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
“No one writes with more narrative panache about money and finance than Lewis.” (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)
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.
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.
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.
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.
The stories are dramatic. A good listen if it's a bed time story, but it's not. The book lacks a central idea. The analysis of economics in different countries is superficial and biased.
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.
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.
I always enjoy Michael Lewis. This time was no exception. However, this book is an entertaining story of gross generalizations. The way in which the story is told and read was great fun. Anectdotal storys and, to my experience, the author putting a lot of catchy phrases in people's mouths, makes this story feel more fiction than non-fiction. If you are looking for an in depth study, stay away from this one. If you are looking for some pulp fiction, this is a good one.
I am a big fac of Michael Lewis, however I would like to have a link about the stories.... A book about Europe ends up talking about California! Maybe becaus Szwarznegger was born in Austria ;-)
I say a bridge too far, both in terms of the subject matter and the author. As for the subject matter, it's too much of a stretch to think that the depths or the character of the present economic crisis can be conveyed by a limited number of individuals, no matter how engaging or overdrawn. As for the author, Lewis has let the deserved success of Liar's Poker and The Big Short go to his head. What he has written this time is worthy of Vanity Fair, where the material first appeared, and not in our ears from Audible.
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