This was a good explanation of the financial crisis in Europe, Greece and Iceland, with some insight into how it relates to the U.S. economy. It is a typical Michael Lewis book; fairly informal and occasionally crass, which is both appropriate and entertaining. Each chapter covers a different country's financial problems, with a vein of cultural commentary running throughout.
Michael Lewis weaves a tail of over the top greed; incessant corruption and clueless bewilderment that will make you laugh – the master of witty and funny. This book is written from “my” point of view, the way a regular person would see the crisis assuming that regular person was both brilliant and gutsy. He talks to dozens of people, both winners and losers and lets you see into their world. It is somewhat like looking into an exotic fish tank. Incredibly entertaining. I have avoided almost anything to do with the global meltdown. Rehashing a painful experience seemed like a form of masochism. But I decided to take a chance after listening to Lewis on Jon Stewart. It was a great decision.
The story takes you from country to country, starting with Iceland and ending in the United States. It offers insight that I would have never considered. In each case Lewis lets you see how the country reacted, how they dealt with the situation. Most important, it lets you see that each country dealt with the crisis in a different way.
Do not worry about political commentary or think this book is a social statement. It is not. The stories speak for themselves and the outcomes are self-evident. Lewis delivers entertainment on a topic that has only brought the world misery. You won’t be disappointed.
LIke Malcolm Gladwell, this book seemed like a bunch of magazine articles put together. Interesting topics for sure, but much less of a book that it could have been.
If you ever wondered how the financial crisis could happen, this book will show how it's a story of regular people. Perfect length and I enjoyed every second.
Michael Lewis describes the financial crisis in different countries. The book is full of interesting anecdotes and highly entertaining. His main thesis is that you can see a people’s character when they are in a dark room full of money. This line is too simplistic. The author does not know well the culture of most of the countries he visited or speaks their language, and much of the description is thus superficial. I say this as a German who lived 1/3 of his life in the USA. For example, the better performance of Germany in the current crisis is not so much caused by the alleged ‘anal fixation or holocaust-guilt ‘of the German people, but by a political system that is less dependent on campaign donations from banks and can therefore control the financial sector a little bit better than the US or Greece.
This book is done with humor and sarcasm to produce an understandable outline of the current problems faced in the global financial crisis. Lewis breaks down the issues of Iceland, Ireland and Germany...tracking back to the inevitable start of this mess - WE THE PEOPLE OF THE US. This is a mirror that is unpleasant to gaze in, but the presentation will leave you laughing as you shake your head at what all this may mean for our future.
Tiggi Lit Lee
A chatty, witty, detailed, person-centered take on how various countries or states fell victim to their "personal" weaknesses and set "themselves" up for financial failure. More of a personal opinion than a factual report, but it does make sense.
WAY TOO SHORT!!!!!
Should have been twice as long. Just when I had collected a lot of ideas and was starting to THINK about them, the book up and ended!!!! I did not like that at all. This demeaned the content. Caused me to reclassify the book as a sitcom or a reality show. I HAD thought I was listening to an entertaining documentary up to that point. Oh well, I guess that's Michael Lewis's product. Really had expected more.
Excellent narration though!
I wish Audible would provide a better product. I continually have to go back and try to find my place to listen. Audible apparently disables the ability to burn a book to even one disk so I can listen to it. The iPod just doesn't do well on audiobooks (probably unless you buy them from Apple). It is impossible to get a book burned to CD so I can listen to it and it never plays right on the iPod.
Overall worth the listen. I found myself wishing for more background/followup at times, but entertaining (and will also make you angry at the events and how they happened).