Boomerang – Michael Lewis Looks at the New Third World

Michael Lewis packages his stories on the effects of the global financial crisis in Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany, and California into one book: Boomerang. If you had ready the stories when they were published in Vanity Fair, then you’ve ready the book. If you missed some (or all) of those stories then this book is great viewpoint on how five countries got themselves into trouble with excessive debt.

I had already read the first four articles when they appeared in Vanity Fair, but I had not yet gotten to the article on California. In fairness, Boomerang was a given to me as a gift so I did not come out of pocket to put it on my bookshelf. I enjoyed revisiting the four stories and the new California story.

They each seemed to work better in the collection than standing on their own. Since each story is relatively short, they lack the depth and understanding I’m used to getting in one of Michael Lewis’ books. Collectively, there is bit more depth as you can see how the five different countries got into trouble in different ways by becoming over-leveraged.

It’s a Michael Lewis book, so that means it’s easy to read and smart. He has a gift for taking complicated subjects and using individuals to highlight how his theories work in the real world.

My gripe is not with the book, but with Vanity Fair who sponsored Lewis in writing the five stories, each of which has appeared in the magazine. I purchased a subscription to Vanity Fair just because of these Lewis articles. I thought I was choosing to upgrade the freemium model.  I was willing to pay more for the superior experience of reading the article in the magazine instead of online. However, the publisher would put them on the website (for free) before the magazine ended up in my mailbox. One premium of getting access to the content first, was actually the opposite. I was getting the content later than if I had chosen not to pay for it. It’s not like the magazine is ad-free.

So why I would I renew my subscription?

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