Book Summary: The Fifth Risk Michael Lewis

The Fifth Risk Book Review

  1. Very exciting story telling
  2. A page turner
  3. Humorous and entertaining in a bad way
  4. An eye opener to Trump’s terrible reign

The Fifth Risk Book Quotes

1. Jeff Sessions: “I’m kind of like the church elder who double-counts the collection plate every Sunday for the pastor,”

2. Trump: “You’re stealing my money! You’re stealing my fucking money! What the fuck is this?? “

3. Trump : “Fuck the law. I don’t give a fuck about the law. I want my fucking money !.”

4. “We have a legacy government that hasn’t kept up with the world we live in, largely because of disruptions from bad transitions.”

5. “The new people come in and think that the previous administration and the civil service are lazy or stupid.

6. “Some agencies couldn’t hire anyone without sixty different people signing off on him”

7. ” Holy fuck, this guy [Trump] doesn’t know anything. And he doesn’t give a shit.’”

8. “There are things you want to know that would keep you up at night. And I never talked to anyone about them.”

9. “We are meant to serve our elected masters, however odious they might be”

The Fifth Risk Summary

Prologue : Lost In Translation

New Jersey governor Christie volunteered himself for the Donald Trump presidential transition team. “It’s the next best thing to being president,” he told friends. “You get to plan the presidency.”

Chris Christie, had raised several million dollars to pay the staff
was fired later. Trump always avoided firing people himself. The man who played Mr. You’re Fired on TV avoided personal confrontation in real life.

The Fifth Risk – I. TAIL RISK

According to a former Obama official, he was replaced by a handful of young ideologues who called themselves “the Beachhead Team.” “They mainly ran around the building insulting people,” says a former Obama official.

The CFO of the Department of energy at the end of the Obama administration Joe Hezir, half-expected a call from the Trump people asking him to stay on.The call never came, the CFO of a $30 billion operation just up and left

Roughly half of the DOE’s annual $30 billion budget is spent on maintaining and guarding our nuclear arsenal. Two billion of that goes to hunting down weapons-grade plutonium and uranium at loose in the world so that it doesn’t fall into the hands of terrorists.

In eight years alone—2010–2018 —the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration collected enough material to make 160 nuclear bombs.

The Trump people didn’t seem to grasp how much more than just energy the Department of Energy was about. They weren’t totally oblivious to the nuclear arsenal, but even the nuclear arsenal didn’t provoke in them much curiosity. “They were just looking for dirt, basically,”

The United States no longer tests its nuclear weapons. Instead, it relies on physicists at three of the national labs—Los Alamos, Livermore, and Sandia—to simulate explosions, using old and decaying nuclear materials.

The Department of Energy, he continues, spends a lot of time and money trying to make bombs less likely to explode when they are not meant to explode.

“Broken Arrow” is a military term of art for a nuclear accident that doesn’t lead to a nuclear war.

As the DOE’s first-ever chief risk officer, MacWilliams had access to everything that went on inside of it and a bird’s-eye view of it all.

Trump’s budget, like the social forces behind it, is powered by a perverse desire—to remain ignorant. Donald Trump didn’t invent this desire. He was just its ultimate expression.

The Fifth Risk – II. PEOPLE RISK

“Someone got up and asked,” If you are a store owner after Katrina, should you hike up the price of flashlights?’ Greg Mankiw, the economist who had served as chair of George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers said yes, without hesitation.

USDA, small fraction of its massive annual budget ($164 billion in 2016) was actually spent on farmers

Trump was removing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and costing American farmers an estimated $4.4 billion a year in foreign sales, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Lillian Salerno had observed the Trump administration for a long moment. Virtually all the people Trump had sent into the Department of Agriculture were white men in their twenties. They exhibited no knowledge of, or interest in, the problems of rural Americans. She decided to move
back to Texas and run for office


A United States congressman had asked Kathy Sullivan why the taxpayer needed to fund the National Weather Service when he could get his weather from AccuWeather. Where on earth did he think AccuWeather—or the apps or the Weather Channel— got their weather?

AccuWeather had roughly $100 million a year in revenue, and that it came mainly from selling ads on its website and selling weather forecasts to companies and governments willing to pay for them.

Some weather geeks had recently discovered that the company had been selling the locations of people using its app, even when these individuals had declined to give AccuWeather permission to do this.

At any rate, at his U.S. Senate hearings, Barry Myers estimated his AccuWeather shares to be worth roughly $57 million.

It had started out making its money by repackaging and selling National Weather Service information to gas companies and ski resorts. It claimed to be better than the National Weather Service at forecasting the weather

The Fifth Risk Amazon

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3 thoughts on “Book Summary: The Fifth Risk Michael Lewis”

  1. 1. What is a presidential transition? Why are they important? Who is responsible for them?
    2. Why was the 2016 Presidential transition meant to be easier (smoother) than previous transitions? Why wasn’t it?


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