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.
“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.