Michael Lewis’s Financial Disaster Tourism

In January I posted on Moneyball, because I had just read the book and watched the movie. I’ve grown to appreciate the writing of Michael Lewis as a result, and over the past few months I have read the series of articles he wrote on the recent financial crisis, mostly in Europe. As is the case with most of his writing, what makes him so interesting to read is that he takes complex economic forces and tells an interesting story about them. The conceit behind these stories is that each country was allowed, between 2002 and 2008, to be left alone in a dark room with a huge pile of money. What they did with it, says Lewis, opens a door onto their national character. He paints with very broad strokes, and can fall into stereotypes as a result, but I still found the articles entertaining.

These articles have been collected into the book Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, but they are also available (for free, as of this writing) on Vanity Fair’s Web site. The articles have different titles than the chapters in the book, so there may have been some editing. And they’re long, so you may have to save them to Instapaper or Read It Later. Here they are:

Iceland: Wall Street on the Tundra
Greece: Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds
Ireland: When Irish Eyes Are Crying
Germany: It’s the Economy, Dummkopf!
California: California and Bust