Summary

The cheap credit available from 2002 to 2008 radically transformed societies worldwide, with Icelanders tossing aside their fishing gear to become bankers, for instance. Then the crunch came, and many of these societies are stumbling about as part of the "new Third World." As a greedy debtor nation, we're not so far behind. Lewis's books are always excellent and always best sellers, so this should be at the top of your list.


The tsunami of cheap credit that rolled across the planet between 2002 and 2008 was more than a simple financial phenomenon: it was temptation, offering entire societies the chance to reveal aspects of their characters they could not normally afford to indulge.

Icelanders wanted to stop fishing and become investment bankers. The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a piƱata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack at it. The Germans wanted to be even more German; the Irish wanted to stop being Irish.

Michael Lewis's investigation of bubbles beyond our shores is so brilliantly, sadly hilarious that it leads the American reader to a comfortable complacency: oh, those foolish foreigners. But when he turns a merciless eye on California and Washington, DC, we see that the narrative is a trap baited with humor, and we understand the reckoning that awaits the greatest and greediest of debtor nations.