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There are absolutely several laugh-out-loud moments in this book. The best part is, without doubt, Michael Lewis's (ML) description of Iceland and its travails as the "investment banking nation". When he describes the difficulties of Alcoa, engaged in opening an Aluminium smelting plant in Iceland, first having to certify that the development site is not inhabited by "the hidden people" (aka Elves) -- it is indescribable. But underlying this is ML's usual depth and curiosity. His description of how Iceland developed its fishing industry into a vast money-making enterprise is succinct and thought-provoking.
It is ML's ability to be acerbic, but not nasty that is really at the core of his talent. The Icelanders acted like amazing idiots, seeing themselves as being somehow amazingly talented and capable, when in fact they were more like eleven year-olds given the keys to Daddy's Cadillac. Yet at the end of his tale-telling, one feels both sympathy for the Icelanders, and a slightly rueful sense that maybe we have all been Icelanders a little bit this past decade.
Then you get to the end of the book, and things take a bit of a nose-dive. ML is quite weak when he comes to ascribing causes to what happened in the GFC. His line throughout the book was that the GFC resulted from people being given a great deal of money that they could spend "with nobody looking". That doesn't ring true to me. And in the final section of the book, where ML takes up theories that the behaviour was triggered by our "lizard brain" and so forth ... well, really. I think there are better analyses than that.
The narrator, Dylan Baker, is quite good, managing to strike an even balance between the underlying humour of the writing, and ML's more serious intent -- to make something truly unbelievable more accessible. It remains just a little too mannered for me, but it seems that perhaps the majority of Audible users like this "storytime" style of delivery, rather than a more simple narration. (If you want to hear good, simple narration, listen to Audible's version of Orwell's "Homage to Catalonia", which remains my favourite Audible book.)
(Note: I'm not British, but I live in a Commonwealth country, and I believe in the protection and preservation of the humble "u". It is very 17th C., I realise, but we could use a bit of the 17th C. today.) [Modern readers can imagine the insertion of one of those bizarre "happy faces" at this point.]
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Boomerang the most enjoyable?
the story and the way put together by the author. They guy has visited the places he writes about it and has talked to the players. the way it is written is funny (although the topic isn't.... at all).
Who was your favorite character and why?
The Dallas hedge fund manager. It saw that the global financial system was rotten and had the balls to bet against it
What about Dylan Baker’s performance did you like?
Good "coloured" narration as opposed to flat text reading. .
Michael Lewis goes on a post Financial Crisis tour of Iceland, Greece, Germany and California. He meets interesting people who did dubious things between 2002 and 2007, and he gets them all to tell him their amazing stories of stupidity and hubris. Mr Lewis writes entertainingly and with insight, rounding up each episode with his own wry observations that aim to throw light on what really happened in that period, on what happens when different types of people or societies are offered as much money as they want to borrow (essentially). It is all a bit worrying, as with interest rates still as low as ever, I'm pretty sure this whole debt show is still rambling on. Enough to keep the wonderful Mr Lewis usefully employed for the rest of his life.
Narration. Perfect, slightly excitable at times, but fitting to the content, and no silly accents for the foreign people.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Plenty of good stories & interesting characters. But let down by lazy analysis resting on cultural stereotypes which gets a bit tiresome after a while. Reads like a series of articles rather than a coherent narrative.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
super interesting loved it. couldn't put it down, love the economic/cultural examples Michael Lewis selects to illustrate the macroeconomic consequences of cheap financing available in the 2000s.