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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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  •  
    Amazon Customer Orange, VA, United States 10-16-11
    Amazon Customer Orange, VA, United States 10-16-11 Member Since 2011

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Makes finanical crisis easy to understand"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neuron Sweden 12-07-14
    Neuron Sweden 12-07-14 Member Since 2012

    Family father, neuroscientist, and non-fiction audiobook addict.

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    "Educational and entertaining"

    In Boomerang Michael Lewis tells a number of stories illustrating the folly that was all too common in and around 2008, when the financial crisis hit the world economy. The first scene is Texas, US, where the author meets Kyle Bass, who became famous when he got rich from betting that sub-prime mortgages would go bust, which of course they did in the most spectacular manner. Since then, Bass has moved on to other types of bets, namely bets that nations will go bust. Bas thinks it is an inevitability given the amount of debt nations have accumulated. Indeed, when private businesses such as AIG, and large banks needed bailouts worth hundreds of billions of dollars, nations basically took over the debt. In some countries these bailouts means that the nations, which in the end means the citizens of those nations, have enormous debts. It appears unrealistic that they will ever be able to pay it off, and Kyle Bas bet that they will not.

    Following this first encounter which sets the scene, Lewis travels to Iceland, Greece, Ireland, and Germany, before heading back to the state in the US which according to this book is in the most trouble… California. Lewis is a master when it comes to telling stories that are informal and amusing, and yet at the same time illustrates the economic events that lead to the 2008 meltdown of some economies. In Iceland for instance, Lewis meets with a fisherman who, before 2008, realized that he could make more money if they borrowed japanese yen at a 3% interest and used them to buy Icelandic kroner which rose by 16% a year. The resulting wealth of Iceland was insane considering that they only have 300.000 inhabitants. Iceland, via money trickery, became so rich that they were able to buy several of the UKs biggest banks meaning that Iceland had to pay when the bank was in trouble, which of course they could not…

    In the last chapter we meet (to my surprise), no other than Mr. Governator i.e., Arnold Schwarzenegger. In describing this encounter, Lewis manages to simultaneously write about Schwarzenegger's maniac style bike rides through intersections with heavy traffic, and California's fiscal policy and potential collapse. After having read this book I see both California and Arnold Schwarzenegger in a new light

    While I did learn new things this book did not fundamentally change me or the way I see the world. Still, it is not often you find a book which is as educational and at the same time entertaining, as Boomerang.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lon C Cross Washington, DC, US 09-19-14
    Lon C Cross Washington, DC, US 09-19-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Great Read!"
    What made the experience of listening to Boomerang the most enjoyable?

    Compelling, thoroughly entertaining, and very enlightening.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Didn't have a favorite.


    What about Dylan Baker’s performance did you like?

    Awesome!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laughed my a$$ off.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LA Stillwater, OK United States 08-11-14
    LA Stillwater, OK United States 08-11-14

    LA

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    "Another Great One from Lewis!"
    What made the experience of listening to Boomerang the most enjoyable?

    Unexpectedly humorous! The book is fun and entertaining, and it provides great insight regarding the motivational contrasts of peoples in the regions visited.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    People are so irrational and so very deluded.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I enjoyed it all, so it's hard to choose. I thought the time discussing the Monks was interesting, Iceland was fascinating, and the take on the Germans was a pretty unique offering as well.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I wouldn't call the book moving per se. It's a fun trip through some of the PIIGS with side trips into California, New York & Germany.


    Any additional comments?

    You will enjoy it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    satya 08-10-14
    satya 08-10-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Insanity world wide"

    Wall street greed gripping the whole wide world. Michael lewis has a knack of presenting the complex disastrous economics of the wall street now the globe for the layman.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stevan 07-24-14
    Stevan 07-24-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Michael Lewis is amazing."

    I read this book before Flash Boys, between the two, some of the best reading and listening I have done in a long time concerning finance and economics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric LONG BEACH, CA, United States 05-27-14
    Eric LONG BEACH, CA, United States 05-27-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Great book - Painful narration"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Great summary of the financial crisis across various European countries.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Insightful writing


    How could the performance have been better?

    Dylan Baker has an annoying voice - not pleasant to hear for 8 hours. He is a supporting actor for a reason.


    Do you think Boomerang needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    no

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan 01-30-14
    Bryan 01-30-14
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    "Economics made fun"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I think it was a great book. Dylan Baker does a great job keeping you focused on the story.


    Would you recommend Boomerang to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes its very insightful to the financial status or the world and the blunders certain countries have made to put the world in this financial vice.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    NO


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Acteon Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 10-24-13
    Acteon Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 10-24-13 Member Since 2009

    Acteon

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    "Must read for an understanding of our world"
    Would you listen to Boomerang again? Why?

    Yes. Because I don't have a good enough memory to remember all the important things revealed in this book, nor all the amusing and quotable ones.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The dumbfounding discovery of how so much of the world is run by dumb, ignorant and unscrupulous individuals, and how so many collude with them toward our ruination.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Learning that Californians who voted in Schwazenegger as an outsider ready to defy the status quo, when asked for a direct vote on four reforms that he could not get passed through conventional processes, refused to support even one of them. This says a lot about what is most deeply wrong with our society.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me want both to laugh and to cry, many many times.


    Any additional comments?

    A book that everyone should read. I can't imagine anyone who would not gain understanding from it. And it is more entertaining than any entertainment I can think of.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zhengyuan UPLAND, CA, United States 08-19-13
    Zhengyuan UPLAND, CA, United States 08-19-13
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    "I listen to this for 2 times"
    Any additional comments?

    It's a fascinating novel-like read that takes audiences to a tour around Eruope, in the name of finacial disaster investigation. And bring audiences back to US financial crisis at the end of the book.
    I am not sure how accurate is the material since the tone of the book is quite funny(as michael lewis always has been), but definetly a book worth reading, even if you know nothing about what's happening in Europe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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