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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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  •  
    Jean Alpena, MI, United States 11-22-11
    Jean Alpena, MI, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2002
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    "Great read"

    Okay, now I have some idea about what happened in Iceland, Greece and Italy. And I had a great time along the way. Clever and insightful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan westmount, Quebec, Canada 11-22-11
    Bryan westmount, Quebec, Canada 11-22-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Funny, smart accounting of global debt folly"

    If journalism is history written on the run, Michael Lewis has won a marathon.

    Who knew the global debt crisis, which has swamped Europe and threatens to overtop America, could be so wittily rendered? In Lewis's account, it's big, it's scary and it's funny – a "march of folly" that you can't help stopping to watch.

    Sometimes the ethnic stereotyping is a bit cringe-making, and he goes easier on Americans than he does the hapless Europeans, but over all this is a book that lends understanding as it entertains.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George United States 11-22-11
    George United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2013
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    "The Effects of the Cheerleader Economy"

    There were a few people, like Ron Insana, who talked about the emerging problems, the excesses, in the 90's. He gave up, and so did most others. Everyone became a cheerleader and everything was 'fine' for a few years, despite the tech bubble collapse. But the 2008 collapse is proving difficult to fix, and there has been no recovery, to date.

    This book pretty much explains the extent of the problem. It is deadly serious and seriously funny, thanks to the writing style and the over the top excess of everything described.

    It's definitely worth the time and money and it's a book that works great as an audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron United States 11-22-11
    Aaron United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Into world finance?"

    Well if you were not, you will be after you listen to Boomerang. As a fan of prior books of Michael Lewis I decided to give this one a shot. It was done almost along side of The Big Short and fills in a lot of the story of what was going on around the globe while in America we had our financial crisis going on. I actually understand now what is happening to Greece and other EU countries much more deeply and why it is more serious than I initially thought because of this book.

    It was very interesting, sometimes witty, sometimes tongue in cheek but always on point. There were no slow spots in the book and it was well narrated. I recommend this to anyone whether your into world finance or not!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark PEORIA, AZ, United States 11-12-11
    Mark PEORIA, AZ, United States 11-12-11 Member Since 2013

    [RATT]LandShark

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    "Brilliant, entertaining and enlightening"
    What made the experience of listening to Boomerang the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles New York, NY, United States 11-09-11
    Charles New York, NY, United States 11-09-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Long magazine article"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elliot Lethbridge, AB, Canada 11-05-11
    Elliot Lethbridge, AB, Canada 11-05-11 Member Since 2013
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    "Wow, Finantial disaster tourism at it's best"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stefan Lexington, KY, United States 11-04-11
    Stefan Lexington, KY, United States 11-04-11 Member Since 2013
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    "Entertaining story, but too simplistic"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer VA, US 11-02-11
    Amazon Customer VA, US 11-02-11 Member Since 2013
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    "Is this timely or what?"

    Fabulous book but I have to say that the narration made it a five star (instead of just a four). Funny, ridiculous, profound.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thor, goT 11-01-11
    Thor, goT 11-01-11 Member Since 2009

    A former globetrotting surf punk turned homeowner with ecclectic tastes. Classics, horror, crime, biographies or lectures? Yes please!

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    "Another excellent title from Michael Lewis"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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