Jump to content

The Fifth Risk - Michael Lewis


Liberty
 Share

Recommended Posts

Details are starting to come out about Michael Lewis' next book, coming in October:

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1324002646/

 

What are the consequences if the people given control over our government have no idea how it works?

 

"The election happened," remembers Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, then deputy secretary of the Department of Energy. "And then there was radio silence." Across all departments, similar stories were playing out: Trump appointees were few and far between; those that did show up were shockingly uninformed about the functions of their new workplace. Some even threw away the briefing books that had been prepared for them.

 

Michael Lewis’s brilliant narrative takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its own leaders. In Agriculture the funding of vital programs like food stamps and school lunches is being slashed. The Commerce Department may not have enough staff to conduct the 2020 Census properly. Over at Energy, where international nuclear risk is managed, it’s not clear there will be enough inspectors to track and locate black market uranium before terrorists do.

 

Willful ignorance plays a role in these looming disasters. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gains without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing those costs. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it’s better never to really understand those problems. There is upside to ignorance, and downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview.

 

If there are dangerous fools in this book, there are also heroes, unsung, of course. They are the linchpins of the system―those public servants whose knowledge, dedication, and proactivity keep the machinery running. Michael Lewis finds them, and he asks them what keeps them up at nigh

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm.  Coincidence that the book is being launched in October???

 

It's almost as if timely information was sometimes released in a timely manner to inform the public about timely things.... Almost the reverse of paying people off so that damaging information only comes out after an election...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I started listening to the audiobook of this. Good so far. Pretty short (about 5 hours). At 2x it's very easy to follow and basically just as long as a long podcast. Lewis is one of the best at documenting the people behind the big events, and this is no exception so far.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When you read Micheal Lewis about Trump you have to realize that Lewis is a Trump hater & may also have TDS.  I was surprised at his podcast (https://www.acast.com/yahoofinancesportsbook/michaellewisonsportsin2018) about golf where Lewis' true colors come out (where he talks more about Trump than sports), he has as much hatred as I have seen in a journalist, a real surprise as in most of his books to date have been pretty objective.

 

Packer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Micheal Lewis is a uniquely gifted writer, which does not rule out insufficient objectivity.

When he writes: "It’s what you fail to imagine which kills you", he may suffer from excessive imagination and he may even suffer from what he described in 1996 about Bob Woodward:

https://www.nytimes.com/1996/07/28/books/politics-1996-bill-and-bob-s-excellent-adventure.html

when referring to the commercial bind and the confirmation bias trap, but Mr. Lewis has shown, over time, a very unusual knack to spot and explain human misbehavior. His outsider take adds to the always elusive reality.

After reading his works, I've always come out with the impression that the view may have been seen through a particular prism but never felt being trapped into an ideological quagmire.

Conclusions may vary. That's the idea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm done with the Michael Lewis book. A surprisingly large fraction of it is about the importance and value of data and data science, both to make our society function better and keep people safe. It was a fun, short one. Recommended.

 

Of course, people who haven't read the book immediately come out to try to discredit it because it might conflict with their ideology.

 

It's all interviews with people who are or were there. Lewis almost does no editorializing, and a very small fraction of it is about Trump, btw. If there are things that make Trump look bad in it, it's because he did the things described, not because of some bias.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Finished it sort of, the first 2/3 painted a picture of a poorly done transition, with a number of disgruntled career government types. Made many comparisons to how bad the transition was compared to Obama's, ....yet the government still manages to function. The last 1/3 I skimmed, it had something to do with data science and weather forecasting.  I may have missed it but it seemed like a completely different topic that probably should have had it's own book, I didn't see how it really fit with the narrative of the rest of the book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finished it sort of, the first 2/3 painted a picture of a poorly done transition, with a number of disgruntled career government types. Made many comparisons to how bad the transition was compared to Obama's, ....yet the government still manages to function. The last 1/3 I skimmed, it had something to do with data science and weather forecasting.  I may have missed it but it seemed like a completely different topic that probably should have had it's own book, I didn't see how it really fit with the narrative of the rest of the book.

 

Each chapter is about the important work done by various agencies that most people know little about, and the last 1/3 was about NOAA and weather services. I thought it fit well in the book.

 

"....yet the government still manages to function."

 

Of course, all the people doing the actual work at the bottom of the pyramid are still there. The point is that it's directionless and getting less prepared for problems if/when they come, and that many of the people that were put in charge have no idea what they're doing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...