Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World
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Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  18,741 ratings  ·  1,463 reviews
“Lewis shows again why he is the leading journalist of his generation.”—Kyle Smith, Forbes

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 sto...more
Paperback, 218 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mark Rice
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
Cheryl
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.
Mary Ronan Drew
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...more
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...more
Abbey
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
Mark Stevens
"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
Sam Quixote
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
Erin
Michael Lewis’ “Boomerang” is one of the most frightening books I have ever read. Most frightening, I think, because it is all too true and happening right now.

Lewis travels to Iceland, Greece, Germany, and the United States to discover the causes of the global financial crisis and what, if anything, might be done about it. It is a bit depressing to realize that the main problem we need to overcome is ourselves. The cultures in these countries has greatly contributed to the financial crisis, and...more
thewanderingjew
Michael Lewis has the gift of gab! His book on the financial crisis (the economic debacle that hit the United States and Europe, that almost brought the whole world down and of which we are not yet out of the woods), is so easy to read and so filled with wit that one forgets the horrific images of the failure that the book is describing; he makes plain what was the complete amorality or stupidity of the bankers, the investment brokers and the clients that they serviced, as they all marched towar...more
Doug Cornelius
Michael Lewis packages his stories on the effects of the global financial crisis in Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany, and California into one book: Boomerang. If you had ready the stories when they were published in Vanity Fair, then you've ready the book. If you missed some (or all) of those stories then this book is great viewpoint on how five countries got themselves into trouble with excessive debt.

I had already read the first four articles when they appeared in Vanity Fair, but I had not y...more
Brian
May 21, 2012 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bondholders
Recommended to Brian by: Amber
Reading most of Mr. Lewis's books, I always end up walking away a little uneasy about the narrative or the conclusions or the morals about which I just read. So he gets a pass on idolizing hedge fund short-sellers becasue he helped you understand what a traunch was? I griped. Did none of you listen to NPR's Planet Money?

Yet somehow, in Boomerang, which may be more appropriately titled "Game Over Man, Game Over", I feel this is honestly some of his best work and have no remorse about whole-heart...more
John
Lewis generally elicits a "Wow" whenever he writes anything, telling incredible stories from the banks and trading pits (and more recently with Moneyball and the Blind Side, the locker rooms and sports franchises). He has spun a few decent books on high tech. But his last two tomes on financial malfeasance - The Big Short and Boomerang - are among his best. Irreverent to the point of being almost insulting, Lewis pulls the curtain and exposes the charade in the Iceland, the Eurozone and even lit...more
Darwin8u
I read these essays on Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany and California when they were first published in 2009/10/11 in Vanity Fair. It is hard re-reading them now again in book form and not think Michael Lewis is a GOD. IF you haven't read these, go to the Library, buy the book. GET off your butt, go to Vanity Fair and start reading his essays: http://www.vanityfair.com/search?quer...

After you've read this read The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, also by Michael Lewis. That is probably...more
Eloy
The new Third World countries are Iceland, Greece and Ireland.
Lewis manages to explain very well the incredibly complex financial mess these three countries got into recently. He visits each of them and his portrait is very witty and funny. He does not pretend to be impartial and his humor can be at times corrosive, but one senses it has the mark of truth. The Icelanders emerge as a tiny nation of exotic nuts who got even crazier speculating with mainly British money in the world markets, not kn...more
John Woltjer
Whatever illusions I had that the financial world is run by people that are surpassingly brilliant, died here in this telling of how Ireland, Greece, Iceland, et.al. managed to completely destroy their national economies. Michael Lewis has the gift of making arcane and seemingly incomprehensibly complicated financial machinations seem understandable to the average person. My background is in the humanities, so when I read about CDO's, and other investment strategies designed by Quants, my eyes g...more
Shelly
In the beginning there are Wall Street Bankers alone in dark rooms full of money. Then there are Icelanders unimpressed with Bjork blowing up Range Rovers, Irish Donald Trump Wannabes, Corrupt and Conniving Greek Monks and an Overstaffed, Overpaid and Underperforming Greek Public Sector, Duped and Poop-Obsessed Germans, and then finally California. The Governator, Wine Country, Silicon Valley, Police, Firefighters, Fatties, Me, You, and a Dark Room Full of Money.
Ita
I don't read much nonfiction and find books about financial stuff generally boring. This book, however, grabbed me fairly quickly. It offers a dismaying and frightening picture of our financial future. Lewis travels to Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany, and California and details why we're in the financial mess we're in. He does so in an anecdotal and entertaining fashion.

