Books by Michael Lewis

Author of the bestsellers Liar's Poker, The New New Thing, and Moneyball, Michael Lewis writes regularly for the New York Times Magazine and Bloomberg News. He lives in Berkeley, California.

THE FIFTH RISK by Michael Lewis
Released: Oct. 2, 2018

"As with nearly all of Lewis' books, this one succeeds on so many levels, including as a well-written primer on how the government serves citizens in underappreciated ways."
Lewis (The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds, 2016, etc.) turns timely political reporting he published in Vanity Fair into a book about federal government bureaucracies during the first year of the Donald Trump presidency. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"Kahneman and Tversky approached their personal lives and their research in extremely divergent manners. At times, Lewis' details about the unlikely coupling overwhelm the larger narrative, but that is a minor complaint in another solid book from this gifted author."
The bestselling author combines biography with recent intellectual history in a saga about the influential Israeli psychologist team of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Read full book review >
FLASH BOYS by Michael Lewis
Released: March 31, 2014

"If you've ever had the feeling that the system is out for itself at your expense, well, look no further. A riveting, maddening yarn that is causing quite a stir already, including calls for regulatory reform."
In trademark Lewis (Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, 2011, etc.) fashion, a data-rich but all-too-human tale of "heuristic data bullshit and other mumbo jumbo" in the service of gaming the financial system, courtesy of—yes, Goldman Sachs and company. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 3, 2011

"An enlightening, scary journey."
A world tour of nations that have collapsed financially or that played a role in the collapse of others. Read full book review >
HOME GAME by Michael Lewis
Released: June 1, 2009

"Brief, clever and frank—a good gift for Father's Day."
Lewis (The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, 2006, etc.) updates and expands his Slate series on the business of parenting. Read full book review >
Released: June 3, 2003

"Has Lewis spilled Beane's beans? Maybe so, but considering the mulish dispositions of baseball's scouts and front offices, they'll miss the boat again."
A solid piece of iconoclasm: the intriguing tale of Major League baseball's oddfellows—the low-budget but winning Oakland Athletics. Read full book review >
THE NEW NEW THING by Michael Lewis
Released: Oct. 25, 1999

A rip-roaring profile of the high-rolling technology entrepreneur Jim Clark, and the strange Silicon Valley subculture in which he thrives, from one of our best business journalists. Michael Lewis, the petulant sprite whose Liar's Poker (1989) hilariously exposed the venalities of Wall Street investment bankers, vies for Tom Wolfe's ice cream suit with an effortlessly glib account of how the last decade turned Jim Clark, a middle-aged, chronically depressed Texas-born physicist whose futuristic concepts earned him little more than ridicule, into a Promethean, globe-trotting billionaire vainly searching for the next new thing that might make him happy. Like Ken Kesey in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Clark is, for Lewis, a romantic American outlaw, as well as a trickster who avenges himself on starched-shirt capitalists by creating wildly risky, money-losing hi-tech businesses that may never become profitable—Silicon Graphics, Netscape, Healtheon—but that nevertheless make billions for Clark when they go public. What brings in the bucks is Clark's no-nonsense appeal to the brilliant engineers who do the real work, his insufferable egotism, and his pie-in-the-sky imagination, which is not always as prescient as he would like. (When Clark's concept of a $1 million computerized yacht that can sail itself around the world without human hands doesn't survive the transition to working prototype, it isn—t clear whether the yacht's engine died in the middle of the Atlantic because the computer thought the boat was in the African Sahara, or simply because of a faulty sensor.) Lewis also notes in passing the famous Microsoft antitrust suit, which Clark originated when he leaked to the US Justice Department a Microsoft executive's threat to put Netscape out of business if the company refused to let Microsoft in as a partner. The result? Clark got even richer when Netscape merged with America Online, and invited Microsoft to be a partner in his next, new new thing. Funny, feverishly romantic business reporting in which the American lust for wealth becomes a Bryonic quest for the next dream that will change the world. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: June 9, 1997

Bestselling author Lewis (Liar's Poker, 1989, etc.) applies his sense of humor to a subject that really needs it: the 1996 presidential campaign. To escape the boring but politically prudent staged events offered by the Clinton and Dole campaigns, Lewis focuses on the secondary players. This draws him to candidates like Morry Taylor, who responds to the challenge of hosting a reception at the Republican National Convention with a motorcycle rally featuring 7,000 Republicans on Harleys, and Alan Keyes, whose verbal virtuosity makes Lewis a (temporary) believer every time he speaks, despite suspicions that Keyes might have a screw loose somewhere. Among noncandidates there are the spin doctors and ``rented strangers''—professional campaign operatives—as well as Senator John McCain, whose ``alarming preference for the truth'' so disorients Lewis that it becomes difficult for him to function as a journalist. Please note: The purpose here is not to explain why Dole lost and Clinton won. In an era where major American presidential candidates are congenitally allergic to reality, taking them and their campaigns at face value reveals little. By setting aside the official stories concocted by rented strangers and disseminated by the mainstream press, yet avoiding the automatic cynicism of the professional critic, Lewis conveys a sense of what is really going on. His lack of enthusiasm for a campaign (Dole's) that ``plans its trips to the bathroom four days before it goes'' is easy to understand, regardless of one's politics, and his recognition that Americans' indifference to electoral politics is a sensible response to ``this crap'' is oddly optimistic: The people are sane even if our leaders are not. Written with Hunter Thompson's eye for the revealing detail but without his self-indulgence, and with Mark Russell's facility with one-liners but without his superficiality, this is a book to be enjoyed. (8 photos) (First printing of 100,000) Read full book review >
PACIFIC RIFT by Michael Lewis
Released: May 1, 1992

