Boomerang: Travels in the new third world by Michael LewisPosted: January 29, 2012
Mike Lewis’s last book isn’t one at all. In fact, it is a collection of five standalone articles published between 2009 and 2011 in the Vanity Fair magazine, disguised as a book and given a new introductory chapter.
Five stories of people that Lewis wants to show as stupid and/or crooked – Icelandic fisherman i-bankers, corrupt Greek public servicemen, Irish real estate developers and politicians who got far too excited to think clearly, anal rule-abiding German-based bond investors, and greedy Californian firefighters – all in one bowl.
A funny read at times – though I guess I should know better than take all Lewis claims for granted – fact of life, the guy loves to exaggerate. The best bits are Iceland and the Greeks, but I will probably steal today’s quote from the German section, huh.
“The Hamburg red-light district had caught Dundes’s eye because the locals made such a big deal of mud wrestling. Naked women fought in a ring of filth while the spectators wore plastic caps, a sort of head condom, to avoid being splattered. “Thus,” wrote Dundes, “the audience can remain clean while enjoying dirt!” Germans longed to be near the shit, but not in it. This, as it turns out, is an excellent description of their role in the current financial crisis.”
PS: BTW that thing, that particular Frankfurt WC, has already been mentioned to me more than once in one quite interesting Russian corporate banking urban legend – did you guess which one? 😉
“The interesting thing, said the German financier, who visited often, is the glass room at the top, from which one looks down over Frankfurt. It is a men’s toilet. Commerzbank executives had taken him there to show him how, in full view of the world below, he could shit on Deutsche Bank.”