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Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  42,846 ratings  ·  2,431 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
Paperback, 218 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by W. W. Norton Company (first published October 3rd 2011)
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Will Byrnes
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
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 chunk of the 21st century. What would ...more
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
European Economies Collapse Under Collective Weight of Icelandic Elves, German Scheiße, Self-Hating Greeks, Suspicious Irish
Enlightening (and Entertaining) Background from 2012 on Topics underlying Brexit and Francofuir

Lolleepðpp Guild, Controlling Significant Portion of Iceland's Economy

I've been entertained and enlightened by every Michael Lewis book I've read, including Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, which explores Major League Baseball's use of quantum mathematics, The Blind S
Nov 01, 2011 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
Oct 23, 2011 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
Brian Yahn
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 26, 2011 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
Nov 17, 2011 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 27, 2011 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. ...more
Mark Rice
Nov 29, 2011 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
Scott Rhee
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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

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.

Dec 02, 2011 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
Christine Zibas
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Greg Bates
Jan 16, 2012 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
Oct 05, 2011 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.
Lance Charnes
The collective fit of economic insanity otherwise known as the Crash of 2008 (or the Great Recession, if for some reason you're being polite) has spawned an entire shelf of pop analysis at Barnes & Noble. None of those books captured the imagination the way Michael Lewis' The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine did when it thumped onto the loading dock. It's likely to be the only economic history book ever to spawn a big-studio film full of A-list talent (Christian Bale! Ryan Gosling! Bra ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Greek monks, Icelandic fishermen/investment bankers, Irish realtors, California governors
Economics books can be depressing, especially the more you learn about how the world's markets move. I read Michael Lewis's The Big Short a few years ago. In that book, he covered the subprime mortgage market that lead to the 2007 housing bubble collapse, and the most shocking takeaway there was not that people were greedy and short-sighted, but that all the "experts," the brokers, the realtors, the bankers, the Federal Reserve officials, the "Big Money Men" - didn't actually have a clue! You or ...more
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
Feb 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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:

After you've read this read The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, also by Michael Lewis. That is probably
Jul 18, 2021 rated it liked it
This book splits itself into economic reporting and national and ethnic profiling. If you have a foreign country, Michael Lewis can write up a stereotype of the people faster than you can whistle Dixie, or Deutschland Uber Alles. Iceland is filled with fishermen masquerading as bankers, Greece is a land of tax-cheating lazy asses, the Irish are just stupid, and Germans should all just kill themselves because of their shared national shame of what happened 65 years earlier. Any questions? Send th ...more
May 06, 2012 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
Mal Warwick
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Dec 15, 2011 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
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
Wow, this is some crazy shit. It's amazing and depressing how a handful of people can pretty much ruin a country with their shitty decisions. Not gonna lie, it made me glad that I was not living in Iceland, Ireland, or Greece. Despite USA's problems, hey at least our economy is more stable... at least for the time being. Real eye-opening. ...more
Haider Hussain
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Greed v. 2.0, but more powerful and a lot more punitive. The ripples created by banks and financial institutions were sure to become mammoth waves; institutional meltdown paving way for national meltdown.

I won’t attempt to write a review, others did it way better. I just write two things:

First, a Michael Lewis quote, which makes me look at leverage like never before…

“When you borrow a lot of money to create a false prosperity, you import the future into the present. It isn’t the actual
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
"The secret of success is to understand the point of others." - Henry Ford ...more
Amazing. So good - I wish King Michael Lewis would publish his (private) notes (in a separate book, or an 'Author's Cut' - or even better a 5 hour documentary on all his books), I can only imagine the yarns that were left on the editor's cutting room floor. Such a ripper read. Can't recommend enough. ...more
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction
One of Michael Lewis' more superficial books; it has the same easy-to-read writing style that explains financial concepts to the uninitiated, but this book doesn't really have the feisty personalities to focus the story on that Liar's Poker or The Big Short benefitted from. ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Oct 03, 2011 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
Sam Quixote
Jan 08, 2012 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
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Goodreads Librari...: ASIN: B005CRQ2OE (Boomerang) 2 13 Jul 04, 2018 12:29AM  
Have you barely dented your want-to-read list? 1 9 Aug 10, 2016 02:07PM  
Books Quotes: Boomerang 1 8 Sep 02, 2013 12:32AM  
Isnt there a paperback version? 6 50 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.

Articles featuring this book

Where is your money? The nonfiction wizard who gave us Moneyball and The Big Short examines the terrifying state of the world's economy in his new...
21 likes · 2 comments
“Everywhere you turn you see Americans sacrifice their long-term interests for a short-term reward.” 13 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.” 12 likes
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