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Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  35,620 Ratings  ·  2,098 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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Hardcover, 213 pages
Published October 3rd 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Will Byrnes
Oct 12, 2011 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
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Perry
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Scott
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010s, money
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
Feb 12, 2016 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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Marsha
Oct 23, 2011 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 tal ...more
Nick
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
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Mark Rice
Nov 29, 2011 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 a ...more
Bettie☯


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.

Tak
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Mark
Dec 02, 2011 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 in ...more
Joe
Oct 26, 2011 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
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Cheryl
Oct 05, 2011 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.
Brent
Oct 27, 2011 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.
Christine Zibas
Feb 07, 2016 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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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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Greg Bates
Jan 16, 2012 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
Trish
Mar 02, 2012 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
...more
David
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
Tim
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
...more
Melissa
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of articles written for Vanity Fair about the sovereign debt crisis that happened in the aftermath of the global recession in 2008. I didn't know about this book until I was perusing my library's non-fiction shelves and saw Lewis' name on another economic book. I had to read it, and so glad I did. The reader is taken to Iceland, Ireland, Germany, Greece, and finally Southern California (one of the biggest areas of the mortgage meltdown that triggered the recession). I l ...more
David
Feb 05, 2012 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
Darwin8u
Feb 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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: 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
Aaron
May 06, 2012 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 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
...more
Mal Warwick
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Karla
Oct 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, ebook
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
Jillwilson
Sep 26, 2012 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 pathw ...more
Doug
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, business
Michael Lewis is a great storyteller, and the books I like the best are when he connects the story to a bigger picture. In this book he comes up a marvelous metaphor to explain the root cause of the financial crisis: alone, in a dark room with a big pile of money and easy credit, how did different countries react when it seemed they could grab the cash and get away with it? The results range from the naïve Icelanders, who turned their entire country into a giant hedge fund…

(interviewing an Ice
...more
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
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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Joe
Jan 19, 2012 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
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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 6 Aug 10, 2016 02:07PM  
Books Quotes: Boomerang 1 7 Sep 02, 2013 12:32AM  
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.” 12 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
More quotes…