Michael Lewis’s, The Fifth Risk looks like a book — it has hard covers, chapters, acknowledgments and the rest — but it reads like a love letter. It is a love letter to underappreciated people and old-fashioned notions, and to underappreciated people holding fast to old-fashioned notions. With Trump-era politics turning Washington into Crazytown, Lewis has written a countercultural, almost subversive, book: one that praises the intellectual curiosity, dedication, foresight and sense of mission he finds among America’s federal workers ... The Fifth Risk challenges us to expect and appreciate those qualities at the highest levels of our federal workforce. Better yet, to demand them.
From its beginning to its final line ('It’s what you fail to imagine that kills you'), Michael Lewis reveals so much, and writes so insightfully, as he tackles what would seem to be the most mundane of his many magnificent investigations. The federal bureaucracy? But, instead of dull and wonkish, his new book is a spellbinding, alarming analysis of the most serious threats to Americans’ safety happening now from inside the U.S. government. And, Lewis nails the most catastrophic threat to your continued existence ... The book is a brilliant indictment of Trump and his appointees’ foolhardy ignorance of what federal agencies actually do and how.
The Fifth Risk, paints a dire picture of the chaos and mismanagement in the departments of Energy, Agriculture and Commerce during the transition from President Barack Obama to President Trump. Within these seemingly dull, benign bureaucratic systems, Mr. Lewis encountered devoted public servants struggling with understaffed and neglected agencies while confronting potentially catastrophic risks ... Michael Lewis has spent his career excavating subjects that seem, at first glance, almost aggressively boring: esoteric areas like sabermetrics, heuristics, mortgage-backed securities and credit-default swaps, algorithmic trading based on high-frequency financial data, sovereign debt. No matter how arcane the material, he invariably finds some fascinating narrative thread to suck readers in. His latest work, about government bureaucracy, is no exception.