'A highly enjoyable exercise in financial disaster tourism... politically incorrect, often very funny, and shot through with genuine insight' Robert Harris, The Times
In this hilarious, fascinating, timely must-read, Michael Lewis reveals the true natures of the countries caught up in - and exacerbating - our boomerang economies, showing how the financial meltdown hit us all in the face. Right now, Europe is in serious financial chaos. In Greece, infrastructure costs mean it would be cheaper to transport all Greek rail passengers by taxi, and hairdressing is classified as arduous for tax avoidance purposes. In Iceland, Range Rovers frequently explode as owners collect the insurance to pay for them. Ireland saw the entire country put up for sale - to itself, while the Germans expected the whole world to behave like them. But the whole world didn't.
'Chock-full of extraordinary characters, amusing anecdotes and shocking insights' Observer
'A tour de force... All those questions you've half-asked yourself: nowhere else will you find them answered with such incisive wit or terrifying clarity' Mail on Sunday
Essentially an offbeat travelogue, Lewis's latest examines the recent global financial crisis by visiting the locales that have faltered beyond reasonable expectation. Though journalistic, there is a distinctly anthropological approach to vivid depictions of how particular cultural values contributed to such a bizarre, devastating series of events. In his dynamic narrative, Lewis simplifies complex financial systems without condescension, applies a degree of rationality to absurd decisions, and presents key individuals' profiles without denigration. Dark, deadpan humor is injected throughout: Iceland as a nation of fishermen-cum-hedge fund managers with "no idea what they were doing ; Greece's "fantastic mess of scandalous monasteries, tax-evasion and top-down corruption; Ireland's busted banks and stratospheric losses debilitating a now "distinctly third world country. Germany is singled-out for its "preternatural love of rules and naivet regarding the so-called "riskless asset while California tops the list of "America's scariest financial places following their ratings downgrade and piling debts. Easily devoured in one sitting, Lewis (Moneyball) manages to gracefully explain what happened with a unique regard for both the strengths and weaknesses of humankind.