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)
mostly nonfiction listener
Boomerang takes the story global. What happens when entire societies decide to spend money they don't have? You end up with Greece. If you don't think that it is possible to laugh out loud about the European debt crisis then you have not read Lewis' Boomerang.
Lewis takes us on a world tour from Iceland (where the country turned itself into a giant hedge fund), to Greece, Ireland, Germany and back to the U.S. to discover what it is about national cultures that encouraged the financial insanity that delivered us where we are today. Why did the sober Germans keep loaning money to crazy and irresponsible Greeks, Irish and Americans to buy houses we'd never be able to pay for? Why did U.S. municipalities go on spending sprees and enter into contracts with public safety unions that will bankrupt future generations with un-payable pension costs? And what is it about the people of Iceland that convinced them that they should all stop fishing and go instead into investment banking? Michael Lewis has the answers.
Michael Lewis is a top notch writer. He is at the top of his game. He provides so many witty remarks that I find myself laughing my entire drive listening to this book. It is a serious subject and everyone should read (hear) this to really know what is going on, however, the presentation is top notch and entertaining. The narrator is also excellent and this is now one of my favorite audio books.
Michael Lewis has a way of telling a story. Dylan Baker brings it to life so much better than I could have imagined. This is an example of an audiobook far more memorable than the already very good book could have been on its own.
make it The Big Short, not this one. I love Lewis, but I'm giving this 3 stars. If it were someone else, I'd probably give it 4, but this just felt not up to Lewis' standards. When I finished TBS, I was talking about it for days, and by the time I'd convinced my friends to read it, they were complaining that I'd already told them a lot of the best stories because I just couldn't resist. This book was enjoyable, but it just didn't capture my excitement the way other Michael Lewis books have. Uncharacteristically, there were parts that just felt like filler. The story of the Greek monks comes to mind.
My biggest straight complaint is that Lewis really pushes the position that public workers unions are responsible for state and local governments' budget challenges, but he doesn't give much evidence that this is the case. To be sure, he may be right, but all he gives are anecdotes, like California paying a prison psychologist $800,000 a year. Yes, states and cities are in financial trouble, and yes, public workers and pensions are their biggest expense. But it takes more to say that it's the unions' fault. I'm personally disinclined to believe that it's unions' fault, but I respect Lewis, and I was willing to hear him out, he just didn't present much solid evidence. Maybe the story in the US is more technical and involved, or maybe my standards are higher because I'm more connected to it, but I felt like the sections on Greece and Ireland were much more convincing. At the same time, those stories are also pretty well hashed out by this point. The section on Germany was more original, but I'm hard pressed to say exactly what its conclusion was, except that Germans like poop.
So yeah, it's a good listen, but not a must listen, and definitely listen to The Big Short first. If you're a Michael Lewis fan, prepare to be disappointed.
A good follow up to the Big Short whereby the financial meltdown is explained in more depth and detail on a global level. If you are seeking to understand how the complexities of global finance affect economies around the world and how those economies are interdependent then this book takes a look at a large sampling from large to small. It delves into the incompetent money managers thinking and sheds light on the corrupt and morally bankrupt banks that took down governments, and more importantly it illustrates how the tax payers who had the misfortune of having lived in places where the power elites wrote themselves blank checks with other people's money. A great great read!!!
As always Michael Lewis has some interesting observations about societies. Entertaining read. This book, I feel, is definately worth the cost.
Say something about yourself!
Lewis has an easy going way and makes the tough to describe easy to follow. Each chapter has truly unbelievable stories. Holds attention all the way through. Highly recommend. Only issue is I wish Lewis had read it.
had been a bit disappointed with Flash Boys, but this book makes up for it. Not as great as Liar's Poker - not many can compete with that - but still very witty, entertaining and educational. I love Michael Lewis's work. I've read four so far, so many more to go! If you like Lewis, you will enjoy this, its a good read and the narrator makes it even better. Definitely worth a read.
Report Inappropriate Content