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Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World | [Michael Lewis]

Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

The tsunami of 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. The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a pinata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack at it. The Germans wanted to be even more German; the Irish wanted to stop being Irish.
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Publisher's Summary

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Big Short, Liar’s Poker and The Blind Side!

The tsunami of 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.

The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a pinata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack at it. The Germans wanted to be even more German; the Irish wanted to stop being Irish.

The trademark of Michael Lewis’s best sellers is to tell an important and complex story through characters so outsized and outrageously weird that you’d think they have to be invented. (You’d be wrong.) In Boomerang, we meet a brilliant monk who has figured out how to game Greek capitalism to save his failing monastery; a cod fisherman who, with three days’ training, becomes a currency trader for an Icelandic bank; and an Irish real estate developer so outraged by the collapse of his business that he drives across the country to attack the Irish Parliament with his earth-moving equipment.

Lewis’s investigation of bubbles beyond our shores is so brilliantly, sadly hilarious that it leads the American listener to a comfortable complacency: Oh, those foolish foreigners. But when Lewis turns a merciless eye on California and Washington DC, we see that the narrative is a trap baited with humor, and we understand the reckoning that awaits the greatest and greediest of debtor nations.

©2011 Michael Lewis (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

What the Critics Say

“No one writes with more narrative panache about money and finance than Lewis.” (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)

What Members Say

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  •  
    LMcL SAN DIEGO, CA USA 10-30-11
    LMcL SAN DIEGO, CA USA 10-30-11 Member Since 2009

    Tiggi Lit Lee

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amusing"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Brunswick, TN, United States 10-29-11
    Robert Brunswick, TN, United States 10-29-11 Member Since 2011

    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.

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    "Worth the listen"

    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).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chuck Southborough, MA, United States 10-24-11
    Chuck Southborough, MA, United States 10-24-11 Member Since 2009
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    "His Best Book"

    Up until now, The Big Short was my favorite audiobook, this tops it. Lewis's dry humor and fantastic use of irony almost makes you forget just how scary the underlying premise is. I wish the book was twice as long as I hated to have it end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan Monument, CO, United States 10-21-11
    Bryan Monument, CO, United States 10-21-11 Member Since 2005

    ColoradoRight

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    "A Trip Around the Financial Ruins"

    The fallout from the Financial Crash of 2008 is seen from what happened in Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany, and the United States. This is a collation of a series of articles that Michael Lewis has been publishing in US Magazines where he became a tourist through the rubble of the world.

    Although I had read one of these stories before, this is a very enlightening and entertaining series of stories. I found myself laughing out loud several times. And considering the seriousness of the story that is being told, that says a lot about Mr. Lewis's ability to write cogently and clearly.

    How did Iceland come to have debts 7 or 8 times its total GDP? How did a 10th Century monastery in Greece come to have a billion Euro real estate portfolio? Why did the Irish go from welcoming some of their ex-patriots back home to exporting people again? Why are the Germans obsessed with feces? What is the brokest city in the brokest state in the United States?

    All these questions and more are answered in this very entertaining book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Crownsville, MD, United States 10-18-11
    Connie Crownsville, MD, United States 10-18-11 Member Since 2006
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    "Shame on us."

    The story was good and I always enjoy Michael Lewis' books but this one had a different flavor to it. The book develops background on Iceland, Ireland, Greece and Germany's financial problems through unusual people and situations. Nearly every person was so financially naive as to be embarrassing. Wall Street was (again) portrayed as blood sucking vampires with no redeeming virtues as we pushed off our worthless assets onto people who trusted the word and guarantees of the USA and Wall Street.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven PHILADELPHIA, PA, United States 10-17-11
    Steven PHILADELPHIA, PA, United States 10-17-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Colorful Account of the Soverign Debt Crisis"

    In addition to providing the details of the origin of the debt crisis in Greece, Ireland, and California, Lewis provides an interesting and colorful account. That's in comparison to most business writers, who aren't very good writers. Yes, sometimes Lewis is over the top, like in his theory that Germans are obsessed with anal scatology, but that adds to the material that would otherwise be a very dry read.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. Panama City, FL, United States 10-16-11
    Mr. Panama City, FL, United States 10-16-11 Member Since 2007

    Jonnie

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    "Fun and interesting book"

    Michael Lewis is the premier financial writer of our day. My favorite is the Big Short but Boomerang is a fun and interesting follow-up. Lewis paints a clear albeit brief picture of the present difficulties in Greece and Ireland and California and how they got that way through personal stories. The story and performance by the narrator were both five stars.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim leesburg, FL, United States 11-22-11
    Jim leesburg, FL, United States 11-22-11
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    "The worst book I have ever rread!"

    Hard to follow. The last two chapters were about Calif. , and to my mind not about the overseas default. It seemed like filller to me.
    Jim Mahoney

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael New York, NY, United States 11-22-11
    Michael New York, NY, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Michael Lewis Does It Again"

    Michael Lewis continues to unveil the reasons for the destruction of our economy by greed and stupidity.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Falmouth, ME USA 11-13-11
    Jeff Falmouth, ME USA 11-13-11 Member Since 2004

    Jeff

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    "A Snarky "Analysis" of the New Third World"

    Compared to Lewis' other books this one is weak. Lewis chooses national and regional "character" to snark about (not explain) the meltdown. The tone and approach is flimsy. The real question is "where were the adults" (Government) and why didn't a single government throw a yellow flag and blow the whistle. AND most important where were the basic metrics ithat would illuminate a tipping point. In "The Big Short", Suskind's "Confidence Men" and Markopolis' "No One Would Listen," it is clear that many individuals have developed measures that define what is not sustainable. A more interesting book would be why, in the Age of Data, does the world economy still run on relationships, assumptions and conflict avoidance.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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