Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds

I can’t begin to do justice to Michael Lewis’ new story in Vanity Fair, Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds, and I won’t try.  But when I should have been prepping for BA class tonight, I found I could not put it down.

But:  Here’s a thought that probably would not have occurred to most readers – particularly on the East Coast and in finance.  Read the part about Father Ephraim and Father Arsenios and how they built their real estate empire to the end of recreating the Byzantine glory of their monasteries.  Including things like discovering 14th century land titles and enforcing them against the government.  Including guilt-tripping the Spanish government into paying a quarter a million dollars or so as, in essence, reparations for depredations caused by Catalan mercenaries … centuries and centuries before.  And so on.

Then go get that wonderful, gentle book about the scandals of the San Francisco Zen Center, in the glory days of the Tassajara bread bakery and Greens haute cuisine vegetarian restaurant and all the business enterprises that the Zen monks created, but also the pressures upon the Zen center leadership in pursuit of their religious dream – a special kind of walking zazen –  and what finally broke the business and spiritual model, in a scandal business, personal, and spiritual.  Shoes Outside the Door, by Michael Downing.  (Oddly, it’s a comparison that Lewis, who resides in Berkeley, might appreciate.)