Michael Lewis’ “Boomerang”: Not a Review, Just Some Thoughts

Lewis,once again, does a great job on explaining the financial crisis of 2008. In “Boomerang” he does something different (at least different from his other two books I’ve read- “Liar’s Poker” and “The Big Short”). He explores the crisis of other, very unique countries.

Now, if you’re like me, you assumed that the crisis might have happened or came about in a similar way and of similar attitudes as the American Culture. Like, I thought it happened because people became greedy, self-absorbed,  blind, and naive all for money and they idea that it results in happiness and his a measure of success.

This is not the case from some of the countries that were heavily impacted by the sub-prime crisis. The only way I can describe this is that Lewis narrates people who act like their country and country that act like their people. It is the culture that is within the country, that brought about major financial disaster.

For example, and I won’t give too much a way, Iceland lost big time primarily because they simply were not a people of bankers (despite how much they thought themselves to be). They did not belong, and therefore, from the start were destined to fail.

All the countries that he explores fail for their own cultural behavior.

At the end of the day, his overall point is that if we want make a better the economy of the nation we live in, we need to focus of the the culture that masks it.

I so strongly agree with this point. Certain cities a California have filde for bankruptcy or on the verge of doing so. So people of those cities still refuse to increase taxes. Lewis points out that some places were given the opportunity to BEFORE things started to get bad, but at a time when they were projected to hit that particularly city bad soon, people still wanted to spend way beyond their means.

I think people are so stuck in their ways that they are still in denial about the amount of debt that we are in. Because there are government bailouts (And, I do think they were necessary) they permit people to think that even while at the edge of the cliff, even as they job, there will be some how this magical bungee rope that will save them from that fall… I think I will expand on this idea further in a different post.

Overall, great and easy read. He does an amazing job of taking us into the mindest of of other cultures while maintaining the simplicity in which he explains the complex financial meltdowns (although if you’ve read his other books, even the financial part is easy because it is more or less the same).

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