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)
I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.
I'm an avid reader of books on economics, such as the masterpieces by Paul Krugman, and I eagerly picked up Boomerrang because it's a topic I care about and I loved reading his famous "Moneyball". I was highly entertained and educated by this book, but I still feel it lacks something.
Let's start with the positve, though. We watch our author travel to Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany and California. He examines how the glut of free credit that circled the world in the early 2000s was accepted and used and how those accesses turned into ruin. Each country exhibits a quirky and fascinating quality of him and to you, the reader. He does a nice job at examining how the credit was spent and how the system collapsed. By the end we have seen a collage of images.
But he fails to examine the larger Euro-Zone or to fit these pieces together into a meaningful message or educational point. There is no summation, no understanding of how the crises we witnessed are interrelated or what can be done about it or what policies would prevent it in the future. The books deserves to be longer, more thought proking and more in depth. It's not, and so it doesn't quite feel complete. That said, I still enjoyed it and would recommend it.
I was very much expecting Boomerang to tie the failures in the global economy back to the activities in the United States in a more meaningful way. The cover has a picture of George Washington with a black eye, and I figured this would be a reasonable assumption. I felt as if the global economic failure was described as a series of separate events rather than an integrated failure that was in many ways causted by our interconnectedness and our globalized economy.
Michael Lewis should have connected the dots rather than painting a scattergram of financial chaos.
The narrator was fine.
I would probably not have included the information about Iceland. They seemed somewhat irrelevant to the overall story.
Lewis gives an interesting story of his travels. Boomerang explains some of the theories for the cause of the economic downturn in global economy. He doesn't really explain the issues in the US nor does he predict what is to come. The book ends abruptly as his journey ends. It is a travel log with some thoughts yet a fun read.
It felt like a long newspaper article more than an engaging book. While it was a reasonably interesting topic, the coverage of the information was pretty dry. I found myself looking multiple times at what chapter I was on and when the thing would finish.
I don't think Mike needs my advice on writing books.
Frankly, I don't remember anything about his performance. I think that says something, doesn't it.
Where do bankers come from? They hatch from Icelandic fishing trawlers apparently, and the whole world stands by and watches them use other people's money to finance the purchase of some of the oldest institutions in Europe.
Greeks lie? They don't want to have to actually pay their govt. credit card off? They cheated the system to get the Euro? Did monks really abuse the Greek government by taking confessions as collateral in a leveraged buyout?
Did an American hedge fund manager predict the meltdown, and make out like a gold barron?
This book is a collection of stories and exploits by the centerpieces to the world's financial meltdown. It touches slightly on the real estate bubble, but it focuses mostly on Iceland and then quickly sails through Europe, Greece, and eventually the US.
The stories are all first hand accounts from government officials that sometimes speak more candidly than one would expect but I found myself at the halfway point wishing the end would come soon so I could move on to the next audiobook on my phone.
The author tends to throw the F word in every now and then for no seeming reason other than to wake the listener/reader up and make them pay attention to his commentary on the quote from the last interviewee. I found that completely unnecessary as I would just pause the book when I started to nod off and pickup again later.
I would only recommend this book if you want to hear some first hand accounts of where so many people fooled the system, themselves, their neighbors, and a couple of times were called out by people who were scorned, ridiculed, and told they would be sued if they didn't quit talking about the risk and improper bond ratings of the schemes that ultimately dealt the world a recession.
Overall, this was a very intersting book. Michael Lewis does capture the insanity from around the world that led to the economic collapse of 2008. You see why Greece was in so much turmoil and rioted. You see the crazy practices the US was imploring.
Dylan Baker was also very good reading the book. His narration gives you a sense of how rediculous the world was acting.
After listening to about 2/3 of the book, I am beginning to wonder if there is going to be a connection to the dots to pull the story back to the reader after being flung into global debt sink holes of the world. I am wondering if my time is starting to follow the path of the money -- a loss not to be recovered?
It seems there were some connection of the dots and yet the overall global connection has yet to be made. Hopefully, the last third of the book will link the threads.
Kyle Bass. He seemed to portray the character to bottom feed and suck the air from the room.
It would need to have a cast of actors to breathe life into this saga.
I feel a little amiss in writing the review prior to ending this book ... and yet I wonder as my interest wanes if completion will be very soon?
I was expecting something better. The research for this book was superficial and simply not good enough. Could have been a great book but the author only presents the american stereotype interpritation of the countries analyzed. The author does make a few good points and observations but not enough to save the book and i resent the author calling europe the new third world. Europe may not be perfect but a lot better than the US.
Having read The Big Short and appreciated Lewis' great mix of finance with characters/plot, I hoped for the same thing from Boomerang. Absolutely not. I stopped reading after listening to two hours of what amounted to his own personal journey through Iceland. The technical explanations of The Big Short, which are honestly what make it worth reading, were almost completely missing, while the character development and plot was gone as well. Instead he replaces characters with generalizing statements about entire countries in what is clearly an attempt at entertainment rather than education. The narration is poor as well.
This book was definitely a great buy. Very informative. Kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was listening to it!
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