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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

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    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
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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
  •  
    Michael Newport, Oregon, United States 11-01-11
    Michael Newport, Oregon, United States 11-01-11 Member Since 2014
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    "I highly recommend it."

    An excellent read; cogent, humorous and comprehensive. One of the best books on the current crisis out there!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LMcL 10-30-11
    LMcL 10-30-11

    Tiggi Lit Lee

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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 2013
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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 2012

    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
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