Friday, July 13, 2012

Boomerang~ Michael Lewis

I actually enjoyed this audiobook A LOT more than I thought I would. It's great at both being enjoyable and understandable by economic idiots (AKA: me) and those who really understand economics (AKA: my father). Lewis is good at getting to the good stuff, and also entertains you with some awesome tangents! Here are just a few things I want to remember:

  1. The Icelandic collapse was due to a "failure to ask for directions." It was mostly men at the "wheel," and none of them questioned why Iceland, a country that has never before succeeded in economic trading/banking, was suddenly a booming industry. He actually says "The less the female presence, the less rational the approach to trading in the markets."
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  3. Greeks are INSANE! They'are "all" cheating on their taxes. I loved how he said that no Greek would ever compliment another Greek behind his back, because they were all sure he was cheating on his taxes or lying about the property he owned, etc. And they were doing the same thing! Also, the tangent about the monastary may have been my favorite. There's a place that no woman has EVER been for 1,000 years?! Crazy!
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  5. The Irish are the complete opposite of the Greeks. I love how he said that when the Irish economy collapsed, EVERYONE chipped in to help and almost no one complained! I cannot imagine American citizens helping to bail out banks without some major griping.
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  7. This is probably my favorite thing in the whole book: the brain core of a human being is remarkably similar to a lizard. We are meant to thrive on scarcity. Therefore, the human brain is definitely not meant to thrive the way the typical American lives. We still have this idea of "get it before it's gone. And it's that which causes us to hoard money, become obese, and run ourselves into the ground. This theorist suggests that there are two solutions to this: either we have to self-regulate (which he's not sure we can do, since we are lizards), or we just have to hit rock bottom and be forced to self-regulate by our environment (or in other words, return to a state of scarcity where our lizard brains can flourish).
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  9. This line was great: "They are saying that their present wants are so important that it is worth some future difficulty. But in making that bargain, they are implying that when that future difficulty arrives, they will figure it out." I'm definitely going to think about this in my financial future, even though I like to think that I already do!
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  11. And I love that the ending line of the book is "As idiotic as optomism can sometimes seem, it has a weird habit of paying off."

Great book! I certainly don't think I'm an economics master now, and I'm not going to take all of Lewis' opinions as fact; but I at least have a jump off point for my own opinions! Which is WAY more than I had before.


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