The Fifth Risk - Michael Lewis

The Fifth Risk

By Michael Lewis

  • Release Date: 2018-10-02
  • Genre: Political Science
Score: 4
From 997 Ratings


The New York Times Bestseller, with a new afterword

"[Michael Lewis’s] most ambitious and important book." —Joe Klein, New York Times

Michael Lewis’s brilliant narrative of the Trump administration’s botched presidential transition takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its leaders through willful ignorance and greed. The government manages a vast array of critical services that keep us safe and underpin our lives from ensuring the safety of our food and drugs and predicting extreme weather events to tracking and locating black market uranium before the terrorists do. The Fifth Risk masterfully and vividly unspools the consequences if the people given control over our government have no idea how it works.


  • Disappointing

    By Ma Slater
    I am a big fan of Michael Lewis. I re-read the Big Short a number of times. As a Fed for over a decade, I was so disappointed in this book. Lewis was played by a number of bureaucrats he interviewed. He failed to understand their incentives and they failed to recognize their role in our representative government. No one elected them, no one made them infallible. Indeed, as the pandemic laid bare for many of us, the bureaucracy was as much a let down as any other decision makers involved. The CDC failed to do its job in the most basic ways: testing, contact tracing, you name it. Although it was fashionable to lay blame at the foot of others, our bureaucrats should shoulder blame too. Lewis’s analysis leaves little room for error at this level and that disappointed me. I thought he would see through the bureaucracy like he does Wall Street, but alas that was not to be.
  • Government is us!

    By Peanut in Austin
    Love the deep dives into various government organizations. They’re filled with such amazing, talented and dedicated Americans. So interesting! Feels like a novel, reads like a thriller. But it’s true!
  • Michael Lewis’s ode to the value of good government

    By superbellsam
    I’ve read every book by Michael Lewis and while this one is not his best, it is a beautifully crafted single person perspective on the value of good government and the people that make incredibly positive contributions to our lives, often without recognition.
  • A wonderful book!

    By googlyeyes96
    If you are curious about the inner workings of our government institutions read this book. A easy read that pays homage to the often overlooked and underappreciated public servants who keep our massive infrastructure safe. I can't imagine privatizing one of these institutions, something's do not belong in a capitalist hands.
  • The Fifth

    By The Fed stinks
    I liked prior books of the writer - but not this one. Just a big defense of big government and I tuned it out very quickly. If you love big government and how much they waste your money - you will like this book.
  • Great summary of the impact of a ignorant government.

    By gndclouds
    Clearly identifies long term risks of the ignorance of the current government And how that may play out. Truly troubling to hear what the true impact of a 4 year trump presidency will be.
  • The Fifth Risk - A Serious Focus on Our Government

    By Bob Magnant
    Michael Lewis is a wonderful storyteller, who will definitely raise your interest and will not disappoint you. ‘The Fifth Risk’ sets the bar high from the beginning, as he highlights the importance of the national security functions that the majority of our two million federal workers carry out and that we depend on around the clock, safeguarding our homes, maintaining nuclear weapons, our national security and our economic opportunities. As a 43-year veteran of federal service, I am pleased to hear him objectively describe and praise the people and the processes of government. He describes our dedicated professionals, who range from administrators to astronauts, that work to make life better for all of our citizens no matter their roots or their aspirations. As Lewis says, our government has managed a portfolio of risks that no private person or corporation is able to manage; ‘the risk we should most fear is not the risk we easily imagination. It is the risk that we don’t.’ His perspective of our country’s opportunities gained and threatened by changing political processes in recent years offers readers a great deal of food for thought both as citizens and individuals as we pursue our lives and careers and plan for our alternative futures. His clear vision makes me wonder just how closely his descriptions reflect the actual events described. I believe that Americans across the land will appreciate this snapshot of our government at work. Bob Magnant is the author of ‘INCREDIBLE Storytelling' on iTunes, 'Domestic Satellite: An FCC Giant Step' and 'The Last Transition...', a fact-based novel about Iran. He writes about the political process, globalization, the Internet and US policy.
  • The Fifth Risk - Michael Lewis

    By Apgigs
    Not his best, story went no where but was still worth the read given the political situation we are all in and concern over government working for the people. Support NOAA and any other government agency you rely on, we all do and may not know it.
  • Buy this book as fast as you can!

    By Piggy569
    EVERY American should read this book and take in the material with an open mind. If we don’t we will truly be doomed.
  • Goosebumps at the end

    By BendYourTaxes
    Wow, what a great book. I always pick books that I feel might test my political views, most of them do for a day two, this one continues to resinate.