The unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Boomerang: The Meltdown Tour, Michael Lewis' brilliant tragi-comic romp across post-crash Europe. Read by the actor Dylan Baker.
Having made the U.S. financial crisis comprehensible for us all in The Big Short, Michael Lewis realised that he hadn't begun to get grips with the full story. How exactly had it come to hit the rest of the world in the face too? Just how broke are we really? Boomerang is a tragi-comic romp across Europe, in which Lewis gives full vent to his storytelling genius. The cheap credit that rolled across the planet between 2002 and 2008 was more than a simple financial phenomenon: it was temptation, offering entire societies the chance to reveal aspects of their characters they could not normally afford to indulge.
Icelanders wanted to stop fishing and become investment bankers. The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a piñata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack. The Irish wanted to stop being Irish. The Germans wanted to be even more German. Michael Lewis's investigation of bubbles across Europe is brilliantly, sadly hilarious. He also turns a merciless eye on America: on California, the epicentre of world consumption, where we see that a final reckoning awaits the most avaricious of nations too. This is the ultimate book of our times. It's time to brace ourselves for impact. And, with Michael Lewis, to laugh out loud while we're doing it.
©2011 Michael Lewis (P)2011 Penguin Books Limited
"Fascinating... the book could not be more timely...a sharp-edged narrative that leaves readers with a visceral understanding of the fiscal recklessness that lies behind today's headlines." (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)
"Lewis is the finest storyteller of our generation." (Malcolm Gladwell)
"He is so good everyone else may as well pack up." (Evening Standard)
There are absolutely several laugh-out-loud moments in this book. The best part is, without doubt, Michael Lewis's (ML) description of Iceland and its travails as the "investment banking nation". When he describes the difficulties of Alcoa, engaged in opening an Aluminium smelting plant in Iceland, first having to certify that the development site is not inhabited by "the hidden people" (aka Elves) -- it is indescribable. But underlying this is ML's usual depth and curiosity. His description of how Iceland developed its fishing industry into a vast money-making enterprise is succinct and thought-provoking.
It is ML's ability to be acerbic, but not nasty that is really at the core of his talent. The Icelanders acted like amazing idiots, seeing themselves as being somehow amazingly talented and capable, when in fact they were more like eleven year-olds given the keys to Daddy's Cadillac. Yet at the end of his tale-telling, one feels both sympathy for the Icelanders, and a slightly rueful sense that maybe we have all been Icelanders a little bit this past decade.
Then you get to the end of the book, and things take a bit of a nose-dive. ML is quite weak when he comes to ascribing causes to what happened in the GFC. His line throughout the book was that the GFC resulted from people being given a great deal of money that they could spend "with nobody looking". That doesn't ring true to me. And in the final section of the book, where ML takes up theories that the behaviour was triggered by our "lizard brain" and so forth ... well, really. I think there are better analyses than that.
The narrator, Dylan Baker, is quite good, managing to strike an even balance between the underlying humour of the writing, and ML's more serious intent -- to make something truly unbelievable more accessible. It remains just a little too mannered for me, but it seems that perhaps the majority of Audible users like this "storytime" style of delivery, rather than a more simple narration. (If you want to hear good, simple narration, listen to Audible's version of Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia", which remains my favourite Audible book.)
(Note: I'm not British, but I live in a Commonwealth country, and I believe in the protection and preservation of the humble "u". It is very 17th C., I realise, but we could use a bit of the 17th C. today.) [Modern readers can imagine the insertion of one of those bizarre "happy faces" at this point.]
the story and the way put together by the author. They guy has visited the places he writes about it and has talked to the players. the way it is written is funny (although the topic isn't.... at all).
The Dallas hedge fund manager. It saw that the global financial system was rotten and had the balls to bet against it
Good "coloured" narration as opposed to flat text reading. .
Easy going journey. Some complex economic situations made simple in the Michael Lewis style.
Greece and ta avoidance
The time spent with greece's political structures and social security web
I didn't know what I was getting into when buying boomerang. It was certainly an eye opener and took my knowledge of the current state of he worlds economic situation further. Have topic - enjoyable read
This book was rivetting - a fascinating, entertaining, horrifying story. Lewis helps us peer into the economic abyss we're falling into with a clever and often very funny blend of travelogue, interesting characters and reporting. The explanations are clear and relatively free of the financial market-speak that obscures the reality - that Wall Street and its Masters of the Universe are nothing more than expensively dressed con-artists, and the rest of us are the greedy, naive easy marks who made it all possible. Lewis looks at a number of nations at the centre of the crisis - Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany and the US (California) - and examines how culture contributes to the method of economic suicide chosen by each.
While the book ends on a strangely optimistic note, it just underlined to me how humanity never, ever learns from its mistakes. Highly recommended - but all the way through, I was wondering if I'll be laughing on the other side of my face in 5 years' time in the midst of the next Great Depression.
"Another great roller-coaster from Michael Lewis"
Edge Of Seat
Its all good
The Dumbest Guys In The Room
I am learning that anything by Michael Lewis is a laugh-out-loud roller-coaster, that will have you yelling "No-Freaking-Way!!!!" on more than one occasion. Who knew a post-mortem could be so entertaining?
Another very interesting Michael Lewis book. Still relevant even though a few years ago now and makes you wonder when the whole EU will collapse. Recent vote to leave by UK might just be the catalyst.
"Enthralling and informative"
Describing and offering explanations (not always plausible) of the various manifestations of the financial crisis in Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Germany and California Lewis is entertaining and informative: excellent.
"Great and scary book"
Good book I bought it after watching The big short film. I selfishly wish he had visited a few more countries such as Spain or Portugal. But the book is a great help to understand the different reasons for the crash in the Eurozone which I thought weren't so heterogenic. Highly recommended.
"Each to their own, many paths, one calamitous end."
It is hard to describe Boomerang. Essentially it is a piece of light entertainment. That's tough sledding when it's subject is the on-going collapse of the global financial system.
It is less technical than Lewis's other works on the subject and examines the way differences in national character led countries down differing paths to a common disaster. One that has perhaps only just started.
It's hard to see the funny side of the calamitous level of sovereign debt that much of the western world has accumulated in the past 10-years but Lewis puts in a pretty successful attempt.
The narration by Dylan Barker is pretty decent but nothing special.
"I listened twice"
This is an extremely entertaining overview of the sovereign debt crisis. My only criticism is that it appears to draw a lot of its comedy, and worryingly some of its conclusions, from national stereotyping. Despite this, Boomerang is a great and very accessible summary. Dylan Baker's narration suits it very well.
"Sharp, fun and informative"
A sharp, fun and informative guide to the financial crisis. Respected financial author Michael Lewis visits Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Germany and California and compiles stories that illustrate the issues and shine a light into the problems of the crisis.
"Entertaining but not as informative as his others"
Michael Lewis has an uncanny talent for turning non-fiction into an interesting vibrant story. Unfortunately in this book there is just a little bit too much story from my liking. The descriptions are just a little too elaborate and it seems a little thin on the ground when it comes to facts and information.
Totally unlike his other two excellent volumes Liars poker and The Big Short. Which are by far some of the best books on finance available due to their entertaining and highly informative delivery.
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