The Fifth Risk

The Fifth Risk

by Michael Lewis


$21.56 $26.95 Save 20% Current price is $21.56, Original price is $26.95. You Save 20%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, July 25


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 night.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781324002642
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/02/2018
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 12,322
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Michael Lewis is the best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side, The Big Short, and The Undoing Project. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.

Date of Birth:

October 15, 1960

Place of Birth:

New Orleans, LA


Princeton University, B.A. in Art History, 1982; London School of Economics, 1985

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Fifth Risk 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I never realized how much I didn’t know about our government and big data. Michael Lewis makes it fascinating!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy to read. Insightful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading the background on what did not happen in the Transition government. Much is explained in the selfish appointments to cabinet positions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Learned many things I didn't know about the U.S. government and structure.
Anonymous 4 months ago
The last half of the book just rambles
Anonymous 8 months ago
Michael Lewis gives us a look inside some of the government agencies and impacts of the current administration on their functions. I gained a new appreciation for the staff of these agencies and their careers that are dedicated to making our government work well, in spite of the inadequacies or whims of the politicians and their appointees.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Take 20% off coupons from
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book started out great with some very interesting data on the lack of transition preparedness with the DT transition. The book also provided some fascinating information on the big data housed by various departments in the government. The book ended with a fizzle, an abrupt ending with a chapter that seemed as though it was part of a completely different book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great, but too short.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic read. Learned a lot about the government and I'm a federal retiree!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alas, I had high hopes for this book. It started out with descriptions of how DT deconstructed agencies by either slashing their budgets or putting those in charge who would gain financial rewards from the agencies. But it devolved into descriptions of several characters instead. I was looking forward to more of an expose on DT and his crooked ways.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By all citizens and potential citizens
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an independent voter and a big fan of Mr. Lewis' previous books, I had looked forward to reading this book. Through the first 35 pages or so I was accepting of his premises. Sadly, by about page 60, I began to feel that this brilliant writer had forgone his objectivity for ,what feels like his hatred of the current administration. His "discussion" of the "JPA" was incredibly short sided, leaving me with a feeling that he had a hidden agenda regarding the Trump administration, and was out of his comfort zone, and that I had to be guarded in accepting the rest of what he wrote in the book. Like many other areas that he covered in this book, the issues involved are so much more complicated than the extent to which he covered them. I'm no fan of Fox, but where did he show examples of the sometimes outlandish commentary of other networks ? I am not a political person, but I feel that I Mr. Lewis is naive about an area too large for a non insider to get their arms around, especially since his book is completely one sided in being critical of the current administration. Every administration can be criticized for their shortcomings, but Mr. Lewis , it seems , has criticized the Trump administration and at the same time indirectly comparing it to the Obama administration. Now that I know that he is willing to use his writing skills for political purposes , I doubt that I will read him again. Fortunately, this is one of his shortest offerings...probably a result of his lack of any credible information. So sad.