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Right now, Europe is in serious financial chaos. In Greece, infrastructure costs mean it would be cheaper to transport all Greek rail passengers by taxi, and hairdressing is classified as arduous for tax avoidance purposes. In Iceland, Range Rovers frequently explode as owners collect the insurance to pay for them. Ireland saw the entire country put up for sale - to itself, while the Germans expected the whole world to behave like them. But the whole world didn't. All those questions you've half-asked yourself: Michael Lewis's global bestselling books lift the lid on the biggest stories of our times.
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 , 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. Inside the Doomsday Machine, his bestselling 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: 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 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.
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.
He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children. Product details File Size: September 28, Sold by: English ASIN: Enabled X-Ray: Book Series. Digital Photography. Is this feature helpful? Thank you for your feedback. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Customer images. See all customer images.
Read reviews that mention michael lewis big short vanity fair wall street greece and ireland iceland and greece united states real estate ireland and germany third world well written kyle bass global financial iceland and ireland new third san jose great read arnold schwarzenegger great book must read.
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I wish everyone would read this book. I thought it might be a bit outdated, since it describes events that happened during the financial collapse. Unfortunately, everything in this book applies today as much as it did 8 years ago. This is a bottom-line view of how countries go crazy and throw themselves into bankruptcy, and nobody seems to see it coming.
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I hope enough folks read it to save the USA from the same path. As always, Michael Lewis is a smart, funny guy who somehow makes economics the most entertaining subject on earth. Paperback Verified Purchase. Any review of this book would have to start by pointing out that this book is not a new original work. It is, instead, a compilation of previously published essays that can be found in a variety of periodicals i.
That being said and gotten out of the way, it should also be noted that this book is not an examination of economic factors contributing to the economic bust of in each of the nations discussed. There is no analysis or coverage of economic variables such as debt levels, regulatory environments, mortgage, debt and financial markets, etc.
Something like a travelogue told through stories involving meeting bankers, indebted individuals, Arnold Schwarzenegger and even monks. Five nations are examined in the book.
In Iceland Mr. Lewis found overconfidence in its society to be at fault.
In Greece the problem was that society was unable to govern itself. In Ireland the problem was newly found wealth. Ireland has historically been a poor nation but with so much wealth being made so quickly society just did not know how to deal with. Naturally, as a result, it went on a spending spree.
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Hence its investors got burned when they carried this assumption to the international market. They assumed, for example, that the US bond rating agencies were still following the rules of ethically and effectively rating bonds. The reality turned out to be different and as a result of not being able to think outside the box i. In the US the problem was consumerism run amuck combined with the fact that society wanted things without having to pay for them.
Hence the explosion in private debt and government debt in the latter everyone wanted to keep on and expand spending while simultaneously keeping or lowering tax levels which, eventually, burst. Albeit the stories only examine societal phychology in a pretty simple way, only through the rather narrow lens of relatively short trips he stayed for only a few weeks in each country , the author seems to have hit the nail on the head. Plus each essay is very entertaining.
Hardcover Verified Purchase. I admit to being a fan of Michael Lewis' books, so take that into consideration as you read this review. Lewis earned a masters degree in economics from the London School of Economics and went to work as a bond trader for Salomon Brothers before its scandals. His education and investment experience qualified him to write "Liar's Poker" in , though I have no idea what qualified him to write such an entertaining and lucid description of the Wall Street culture of that time.
All of these books are very easy to read and hard to put down. They tell well-researched, interesting stories. In the case of "The Big Short" it helps to illuminate the origins of the financial crisis that broke starting in He's talking about European countries that drank the elixir of seemingly endless and cheap credit prior to the bursting of the recent financial bubble. To say that cheap credit transformed the economies in Greece, Ireland and Iceland, for example, is to understate the impact of the financial bubble on these countries.
Talk about a timely book--I am writing this during September , and yet this book refers to the recent downgrade of U. As in many of Lewis' books, there's a new person who you probably never heard of before to meet. This time it's Kyle Bass, the manager of a Dallas-based hedge fund, who Lewis makes sound both very insightful and eccentric. What would you call a man who owns a 40, square foot ranch located on thousands of acres in the middle of nowhere with its own water supply and an arsenal of automatic weapons?
Or someone who would recommend "guns and gold" for his mother? Anyway, the gist of Bass' financial analysis is that mountains of shaky debt arising from borrowings during - by people who couldn't repay was essentially transferred from private institutions like banks, etc. Put differently, the public debt of certain countries wasn't just the official public debt, but also that which came from supporting various private institutions. Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," which I recommend , and found even Rogoff to be surprised by the magnitude of the public debt problems.
Just as Bass bought credit default swaps on subprime mortgages prior to the financial crisis, Bass later bought credit default swaps on Greek government bonds, because he was convinced that Greece would be one of the first countries to experience real problems.
Bass expected the swaps he purchased for 1, per year per million to eventually be worth , Bass also had literally bought 20 million U. The majority of this book is devoted to Lewis' travels in Iceland, Greece, Ireland and Germany, and to his discoveries during his travels. To get a flavor for the book and Lewis' writing style, here are some of Lewis' passages, in his own words: Left alone in a dark room with a pile of money, the Irish decided what they really wanted to do was buy Ireland.
From each other. We've got the core of the average lizard. Every pastry chef in America understands this, and now nueroscience does, too. We cannot think down the road when we are faced with the chocolate cake. Everywhere you turn you see Americans sacrifice their long-term interests for a short-term reward.
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