Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Cari Lynn  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Children; Children;

Born: in

-- Website --
-- Cari Lynn on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Lynn is a Chicago native.

Biographical and Professional Information

A Chicagoan-area native, Cari Lynn spent two years undercover on the trading floors of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to write the narrative nonfiction, ''Leg the Spread'', focusing on the handful of women traders who braved the vicious, high-stakes trading pits. In ''The Whistleblower'', Lynn wrote the story of police officer and UN peacekeeper Kathryn Bolkovac, who blew the whistle on a sex trafficking scandal (Bolkovac was recently honored in Chicago with the Rising Voice of Woman Award). Lynn's first novel (historical fiction) will be out February 25th from Penguin/Plume, entitled ''Madam: A Novel of New Orleans''. Lynn holds a Master's in Writing from The Johns Hopkins University and has taught at Loyola and Columbia College.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Leg the Spread: A Woman's Adventures Inside the Trillion-Dollar Boys' Club of Commodities Trading
ISBN: 0767908562

Broadway. 2005

In the Futures market, it’s all about minimizing risk and maximizing your wallet. Buying something gives you one leg—selling something gives you another—and if you’ve got two legs to stand on, that’s your spread. Anyone can make money by legging the spread, but if you’re a woman, you need something else: the presence, savvy, and stomach to run with the bulls and make your way in this ultimate boys club.

Welcome to the jungle.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (known in the financial world as “the Merc”) is the busiest Futures exchange in the world: a hair-raising, high-pressure den of iniquity with enough yelling, bullying, and mayhem to rattle even the toughest of hardball commodities traders. And if you’re a woman, the Merc can be the seventh circle of hell, given the sexual harassment, verbal vulgarity, and blatant condescension that comes with the turf. But that fact hasn’t stopped a handful of talented and determined women from crashing the frat party of the Merc and making millions while they’re at it.
When Cari Lynn first ventured onto the floor of the Merc in early 2000, she did so because she, like so many others, was riveted by the amount of money that could be made through trading with seemingly little effort. But she quickly discovered that only a handful of females have ever made it into the trading pits—a testosterone-saturated world where the men are often monsters and there’s no room for boys, let alone women. Leg the Spread is the highly entertaining account of Lynn’s years as a clerk at the Merc, a job that taught her not only the cutthroat rules of engagement, but just how far both men and women will go when they stand to win or lose everything in the blink of an eye.
From learning the fast-moving art of “arb”—the hand signals used to generate trades—to learning to shout over the roar of the pits, Leg the Spread follows Lynn as she discovers the rush of high-stakes moneymaking, and herself. Along the way, she shares the stories of the Merc’s women traders, a motley crew of personalities who show her how to play the game. From Natalie, who bares her midriff and records her trades with a pink pom-pom pen, but is known to throw a punch to stand her ground, to Bev, who hustles billions of dollars in contracts every day and whose sway over the market is so great that major players like Goldman Sachs refuse to trade if she’s not in the pit, Lynn provides a riveting portrait of what it takes to prove your moxie daily in the midst of this ultimate men’s club.
Packed with jaw-dropping stories of bad behavior, good instincts, breathtaking greed, and heroic courage, Leg the Spread is an uproarious, adrenaline-fueled memoir that offers a completely new take on women and Wall Street—and an unprecedented entrée into one of the last true financial playgrounds.

The Whistleblower: Sex Trafficking, Military Contractors, and One Woman's Fight for Justice
ISBN: 0230108024

St. Martin's Press. 2011

When Nebraska police officer and divorced mother of three Kathryn Bolkovac saw a recruiting announcement for private military contractor DynCorp International, she applied and was hired. Good money, world travel, and the chance to help rebuild a war-torn country sounded like the perfect job. Bolkovac was shipped out to Bosnia, where DynCorp had been contracted to support the UN peacekeeping mission. She was assigned as a human rights investigator, heading the gender affairs unit. The lack of proper training provided sounded the first alarm bell, but once she arrived in Sarajevo, she found out that things were a lot worse. At great risk to her personal safety, she began to unravel the ugly truth about officers involved in human trafficking and forced prostitution and their connections to private mercenary contractors, the UN, and the U.S. State Department. After bringing this evidence to light, Bolkovac was demoted, felt threatened with bodily harm, was fired, and ultimately forced to flee the country under cover of darkness―bringing the incriminating documents with her. Thanks to the evidence she collected, she won a lawsuit against DynCorp, finally exposing them for what they had done. This is her story and the story of the women she helped achieve justice for.

Madam: A Novel of New Orleans
ISBN: 0142180629

Plume. 2014

When vice had a legal home and jazz was being born—the captivating story of an infamous true-life madam

New Orleans, 1900. Mary Deubler makes a meager living as an “alley whore.” That all changes when bible-thumping Alderman Sidney Story forces the creation of a red-light district that’s mockingly dubbed “Storyville.” Mary believes there’s no place for a lowly girl like her in the high-class bordellos of Storyville’s Basin Street, where Champagne flows and beautiful girls turn tricks in luxurious bedrooms. But with gumption, twists of fate, even a touch of Voodoo, Mary rises above her hopeless lot to become the notorious Madame Josie Arlington.

Filled with fascinating historical details and cameos by Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and E. J. Bellocq, Madam is a fantastic romp through The Big Easy and the irresistible story of a woman who rose to power long before the era of equal rights.



Speaking Engagements

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