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Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  29,982 Ratings  ·  1,811 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
Hardcover, 213 pages
Published October 3rd 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Will Byrnes
Jul 27, 2013 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it
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
Sep 05, 2013 Scott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Jan 17, 2012 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
Oct 23, 2011 Marsha rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Mark Rice
Nov 29, 2011 Mark Rice rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jan 25, 2012 Mark rated it liked it
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 ...more

At 48mins 31secs - ye geezer states that Iceland will drop the kroner in favour of the Euro - wrong - Iceland is not in the EU. It works through Norway and both have trade agreements with the EU. Neither are full members.

Iceland now wants to be ((candidate list)no financial surprise) and Norway strongly doesn't want to be. The peoples of Sweden want out but the govt is not keen on the penalty clauses.

There have been meetings to consider a nordic block.

This man is not the definitive - nosiree.

Sep 11, 2012 Brent rated it it was ok
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.
Oct 26, 2011 Joe rated it it was ok
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
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
Oct 08, 2011 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 02, 2012 Trish rated it it was amazing
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
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
Greg Bates
Mar 18, 2012 Greg Bates rated it it was ok
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
Feb 05, 2012 David rated it really liked it
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
May 06, 2012 Aaron rated it it was ok
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
Mary Ronan Drew
Oct 03, 2011 Mary Ronan Drew rated it it was amazing
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
Mal Warwick
Oct 11, 2011 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it
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
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
Oct 09, 2011 Karla rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Sep 26, 2012 Jillwilson rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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
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
Jan 19, 2012 Joe rated it liked it
Boomerang is a surprisingly entertaining book about the recent economic collapse(s). Author Michael Lewis undertakes what he calls something like a "financial disaster vacation" and visits, in turn, Iceland, Greece, Germany, and ultimately, California. In each locale, he writes about the causes and results of their particular version of economic problems while bitingly satirizing their cultures. The book is pretty enlightening and definitely amusing.
Lewis is fascinated by the human capacity for
Dec 03, 2016 Robin rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics, nonfiction
Notes upon re-reading this in 2016:

Still relevant. Still alarming. What a year this has turned out to be. I hope Michael Lewis is already writing about 2016 in America, Britain, and the still-tumultuous EU.

Original review in 2013:

I read this earlier this year, but once I put it down I almost didn't have the heart to review it -- I needed some distance.

In brief, Michael Lewis is a heartbreakingly good writer. His name on a cover = I want to read it, even it if is about sports. EVEN IF ABOUT SPOR
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 ...more
Dave Lefevre
Sep 30, 2011 Dave Lefevre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: political
Just a note... I got an early copy of this. I pre-ordered and it came to my Kindle early. I have no idea why... it just happened.

This is a good little short book that goes into how the current financial crisis has gone around the world. It's a collection of stories about the credit bubble madness, going from Iceland, where fishermen suddenly decided they could become hedge fund managers, to Greece, a society where the tax collectors are pulled off the streets completely during an election year a
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
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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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  • Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance
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  • More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite
  • The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash
  • The Benefit and The Burden: Tax Reform-Why We Need It and What It Will Take
  • The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It
  • Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
  • No one would listen
  • 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown
  • Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis
  • Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
  • Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President
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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