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Boomerang [Hardcover]

Michael Lewis
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 30.00
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Book Description

Oct. 4 2011
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 pinata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack at it. The Germans wanted to be even more German; the Irish wanted to stop being Irish. Michael Lewis's investigation of bubbles beyond our shores is so brilliantly, sadly hilarious that it leads the American reader to a comfortable complacency: oh, those foolish foreigners. But when he turns a merciless eye on California and Washington, DC, we see that the narrative is a trap baited with humor, and we understand the reckoning that awaits the greatest and greediest of debtor nations.

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Boomerang + Flash Boys + The Big Short
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Product Description


Michael Lewis possesses the rare storyteller s ability to make virtually any subject both lucid and compelling. In his new book, Boomerang, he actually makes topics like European sovereign debt, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank not only comprehensible but also fascinating The book could not be more timely given the worries about Europe s deepening debt crisis and the recent warning issued by Christine Lagarde, managing director of the I.M.F., that 'the current economic situation is entering a dangerous phase.' Combining his easy familiarity with finance and the talents of a travel writer, Mr. Lewis sets off in these pages to give the reader a guided tour through some of the disparate places hard hit by the fiscal tsunami of 2008, like Greece, Iceland and Ireland, tracing how very different people for very different reasons gorged on the cheap credit available in the prelude to that disaster. The book based on articles Mr. Lewis wrote for Vanity Fair magazine is a companion piece of sorts to The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, his bestselling 2010 book about the fiscal crisis. Like that earlier book its focus is narrow. It doesn t aspire to provide a broad overview of the debt crisis but instead hands the reader a small but sparkling prism by which to view the problem, this time from a global perspective. At times Mr. Lewis can sound a lot like Evelyn Waugh: shrewd, observant and savagely judgmental, dispensing crude generalizations about other countries, even as he pokes fun at himself as a disaster tourist. Mr. Lewis s ability to find people who can see what is obvious to others only in retrospect or who somehow embody something larger going on in the financial world is uncanny. And in this book he weaves their stories into a sharp-edged narrative that leaves readers with a visceral understanding of the fiscal recklessness that lies behind today s headlines about Europe s growing debt problems and the risk of contagion they now pose to the world. "

About the Author

Michael Lewis, the author of Liar’s Poker, The New New Thing, Moneyball, The Blind Side, Panic, Home Game and The Big Short, among other works, lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Tabitha Soren, and their three children.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Story Regarding Financial Madness Sept. 30 2011
By Patrick Sullivan TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lewis decides to become a financial disaster tourist, and travels to various bankrupt European countries. He wants to find out at the ground level, what happened in; Iceland, Greece, and Ireland. Well Lewis collects the data he was looking for, and spins out quite the story.

In a nutshell these countries get a hold of cheap foreign credit, and go into a wild financial mania. They also abandon all previous forms of prudent economic management. The details regarding the Greek economy, are beyond anything I have ever heard before. In fact, the Greek situation makes the former Tulip Mania and Dot Com Bubble, seem rather tame and orderly. The Greek debt problems have still not been fully resolved, so this makes the details all the more engaging.

This is a small book, but the message delivers a big impact. The reader will be left with, a much better understanding of the current global financial dilemma. This book was hard to put down, and a very good read. Both general and financially interested readers, will be entertained and astonished.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boomerang returns dividends on time invested Nov. 13 2011
By Ian Robertson TOP 100 REVIEWER
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 letting the individual characters who populate his essays tell the stories. Descriptions of people are rich, humorous, playful and cutting, but never mean spirited - the kind of descriptions your friends might use at your roast. Descriptions of countries' national characters and of specific places are equally pithy; 'it's the sort of place bankers stay because they think it's where the artists stay.'

As expected, bank leadership, politicians and regulators fare poorly in Lewis' crosshairs, and although they play small walk-on parts, investment banks such as Merrill Lynch come across as morally bankrupt and duplicitous, far worse than their aforementioned dimwitted but greedy co-conspirators. Lewis is finance literature's equivalent of television's Jon Stewart, calling all out on their motives, their revisionist explanations, and their mistakes. Ultimately, though, Lewis settles on the root cause - it's us; it's human nature and short term thinking. One of his interviewees sums it up best when he says about the virtual bankruptcy of his city, 'I think we've suffered from a series of mass delusions.'

