The Big Short / Boomerang

Recently read a few books by Michael Lewis; first, “The Big Short” and then “Boomerang”.  Enjoyed them both, with “Boomerang” being lighter fare than “TBS”.  TBS chronicles the development of the mid-2000s bubble and the investors who recognized it and bet against it; B’rang follows Lewis around the world to look at what else had been happening in Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany, and then back to the US.

TBS, of course, is gobsmacking, even if you thought you already knew the details.  It is summed up best in the example of the Mexican farm labourer in the southwestern US making $14,000 a year getting a $750,000 mortgage.

But B’rang was interesting as well.  The crazinesses of Icelandic bankers, the Greek government, Irish bankers (and, later, the Irish government), and, yes, even the German bankers.  Lewis brings out the interesting and humourous point that, while the Germans behaved properly through all this, German bankers had no problem lending money to people elsewhere to engage in activities that most of them would not engage in domestically (excluding the “Dusseldorf” bankers, etc.).

An interesting review of the latter book in Guernica Magazine, featuring Salman Rushdie’s idea about morality: “the basic idea of all morality: that individuals are responsible for their actions.”


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