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Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  29,469 Ratings  ·  1,791 Reviews

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.

Icelanders wanted to stop fishing and become investment bankers. The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a pi

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Kindle Edition
Published (first published October 3rd 2011)
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Will Byrnes
Jul 27, 2013 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
UPDATED - July 28, 2013 - at bottom

Checking in with the whiz kids who predicted the Wall Street crash that he wrote about in The Big Short, his excellent look at the latest Wall Street meltdown, Michael Lewis finds that the next big bust will be on the nation-state scale. His construct for analyzing how nations deal with the economic environment of the 21st century is to imagine each of these countries in a dark room in which piles of money were dumped, the easy credit available in the first chu
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Scott
Sep 05, 2013 Scott rated it it was ok
Shelves: money, 2010s
Lewis’s Boomerang (2011) is a slick read that coasts on its author’s reputation for writing well about others' fiscal knavery and financial stupidity. I usually don’t pick up a book if the author’s name on the cover is twice the size of the book’s title, especially when that title is anything but fresh and intriguing (How many gazillion books are named Boomerang? Do a Goodreads book search and marvel at the results.); but this one came to me on loan from a neighbor who heard I liked to read (ble ...more
Brian Yahn
Aug 22, 2016 Brian Yahn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Lewis is surprisingly racist and politically incorrect in this book. For entertainment's sake, he reduces entire nations to cartoon characters, essentially turning the world into the Looney Tunes. It's equal parts hilarious and frightening--the more you learn about the financial future of the global economy, the more you start to think of the world in terms of Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny.

This is less of a story and more of a collection of five separate articles about the lead up to the fin
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Perry
Jul 22, 2016 Perry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
European Economies Collapse Under Weight of Icelandic Elves, German Scheiße, Self-Hating Greeks, Suspicious Irish


Three Icelandic Members of Lollypop Guild, Which Controls Iceland's Economy

I've been entertained and enlightened by every Michael Lewis book I've read, including this one and his exploring Major League Baseball mathematics, the NFL's left tackle, the stock market and financial shorting ( The Big Short ). Lewis has the uncanny, creative ability to explain in clear and simple terms subj
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Marsha
Oct 23, 2011 Marsha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge Michael Lewis fan - in fact I wish I could have his job. He writes about money and sports, two subjects I find fascinating. However, Lewis crosses the line with this book, which is a compilation of previously published magazine pieces about the financial crisis as it has played out in Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Germany and California. Lewis seems to have reached some sweeping conclusions about the "essential character" of these places, based on spending a couple of weeks there and tal ...more
Nick
Nov 17, 2011 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm loving this. Taken in tandem with Lewis's previous book, The Big Short, it's a hilarious and terrifying explanation of the present financial crisis (ruination, collapse, armageddon?)

I was chatting to a couple of people the other day who really know finance and suchlike, and they objected that Lewis doesn't get everything right. I can't say whether that's a question of fact or a matter of nuance and opinion. What I can say is that a) nothing he writes clashes with my experience or understandi
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Mark Rice
Nov 29, 2011 Mark Rice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 2004, Wall Street's largest investment banks brought about the beginning of a worldwide financial downturn by creating the credit default swap on the subprime mortgage bond. The events that followed have been widely reported. Once-wealthy nations such as Greece, Ireland, Iceland and Germany accrued gargantuan debts, causing governments, banks and other companies to crumble. In 'Boomerang', Michael Lewis explains the details of how and why this happened, visiting the worst-affected countries a ...more
Mark
Jan 25, 2012 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any banker
Recommended to Mark by: Mark Rice
Shelves: history
To say i am totally p***ed off is to water down my feelings enormously. having just written out a review of this book which took me an hour my computer has chosen to wipe it and, being a total luddite, i have no idea how to retrieve it. As i went along I was removing the clips from the pages which had struck me as provoking, incisive, witty etc. Now i look at a pile of magnetic page markers and a book wholly free of them. Short of wading my way through again I have no way of tracing them. How in ...more
Brent
Oct 29, 2011 Brent rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hmmm, business
As a huge Michael Lewis fan, I was a bit disappointed by this book. The concept was neat, but the lack of an overall narrative and the length of the five stories made them somewhat shallow. Even the best of the bunch (the US) won't tell you anything you don't already know.
Joe
Oct 26, 2011 Joe rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've read and enjoyed other books from Lewis -- The Big Short, The Blind Side, Moneyball, Liar's Poker -- but this book was a severe disappointment.

I think my main complaints can be summarized with three observations: 1) This book seemed rushed, and not in-depth; 2) Lewis has demonstrated the ability to simplify complex situations, but in this book he instead relies on over-simplistic cliches; 3) as opposed to explaining and illuminating, he seems to have an axe to grind -- a biased viewpoint he
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Scott Rhee
I puzzled over the title of Michael Lewis’s book “Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World”, as the word “boomerang” does not appear once throughout. It confused me until I began to piece together what exactly Lewis was trying to say between the lines.

