Friday, December 21, 2018

The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis

There are many risks a new U.S. presidential administration faces. Perhaps the most important one is the fifth one mentioned to Lewis by a previous government employee: “Project management.” (69) Not being organized and prepared for the risks may be the greatest risk of all.

Lewis explores the important work of a few government agencies and how it has been bungled under the current administration. He identifies appointees with a lack of any experience, such as science, for the position they are filling. A good example is a man with a degree in public relations tapped to be the USDA chief scientist. (112)

Lewis writes about the lack of preparation for the transition. Department personnel ready to brief new appointees waited days and weeks but no one showed up. Departments were left without capable leadership. There was willful ignorance of science. There were actions motivated by politics and no concern for the welfare of American citizens. Public data about weather and climate were suppressed so a private company could profit.

I recommend this book to any who want to know what is going on in the current administration. Rather, what should be going on and isn't.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Michael Lewis is the bestselling author of several books. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.

W. W. Norton & Company, 256 pages.

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