The Fifth Risk

A review of The Fifth Risk by Micheal Lewis

This is not Micheal Lewis’ best book. While I realize a lot of his books are spun out of short form pieces, this one seemed pretty transparently to have been drawn out of an article in a magazine. All of Lewis’ strengths as a writer are on display, but the narrative arc is lacking the elegance of something like The Undoing Project.

Walking us through how hilariously unprepared to govern the Trump transition team was, and then through the thankless work of the Dept. of Agriculture, Commerce and Energy, Lewis entertains, even without his usual depth.

The reality that the Dept. of Commerce would be more accurately named the Dept of Data and Weather, or that Agriculture administers small business loans in rural communities where anti-big gov’t politicians ask them to stay quiet about the origins of their community loans is all facinating.

And the effective raping of public data acquisition in Commerce under Trump’s administration is shocking. The idea of putting somone with commercial interest in keeping public data away from the public seems like there should be laws around it. It’s morally dubious ground, for sure.

And yet, at the end of the day, the book feels more like a rush job to capture what may be a fleeting market of trying to explain just how horrible the Trump Adminsitration is. There are a lot of exposés with a simliar bent, and while Lewis is remarkably calm in disdain, it’s still comes across as a look how absurd this administration is piece.