• Boomerang

  • Travels in the New Third World
  • By: Michael Lewis
  • Narrated by: Dylan Baker
  • Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (4,007 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Big Short, Liar’s Poker and The Blind Side!

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.

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.

The trademark of Michael Lewis’s best sellers is to tell an important and complex story through characters so outsized and outrageously weird that you’d think they have to be invented. (You’d be wrong.) In Boomerang, we meet a brilliant monk who has figured out how to game Greek capitalism to save his failing monastery; a cod fisherman who, with three days’ training, becomes a currency trader for an Icelandic bank; and an Irish real estate developer so outraged by the collapse of his business that he drives across the country to attack the Irish Parliament with his earth-moving equipment.

Lewis’s investigation of bubbles beyond our shores is so brilliantly, sadly hilarious that it leads the American listener to a comfortable complacency: Oh, those foolish foreigners. But when Lewis 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.

©2011 Michael Lewis (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

“No one writes with more narrative panache about money and finance than Lewis.” (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)

What listeners say about Boomerang

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

If you only listen to one Michael Lewis book...

make it The Big Short, not this one. I love Lewis, but I'm giving this 3 stars. If it were someone else, I'd probably give it 4, but this just felt not up to Lewis' standards. When I finished TBS, I was talking about it for days, and by the time I'd convinced my friends to read it, they were complaining that I'd already told them a lot of the best stories because I just couldn't resist. This book was enjoyable, but it just didn't capture my excitement the way other Michael Lewis books have. Uncharacteristically, there were parts that just felt like filler. The story of the Greek monks comes to mind.

My biggest straight complaint is that Lewis really pushes the position that public workers unions are responsible for state and local governments' budget challenges, but he doesn't give much evidence that this is the case. To be sure, he may be right, but all he gives are anecdotes, like California paying a prison psychologist $800,000 a year. Yes, states and cities are in financial trouble, and yes, public workers and pensions are their biggest expense. But it takes more to say that it's the unions' fault. I'm personally disinclined to believe that it's unions' fault, but I respect Lewis, and I was willing to hear him out, he just didn't present much solid evidence. Maybe the story in the US is more technical and involved, or maybe my standards are higher because I'm more connected to it, but I felt like the sections on Greece and Ireland were much more convincing. At the same time, those stories are also pretty well hashed out by this point. The section on Germany was more original, but I'm hard pressed to say exactly what its conclusion was, except that Germans like poop.

So yeah, it's a good listen, but not a must listen, and definitely listen to The Big Short first. If you're a Michael Lewis fan, prepare to be disappointed.

19 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Collection of Essays After the Crash

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/listening to them now again in audiobook 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 to read The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, also by Michael Lewis. That is probably the most important financial book written in twenty years.

17 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Informative and Interesting but Shallow

I learned a lot listening to this book, but everything I learned felt grossly simplified. Lewis has latched onto these defining aspects of national character as his framework for the book, and I think he very often overplays them. The generalizations and pop-psych cultural studies sometimes fly a little thick and obscure the more interesting points, which I found distracting. But overall, it's worth a listen.

15 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

An easy intro to the global financial crisis

I’ve always found the financial crisis difficult to understand, particularly when it comes to the global level. But Michael Lewis makes it entertaining and easy-to-understand through his firsthand account of the larger-than-life characters from five nations: Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany, and (last but not least) the US.

The story of Iceland was especially fascinating – I remember a business acquaintance there who had to fly with thousands in cash shortly after the 2008 meltdown. Lewis not only explains the cause behind the collapse, but also the reasons for the rise of cheap credit in a nation that once made its fortune in fishing.

Dylan Baker’s conversational tone makes it feel like Lewis is talking right to you, and he gets the occasional notes of sarcasm just right too. I’ll definitely be listening to more from him, and Lewis.

14 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

we may not be the most stupid kids on the planet

Michael Lewis takes us on a cool road trip.....visiting selected economic disaster areas. Beginning in Iceland and ending in California, his analysis of each of these self-inflicted financial wounds is factual, with a nice sprinkling of sarcasm and humor.

12 people found this helpful

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I'm Recommending Boomerang to Everyone

I'll read just about anything from Michael Lewis and have been a fan since Liar's Poker. In this book, Lewis is informative as ever, but throws in much more humor. Maybe he abuses a few stereotypes but the result is so damn funny that I'll let it go.

Dylan Baker, new to me, is the perfect narrator for this tale. He adds the right touch of sarcasm that fits perfectly with the story. I'll look to him to introduce me to some new authors.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

More ranting than actual facts and analysis

If you are going to read any book by Lewus, make sure this ISN'T IT.

The over simplistic criticism of cultures described with usual male bashing gets old fast. I found his satirical description of some people ironic, as they were the same people who cooperated with him and provided him material for this book.

Lewis does share some interesting facts and provides useful analysis about the financial collapses. But I would consider this book more of a rant than anything else.

6 people found this helpful

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Good but not Great

I'm an avid reader of books on economics, such as the masterpieces by Paul Krugman, and I eagerly picked up Boomerrang because it's a topic I care about and I loved reading his famous "Moneyball". I was highly entertained and educated by this book, but I still feel it lacks something.

Let's start with the positve, though. We watch our author travel to Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany and California. He examines how the glut of free credit that circled the world in the early 2000s was accepted and used and how those accesses turned into ruin. Each country exhibits a quirky and fascinating quality of him and to you, the reader. He does a nice job at examining how the credit was spent and how the system collapsed. By the end we have seen a collage of images.

But he fails to examine the larger Euro-Zone or to fit these pieces together into a meaningful message or educational point. There is no summation, no understanding of how the crises we witnessed are interrelated or what can be done about it or what policies would prevent it in the future. The books deserves to be longer, more thought proking and more in depth. It's not, and so it doesn't quite feel complete. That said, I still enjoyed it and would recommend it.

5 people found this helpful

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Boomerang

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is information that we all need to know.

What did you like best about this story?

This was written in a way that follows the money around the world. He interviews with people who influenced it's course and problems with our world wide economy from Subprime - Iceland - Greece, the entire Euro and even Ireland. Engrossing to say the least!

What does Dylan Baker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He has a stable voice with an edge of humor.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Following the reason Bass is such reliable a source; I was about sick when he interviews the Texas Hedgefunder and quotes his advice to buy hard assests like gold, nickels by the millions and firearms.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good, but not great

Kinda wish he had a better thread(s) connecting all the short stories more cohesively. One thread that seems to permeate throughout the credit crisis worldwide is how humans are too often seduced by short-term gains, sacrificing the long-term good. This was well illustrated in the book.

4 people found this helpful