The Fifth Risk | Michael Lewis

Editor’s Comments: The joy of reading Lewis’ latest book is that obscure details are made interesting. That is, the author takes us into three fairly unknown and misunderstood departments of our federal government and – in context of the current administration – teaches us a lot of what’s at stake in each. Like most people I’ve viewed federal workers as bureaucrats, at best. Lewis however dives into specific lives and careers of fed workers that are quite honorable. Did you ever wonder what Agriculture, Commerce and Energy Departments really do? Nope, me either. But as one of the book reviewers wrote of Fifth Risk: “Lewis has a reputation for taking fairly arcane subjects — high finance, sovereign debt, baseball statistics, behavioral economics — and making them not just accessible but entertaining.” Indeed he does.

Favorite Excerpt:“If your ambition is to maximize short term gain without regard to the long term cost, you’re better off not knowing the cost. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it’s better to never to really understand those problems. There is an upside to ignorance, a downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to their worldview.”

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