If you’re like me and you spend countless hours in the car listening to NPR, you are probably aware that all is not right with the Greek economy. Or the Italian economy. Or, it sounds like, the Euro Zone in general. Although I could understand why Sarkozy and Merkel were upset that Papandreou initially planned to put the proposed Greek bailout up for a referendum, I wasn’t clear on how Greece had arrived at the situation it found itself in.
Fortunately, one of my favorite writers, Michael Lewis (author of LIARS’ POKER, THE BIG SHORT, MONEYBALL, and THE BLIND SIDE, among others), has stepped forward with a timely, cogent clarification. In BOOMERANG, he explains how the economies of Iceland, Ireland, and Greece collapsed. It turns out that there were similarities (for instance, lots of financial decisions were made by guys who wouldn’t ask for directions if they were lost) and differences (especially cultural) that contributed to their downfalls. For example, in Ireland, taxpayers are footing the bill for the speculators who were responsible; in Greece, many people simply don’t pay their taxes. And so on.
Although Lewis doesn’t predict how the European crises will ultimately affect the U.S. economy, you can hardly blame him: the news continues to unfold daily, and I’m not sure ANYONE knows how this will all play out.
All I know for sure is that BOOMERANG provides much-needed context for those NPR news reports. And, as my dad remarked when I told him I’d bought the book, Lewis hasn’t written a bad book yet.