Michael Lewis launched his career by exposing the culture of excess at Salomon Brothers in “Liar's Poker.” Now, in the promotion of his new book, “Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World,” Lewis is keen to expose the flaws countries, people, and, of course, Wall Street.
Greece will default on its debts, and Ireland could too, Lewis told Reuters Tuesday. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be forced out.
“Boomerang,” a collection of articles Lewis wrote about his adventures in Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany, and even California, is likely to be more of the same smart-alecky and wonderfully readable commentary.
Below, a taste of “Boomerang,” from Lewis’ words in book interviews:
— “Greece is defaulting, right? They are restructuring. Whatever you want to call it, Greece is defaulting... The only question is how.”
— “I don't think Merkel is going to survive in Germany and I don't think Papandreou is going to survive in Greece -- they have so alienated their populations”
— “The Irish just have a greater talent for suffering. If you imposed on the Greeks what the Irish have imposed on the Irish population, people would be getting shot.”
— “The common theme between public employee unions, say, and Wall Street bankers is an excessive focus on the short term and a weird blindness about the long term... It’s unsustainable behavior, parasites everywhere killing their hosts.”
— “Nobody’s running the world, that’s the scary thing. There’s been a massive decline in authority, and in moments of crisis it’s very unnerving to realize no one’s in charge.”
— “The women [of Iceland] said, ‘You don't know what you're doing’ [by electing a lesbian head of state]. They've had this realization of how dangerous men are with money.”
Cut through all the tough talk, and a reader will find Lewis is really just saying one thing: The financial crisis has created a new “third world,” and it won’t be easy to go back.