Icelandic Elves, Greek Monks and Greedy Americans are just some of the fruitful characters that you will encounters in Michael Lewis' newest financial escapade. In this latest work, Lewis pieces together a number of encounters that he made whilst researching for the Big Short, that have become increasingly pertinent as the pressure on sovereign debt continues to grow. The book tells the tale of Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany and the US, and - as always - introduces you to a number of the key participants that are being held responsible to todays atrophies in the debt markets.
The book itself feels a little disjointed due to the manner in which it was constructed. Whereas in the Big Short Lewis constructed a careful timeline to represent the actions of his chosen subjects, Boomerang feels more like a collection of unrelated encounters with individuals from debt ridiculed nations. That being said, the manner in which the prose is constructed and the tale is told is second to none - as we have become accustomed to in his works.
Moreover, a couple of the quotes should go down in history. To name a select two:
"When you borrow a lot of money to create a false prosperity, you import the future into the present. It isn't the actual future so much as some grotesque silicon version of it. Leverage buys you a glimpse of the prosperity that you haven't really earned"
"Across Europe just now men who thought their title was "Minister of Finance" have woken up to the idea that their job is actually government bond salesman"
In summary, the book is worth reading if you want a light hearted account of a very depressing set of facts regarding the ongoing debt crisis. What Lewis does present particularly well, is the subjective side of the sovereign debt crisis; in this we mean, the thoughts of those who are affected by and at the centre of the events that are unfolding today. However, for those wanting to learn the nitty gritty details, this is not the book for you but it may provide a credible place to start.
Lewis, a world class story teller, leapt to fame following the publication of Liars Poker in 2006. A book that described his accent through the financial ranks during his younger years, fully describing the excesses and debauchery that exist within the financial sector. We highly recommend that individuals who are new to finance read his works as they do provide an entertaining but factually relevant account of financial journalism.
For those yet to read a book on the credit crunch, start with The Big Short where Lewis introduces to some of the must unlikely characters who successfully bet against the housing bubble; telling their story with both humour and humility.