An inquiry into sociological divergences that, for all its apparent artlessness and deceptive brevity, goes a long way toward explaining precisely what strains the commercial ties that still bind the US and Japan. With his customary acuity, Lewis (Liar's Poker, The Money Culture) focuses on two businessmen—front-line troops in the trade war now raging between the two economic superpowers. One is an insurance executive from the Midwest who worked in Tokyo for nearly two decades; the other, a Harvard-educated Japanese now based in N.Y.C., where he looks after the real-estate interests of a major zaibatsu (corporate alliance). From the expatriate American, Lewis learns a lot about the intricate web of politico-mercantile relationships that help preserve the status quo—and discourage genuine competition—in the island nation's domestic markets. Likewise, the Manhattanite pro tem offers insights on his countryman's yen to gain prestige and avoid conspicuous failure, traits that clarify the willingness of Japanese enterprise to make high-profile investments in properties (like Rockefeller Center) that afford little in the way of financial returns. The Japanese also argues that 1960's liberalism cost the US its capacity to vie on an equal footing with Japan's latter-day organization men. On a recent trip to Tokyo, Lewis discovered to his surprise that the journalist who broke the Recruit-scandal story, which forced the resignation of a prime minister, became neither rich nor famous. The object lesson in this outcome, at least for the author's Japanese sources, is that Americans are preoccupied with earning money and/or preferment in the short run, not in doing the right thing. Be that as it may, Lewis concludes that the Japanese are not just like us, and that their formidable economic system reflects these cultural differences. A gifted annalist's appreciation of why ``East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.'' Read full book review >
SHAME by Michael Lewis
Released: Jan. 6, 1992

To understand shame is to understand human nature, according to Lewis (Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Psychology/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School), who here presents his theories about this normal, universal emotion. In Lewis's view, to feel shame requires being able to compare one's self with one's standards or beliefs. When failure to meet a standard is seen as ``global'' (a failure of the whole self, i.e., ``I am bad''), shame results, but when failure is seen as ``specific'' (i.e., ``that action of mine was bad''), guilt results. The self must be exposed to itself, in Lewis's terminology, in order for shame to be felt; thus very young children do not experience it. He traces the developmental processes that allow for the emergence of shame, analyzes how it differs from related feelings, examines ways of coping with it, and looks at how the sexes differ in their experience of it. Females, he says, experience more shame than males, and when the emotion is prolonged, females are more likely to respond with depression and males with rage. In fact, Lewis links the violence in our society to an out-of-control shame/rage spiral. In extreme cases, prolonged shame may even produce narcissistic and multiple-personality disorders, both of which the author sees as on the increase. Although primarily concerned with shame in contemporary Western society, Lewis also looks briefly at other cultures. Throughout, he conscientiously provides as a framework for his own ideas the views of other psychologists, psychiatrists, scientists, and philosophers. Numerous anecdotes, written in a loose, conversational style that contrasts sharply with the rather textbookish tone of the main text, illustrate his ideas. Sensible scholarly analysis of an emotion that has an enormous impact on how individuals relate to each other and to society. (B&w drawings—not seen.) Read full book review >
THE MONEY CULTURE by Michael Lewis
Released: Oct. 28, 1991

With this collection of 30-odd pieces (all previously published in a half-dozen magazine and newspapers), Lewis (Liar's Poker, 1989) stakes a further claim to being the wittiest critic of private enterprise since the pseudonymous ``Adam Smith'' was plying his merry trade during the go-go 1960's. Young, gifted, and glib, the author delivers a wealth of deliciously wicked profiles on contemporary Wall Streeters, their offshore counterparts, and other predatory notables whose status is dollar denominated. Among others, he dispatches nouveau-riche Australians, Japan's kamikaze capitalists, TV-personality Louis Rukeyser (the nominal sponsor of seaborne investment seminars remarkable mainly for their ship-of-fools quality), the juvenile delinquents whose passion for speculating in financial futures has convulsed the Paris bourse, Donald Trump, LBO accessories, and other fast-trackers who show little care for socioeconomic consequences. Though largely informed by the serious purpose of capturing instances of greed, pretension, and wretched excess in the global financial village, Lewis's often antic reportage goes down with deceptive ease. A delightfully light touch is evident even in his assessment of such weighty subjects as what havoc a natural disaster (e.g., an earthquake) in Tokyo could wreak on the world's capital markets. Not every entry is a winner; there is, for example, an overlong and not very original exposÇ on the putatively upscale charge cards merchandised by American Express. On the whole, however, the compilation sets a very high standard and provides an evocative, if not precisely nostalgic, record of the recent past's megabuck madnesses. Read full book review >