Lewis’s books are all about what’s between the lines. He is all about the subtle extrapolation of meanings and hidden meanings lurking beneath the subject matter. In his wonderful book, “Moneyball”, which was ostensibly about baseball and the econ
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Cheryl
Oct 08, 2011 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who knew it could be so enjoyable reading about the financial crisis, explained with examples from several key areas of the world? Fascinating. Iceland, Greece, Ireland, USA -- these are some of the countries in what he calls the New Third World. We have been undone by our ancient lizard nature of greed, where short term satisfaction overwhelms common sense. Hilarious and sobering all at once.
Trish
Michael Lewis turns his curiosity on the wider world after the financial debacle of 2007 and the success of his book The Big Short . Here he attempts to answer a few questions: How did the crisis unravel overseas, what was the role of European banks, and how did governments and investors deal with the disaster? Then he returns home to America to look at state failures, California specifically, in the aftermath.

I listened to the Recorded Books edition of this book, and Lewis has a laugh in his v
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Greg Bates
Mar 18, 2012 Greg Bates rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
With a subtitle like “Travels in the New Third World,” you might pick up Boomerang expecting to read about Michael Lewis tramping through New Orleans and the Deep South, looking at people whose savings and livelihoods were wiped out by the financial crisis and the squalor they deal with on a daily basis. Instead, you get a gleeful travelogue of all the countries he's visited in the last year and a half, complete with rambling diatribe about how the financial crisis affected them and snide commen ...more
Aaron
May 06, 2012 Aaron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After The Big Short, this is a weird book. Lewis almost completely abandons the Napoleonic narrative of history suggested by The Big Short in this one, where both success and disaster, no matter how broadly written, is basically the result of the choices of special people who are able to exploit unique opportunities to create economy shaking results. There’s almost none of that here. Whereas the American crisis seems to be the result of a few very smart people either creating or identifying a ge ...more
Tim
Dec 15, 2011 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Michael Lewis has a remarkable gift for giving insight through stories. Each of the five sections of the book was fascinating in a different way: how various countries reacted to having a big pot of seemingly free money on offer, how they responded when things didn't turn out as well as they hoped, and what that says about the national character of each.

What I found most fascinating about the story of Iceland was not in the book, but in the comments of a friend who lives there. Because Iceland
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David
Feb 05, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Some adjectives that describe this collection of essays by Michael Lewis: smart, clear, entertaining, breezy, moderately informative . They are fun to read, and though not heavily researched, probably accurate as far as they go. Each of the five essays collected here first appeared, in slightly different form, in Vanity Fair. Those dealing with foreign economies (Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Germany) appear to be based on visits Lewis made to the countries in question between late 2008 and mid 2011 ...more
Christine Zibas
Feb 07, 2016 Christine Zibas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ever wonder just how the global economy got into such a mess? With a generous dose of humor, author and financial guru Michael Lewis turns his attention to the “new Third World,” that is, Europe. And of course, the United States.

While other financial writers can make eyes glaze over as they detail the markets and throw around acronyms like ECB (European Central Bank) and IMF (International Monetary Fund), Lewis has a rare gift for making economics personal. In “Boomerang: Travels in the New Thir
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Mary Ronan Drew
Oct 03, 2011 Mary Ronan Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael Lewis is the author of the blockbuster Liar's Poker from 20 years ago (soon to be a major motion picture, by the way.) Lewis has recently done a bit of "financial disaster tourism" as he calls it and the results are in his latest book, Boomerang.

I bought it for Wilhelm but made the mistake of leaving it lying around and yesterday I did what I said I would not do and started reading it. And couldn't put it down. Fortunately it's short.
In an attempt to figure out what happened to the euro
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Mal Warwick
Oct 11, 2011 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What goes around, comes around: following the financial meltdown around the world