As much as Charles Kindleberger's excellent book
... Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Boomerang is a good sequel to The Big Short which covered the mortgage default debacle very well. We were left wondering as things continued and we never made it out of the depression. Boomerang explains what happened in Iceland, then Ireland, and now in Greece. He also explains how American consultants, the very same who were responsible for engineering mortgage default swaps were paid big bucks to 'advise' Ireland and Greece. Iceland did it on their own. He also explains why Germany is the way it is. It ends with examples from USA. Fasten your seat belts. It is not over! He tells us why things can't remain as they are or were. An excellent read. So timely as we watch the government of Greece tripping over themselves to build a trogen horse in an effort to get $$$ from Germany. The book is quick and easy to read. Michael is someone who can explain this in simple terms because he knows the subject well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Not Over Yet! Jan. 21 2012
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Once again, Lewis has outdone himself when it comes to reporting on and analysing the internal workings of the global money markets. From the author of "The Big Short" and "Liar's Poker" we now have "Boomerang". This juicy little collection of satirical essays reflects on the geopolitical fallout from the market meltdown of 2008. Lewis, in his own unique fashion, sifts through the many wreckages of financial incompetence and malfeasance in search of answers as to why such a catastrophic event of three years ago is not going away any time soon. So much for assuming that our global banking systems will protect us from any long-term endangerment caused by financial mismanagement, if the present state of the economies of Iceland, Ireland, Greece and Germany are anything to go by. Looking at these four countries as major examples of how deep this financial crisis has gone long after the first rumblings of the subprime mortgage debacle, Lewis sees a recurring problem. The central banks of this world are almost powerless to continue financing the incredible debt loads that have piled up from the unbelievable deregulated borrowing and spending binge of the past decade. A tour of the industrial landscape of the first three countries shows economies that are permanently disabled because their GDP is too weak to even cover the interest charges on their indebtedness. Permanent bail-out plans now have to be implemented just to contain the problem. Supposedly bona fide banks like the Allied Irish and several big Icelandic ones have collapsed and with them people's savings; thousands of housing projects still remain empty; currencies continue to devalue; and more Eurozone countries threaten to default on their debts. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Reading
One of the most interesting books of this type that I have read. The mind boggles at the greed, arrogance and stupidity of those who are supposedly leading the financial community... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Edmund Burke
5.0 out of 5 stars no one could have done this better...
Michael Lewis has a voice and a critical intellect that shines through murky worlds where people want things kept obscure. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Richard Schwindt
4.0 out of 5 stars Stories behind the financial meltdown
Lewis, a good story teller, gives the reader a background of many of the causes of the financial meltdown, including some of the cultural reasons.
Published 16 months ago by Wayne Crookes
5.0 out of 5 stars We are all Greek
It's a little scary to know our delicate world economy depends on human judgement and moral authority, or lack of it. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Gordon D Lamont
5.0 out of 5 stars It wasn't just the Americans!
I have read several of Michael's books and this is one of his best. Michael points out how many nations monetary systems all started to come apart at the same time, just in... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Warren
3.0 out of 5 stars An American Point of View
Lewis demonstrates with great panache that one book can be funny, brilliant and dead wrong, all at the same time. In Lewis's case, this is aggravating. Read more
Published on Nov. 3 2012 by Nordmann
3.0 out of 5 stars California
There was no need for Michael Lewis to go to Europe to understand what was going on during the latest financial crisis. Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2012 by A. Castonguay
2.0 out of 5 stars Quite disappointing
I am a big Michael Lewis fan but must say Boomerang was quite a disappointing read. I did not find anything insightful in this book, nothing new, it was more compilation of casual... Read more
Published on May 8 2012 by dean_867
4.0 out of 5 stars Tongue-in-Cheek Humor about Global Responses to Being Awash in Cheap...
"And you shall give the money, with which the excess number of them is redeemed, to Aaron and his sons. Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2012 by Donald Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars Staggering.
This is a slim book.

And it's certainly not an 'academic tome'.

It is anecdotal. Read more
Published on Dec 31 2011 by Schmadrian
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