I could not have chosen a more opportune time to select two new books, The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis and FEAR by Bob Woodward.
The Fifth Risk dissects the destruction by the Trump Administration of critical government departments responsible for the day-to-day seamless management of the affairs of government. The Woodward book, FEAR, discusses the dysfunction within the Trump White House.
The take away of these two books unfortunately is a cliché, “No one is home.”
Lewis and Woodward are established journalists.The books are not “tell all ” but well researched and sourced. The consensus on the chaos in government and the serious threats posed to the nation by these respected journalists makes the disclosures even more disturbing.
The timing of the release of The Fifth Risk and FEAR is prescient. They are “current events.”
If you are looking for Michael Lewis’ new book THE UNDOING PROJECT to be another MONEYBALL, THE BIG SHORT or THE BLIND SIDE, you won’t find it.
THE UNDOING PROJECT, published this year, is a cerebral look that undoes common wisdom about how we form opinions and make up our minds. The subtitle of the book, A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, uncovers the relationship between two Israeli psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, who together broke the mold into investigating the human decision-making process.
Most appropriately, Lewis sets the scene for this work of non-fiction by explaining how the non conventional statistical analysis of the potential of baseball players as detailed in his book MONEYBALL was later used by the Houston Rockets basketball team. The narrative quickly transforms into an examination of exactly how psychologists Tversky and Kahneman through extensive scientific research in academia both in Israel and the United States discovered exactly how the mind works when forming judgements about people and their performance potential in specific situations. The book advances its own unique theory of a person’s ability to think objectively.
Interspersed with the science is the personal story of two unlikely collaborators who formed an extraordinary friendship and dramatically advanced a greater understanding of how initial perceptions can overwhelm reality. The ” Halo effect.” How do we examine specific individual qualities separately from the whole? Deep but fascinating.