If you’re scratching your head over the financial news from Europe these days and wondering what on earth has been happening in Greece, Ireland, and elsewhere that has everyone, especially the Germans, in a state of panic, Michael Lewis will make it all clear to you with his customary straight talk, humor, and insight. Boomerang — a collection of Lewis’ articles for Vanity Fair on what he calls “financial-disaster t
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Mark Stevens
Jun 02, 2013 Mark Stevens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Boomerang" isn't afraid to talk about greed and culture. Michael Lewis swoops down into the world economic crisis with a biting, perplexed tone. If you are in the least bit worried that a book about international finance might teeter on boredom, you're presumptions will be shattered. Lewis helps us see the people and the key decisions in Iceland, Ireland, Greece and Germany that continue to play havoc with the global economy in mid-2013. The chapter on the Greek monks ("And They Invented Math") ...more
Karla
Oct 09, 2011 Karla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Thanks to an Amazon reviewer (whose review is no longer there), I was able to get this book of previously-published articles via Lexis-Nexis and the Vanity Fair website. I hadn't heard of Michael Lewis until I saw his interview for this book on The Daily Show (yeah, I don't get out much). Anyway, free book in hand, I thoroughly enjoyed his observations about the meltdowns all over Europe, even if I never completely understood WTF it was all about. But if the people "in charge" had no clue what t ...more
Grigory
Apr 23, 2016 Grigory rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An Icelander, an Irish, a Greek and a German catch a leprechaun.
"I'll give ye a pot o'financial credit for ten years", - he says.
"I'll waste it on heroic but useless enterprises, cause I'm a manly viking" - says the Icelander.
"I'll lend it to meself and declare bankruptcy when I can't pay the interest" - says the Irish.
"I'll stop working, spend the money and then refuse to pay back, cause I'm cunning and lazy" - says the Greek.
"I won't spend a pfennig on myself, will give my money to the greek
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Max de Freitas
Feb 24, 2016 Max de Freitas rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a stupid book by an irritating writer. Michael Lewis is like a reality show host who disparages, insults, laughs at and denigrates unfortunate victims of economic calamities. He is a literary Donald Trump who, to his credit, does manage to use complete sentences. The greedy opportunists who lost out may deserve scorn but many ordinary people, who had no choice in the matter, also fell victim to the Great Recession and the financial crisis that followed. Lewis does not examine the real re ...more
Christine Lynch
Dec 07, 2015 Christine Lynch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert Vlach
Jul 02, 2015 Robert Vlach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
„Michael Lewis je nejlepší vypravěč naší generace,“ tvrdí na přebalu knihy Boomerang Malcolm Gladwell a kdo jiný by to měl vědět lépe než on? Boomerang jsem začal číst hned po asi nejslavnější Lewisově knize The Big Short, kterou jsem tady doporučoval minulý týden a fakt je, že se báječně doplňují. Zatímco Big Short rozebírá příčiny finanční krize, Boomerang popisuje její dopady ve světě — Island, Řecko, Irsko, Neměcko či americké městské rozpočty. Co jsem se tak díval po netu, knize je občas vy ...more
Abbey
Oct 13, 2011 Abbey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It strikes me as unfair to characterize a whole nation as uptight or reckless or fickle like Lewis does, but maybe it's not so far off the mark. As a whole, Americans take more risks than Japanese. Why is that such a shocking observation? Comparing one Japanese with one American, it may be that the Japanese person is less risk-averse than the individual American; nonetheless, generalities hold true. If this is the case, then the "personalities" of nations could in some way account for the astoni ...more
Jane Stewart
4 stars. Wow. This was excellent. I’m very happy to have this eye-opening knowledge.

The entertainment value is the strange incompetence and stupidity of people. But it is also depressing. Terrible things are happening to ordinary people. I loved hearing it as an audiobook, educating me while I was doing other things. Reading this as a physical book might be less desirable for me. In the book the author describes himself as a “financial disaster tourist.” He travels to and writes about five area
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Sam Quixote
Dec 06, 2012 Sam Quixote rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a big reader of newspapers or watcher of the news, mostly as the news these days is reported as quickly as possible with the barest of facts and, for larger issues like the economic troubles of recent years, almost no understanding of the circumstances for context. That's not to say I'm not interested, but I would only be interested in reading about the financial woes of late through a writer who could write, not as an economist or academic, but a true writer, and could make the subject ...more
Jillwilson
Sep 26, 2012 Jillwilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two interesting and intersecting things from the weekend. Towards the end of Boomerang, Michael Lewis quotes Peter Whybrow, a British neuroscientist, who says that dysfunction in American society is a by-product of America’s success. In Whybrow’s book ‘American Mania’ he explores the concept that the human brain has evolved in an environment defined by scarcity – the brain is not designed for abundance. The reptilian core predominates. "When faced with abundance, the brain's ancient reward pathw ...more
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Have you barely dented your want-to-read list? 1 4 Aug 10, 2016 02:07PM  
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Isnt there a paperback version? 6 49 Jan 06, 2013 09:02AM  
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Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, The Money Culture, The New New Thing, Moneyball, The Blind Side, Panic, Home Game, The Big Short, and Boomerang, among other works, lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.
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“Everywhere you turn you see Americans sacrifice their long-term interests for a short-term reward.” 11 likes
“Germans longed to be near shit, but not in it. This, as it turns out, is an excellent description of their role in the current financial crisis.” 10 likes
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