The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis

Wow. Simply put. Wow.

Michael Lewis is just one of the best storytellers out there right now. He can take such mundane, ordinary concepts and make them relevant and fascinating. Though he writes non-fiction, he forms characters, builds tensions, and conveys meanings so effortlessly. It is impossible to put his book down, I am consistently captivated.

I think there are a few ways to describe The Fifth Risk. Depending on your political leanings, you can simply see this book as an admonishment of the Trump Administration or you can see it as the inherent failure of a bureaucratic government system. However, I think this book shows the incredible significance of the federal government in our everyday lives.

Competition and the private sector are very valuable and powerful resources in a capitalistic society. Competition can lead to innovations and lower prices which benefit the consumer and producer. But what happens when innovation does not generate a profit (at least in the immediate)? More effective ways to forecast tornadoes or more successful search and rescue missions do not lead to more profits.

It is American to be wary of your government. Distrust of government is the bedrock of our nation. In contrast, it is very American to trust Americans. We believe in the hard work and tenacity of the American spirit which is embedded in her citizens. So we reach a paradox: we don’t trust bureaucrats but we trust Americans. What happens when we realize that bureaucrats are Americans? What happens we put a face to the impersonal non-elected federal government?

Michael Lewis made a book about the federal government interesting. He is a great storyteller or a sorcerer.