Highly recommended.
Loraine
Excellent listen. The material is as promised: travels in the new third world. Not exactly entertaining because how can a book that deals with financial misfortune of others be entertaining? But that is the only word I can come up with to describe how easily Michael Lewis grabbed my attention and kept it all the way through.
John Spillane
Great, really great. The info in this will be a gift that keeps on giving. I'd read two of the book's five pieces when they were in Vanity Fair but they are so packed and well told that revisiting them was an easy call. There's a reason he got $10/word for them the first time around.
Jason Born
Frightening how selfish/childish we and our elected/appointed leaders have become. Seems like the debt time-bomb will have to detonate before we alter our course. Greece here we come!
Cathleen Ross
Loved it. This is an author who can make books about finance interesting. He's also very witty. Very talented. Look forward to reading more of his work.
Deborah Weir
Hilarious backstories of the recent financial crisis! Everyone can enjoy this - especially people not in finance.
Martha Johnson
Fabulous! Laughed and cried as I listened to it on tape in the car. (Crying was figurative but the laughing was from the belly and out loud.) Lewis does it again -- and he is incorrigible with his bits about various cultures. Icelanders bump into you at will; Italians collectively dodge the collective; Ireland bought their own myth; California is crazy. He spares no one his thoughts and there is powerful argument in every one of them, especially as he connects them to their respective financial...more
Diskor Toomingas
very well written and interesting
Bill Glover
Read this on after The Big Short as a companion piece and it worked very well. It's an examination of what was happening internationally as 'Merica was getting right out of hand with the bond speculation. International markets were reacting to access to easy credit and did interesting but not positive things with it. This is also the other half of what the 'stupid Germans' were up to; the ones that kept buying mezzanine grade mortgage backed bonds until the bitter end.
In almost a post script the...more
Kay
If you are remotely interested in Europe's current financial crisis, you owe it to yourself to read this book. The portraits of the aftermath of the burst housing bubble in Iceland and Ireland are astonishing. I had no idea things were this bad, with acres of high-end office buildings and housing developments now in ruins. As to Greece, after reading this I see no point whatever in rescuing them. How widespread is tax evasion? According to Lewis, most Greek physicians declare their annual income...more
Kahn
If you didn't think the world was a scary place already - read this book.
Having already taken us inside the financial meltdown of the American system in The Big Short (go read if you haven't, ideally before this), Lewis now takes us on a trip around the globe. Or what's left of it.
Starting in Iceland, Lewis - using all his skills as an engaging and yet informative writer - takes us through the various stages of the global financial implosion, drawing parallels between inherent national characte...more
Aaron
One thing I've learned in life, discussing economics is like discussing politics. You shouldn't do it. That being said, this book lays down the history and the facts concerning three European Nations--Iceland, Ireland, and Greece. What do two (Ireland and Iceland) out of the three nations have in common? They both bought into the "deregulation" privatization cult. They both didn't know what they were doing--even though they acted like they did. They both failed miserably--of course blaming it on...more
Ian Robertson
Bestselling author Michael Lewis delivers again with this series of themed travelogues about the financial crisis and originally published in Vanity Fair. Each of the articles stands well on its own, but in series they manage to bring an additional element, a much broader perspective on the financial crisis and on human nature.

Lewis travels to the major hot-spots: Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany and the US, noting the similarities and the differences in each of their situations, but mostly let...more
Allison
This is a fabulous book. For someone who thought the financial crisis was caused mostly because of the housing/mortgage crash, this was an eye opening read to some of the other issues at play in the US and around the world. Lewis dedicates each chapter to a different country (I think 5 in total) and how they got into their financial mess of the 21st century. He is a amazing writer! Who knew I wouldn't be able to put down a book about global finance!

After reading this book, I truly believe it wil...more
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Books Quotes: Boomerang 1 7 Sep 02, 2013 12:32AM  
Isnt there a paperback version? 6 47 Jan 06, 2013 09:02AM  
  • All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis
  • Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon
  • The End of Wall Street
  • Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis
  • 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown
  • The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History
  • More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite
  • The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It
  • Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy
  • Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System from Crisis — and Themselves
  • Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World
  • Den of Thieves
  • In FED We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic
  • Fool's Gold
  • This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly
  • I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay
  • Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy
  • The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008
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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.

His latest book, Flash Boys, was published on March 31, 2014.
More about Michael Lewis...
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game Liar's Poker Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

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“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
“Everywhere you turn you see Americans sacrifice their long-term interests for a short-term reward.” 9 likes
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