the colorful players in this arena of capitalistic hope and sweat." (p.88). This appreciation of what Keynes called the "animal spirits" of capitalism seems to be decidedly lacking these days. In the 1990s, if one want's to be a "player" in the financial markets, the correct route seems to be via a bachelor's degree in business followed by some high-priced graduate study, an MBA or something. Contrast this with the advice the young Jimmy Rogers got in the 1960s: "Go short some beans and you'll learn more in just one trade than you would in two years at `B-School.' "
Now, reading Escape to the Futures will not give you many trading "tips". Great traders are not going to give away their secrets like that. What it will give you an insight into is how an industry gets built. Melamend himself illustrates the phenomenal growth of the futures business in his preface to the book: "In 1971...14.6 million contracts traded on US futures exchanges. Twenty years later, in 1991, the total transactions of futures and options on US futures exchanges was 325 million contracts." How did it happen? Your average B-School guy would attribute the growth to the US dollar de-valuations of 1971 and 1973, to the commodity price booms of the 1970s, and the financial de-regulations of the 1980s. What he is missing is the role played by men like Melamed who had a vision about what they wanted to achieve with thei! r organisations. Reading his book one is struck by how his working days were more those of a politician rather than a trader.
But I use the word politician to mean "statesman", or "leader". One characteristic of such men is vision. Look, for example, at the Merc's International Monetary Market, the futures market for currencies: "Of one thing I was certain by the mid-1970s: agriculture was never going to be the future. But finance was. If the Chicago Mercentile Exchange had any future, it was on the back of the International Monetary Market. But that was something I couldn't prove in 1975 because the currencies and financial futures still had a long way to go. One had to believe" (p. 242).
One of the downsides of financial statesmanship is that you don't get to concentrate as much on making money yourself. For instance, Melamed would show delegations of visitors to the Merc how a trade was executed, but the trade lose money! It is no surprise to learn, at the end of the book, that Melamed is now concentrating more of his efforts these days on building up his own firm, Sakura Dellsher.
In Melamed we get a picture of a man who allied vision with an ability to persuade people of the virtue of his ideas, who knew how to cultivate relationships with people, and who knew how to effectively use his time and resources to achieve his organisation's goals. I commend this book to everyone interested in capitalism as people and not as abstract concepts as taught in the textbooks. Like another great book written by a trader but not about trading - Bernard Baruch's My Own Story - you will get an idea of how one man made things happen..