Fifth Risk, by Michael Lewis
Earlier this month, on a most important election eve, I completed Michael Lewis’ The Fifth Risk. Without hyperbole, I can honestly say that this may be one of the most frightening books I’ve ever read. Here Lewis, (author of Moneyball, The Blind Side, The Big Short, and others) makes the best argument for political opposition to the Trump administration in this compelling read - the unwavering mission of our current government to obtain perceived short-term gains without regard to long-term cost. From one page to the next, Lewis methodically highlights the undeniable evidence of the complete absence of curiosity on the part of the people Trump has installed to run our country and the overriding (and unabashed) denial of science, facts and data. More troubling than the en masse gutting of social programs (food stamps, school lunches), the understaffing of many vital positions (Department of Energy unable to intercept black market nuclear material at large due to lack of manpower) and the rollback of decades-old policies designed to protect our environment; the specter of pay to play is omnipresent. One of the most egregious cases illustrated here involves the pending installation of the AccuWeather’s CEO Barry Myers to head NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Myers’ systematic delegitimization of the federal National Weather Service (which has collected and collated volumes of weather data daily provided by tax-payer funded satellites, buoys, labs, etc.) has resulted in an admitted attempt to “monopolize” weather forecast service. In this dystopian plan, weather forecasts would now be monetized. Think for a moment what that would mean. Although there is ample grist here for the wonkiest reader, Lewis has the ability “for finding emotional dramas in complex, highly technical subjects.” Despite the fact that I found many parts of this book profoundly disturbing, the author is able to periodically inject some gallows humor along the way. My only regret in reading The Fifth Risk is that I didn’t finish it sooner and implore everyone I know to read it as well.