Cover of: The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis
Not in Library

Buy this book

When you buy books using these links the Internet Archive may earn a small commission.

Last edited by ImportBot
August 17, 2020 | History
An edition of The Fifth Risk (2018)

The Fifth Risk

First edition.
  • 3.50
  • 2 Ratings
  • 5 Want to read
  • 0 Currently reading
  • 4 Have read

This edition was published in by W. W. Norton & Company in New York, USA.

Written in English

221 pages

Michael Lewis's brilliant narrative takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its own leaders. In Agriculture the funding of vital programs like food stamps and school lunches is being slashed. The Commerce Department may not have enough staff to conduct the 2020 Census properly. Over at Energy, where international nuclear risk is managed, it's not clear there will be enough inspectors to track and locate black market uranium before terrorists do.

Willful ignorance plays a role in these looming disasters. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gain without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing the cost. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it's better never to understand those problems. There is an upside to ignorance, and a downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview.

If there are dangerous fools in this book, there are also heroes—unsung, of course. They are the linchpins of the system: those public servants whose knowledge, dedication, and proactivity keep the machinery running. Michael Lewis finds them, and he asks them what keeps them up at night.

Read more

Edition Availability
Cover of: The Fifth Risk
The Fifth Risk
2018, W. W. Norton & Company
Hardcover in English - First edition.

Add another edition?

The Fifth Risk

First published in 2018



Work Description

Michael Lewis's brilliant narrative takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its own leaders. In Agriculture the funding of vital programs like food stamps and school lunches is being slashed. The Commerce Department may not have enough staff to conduct the 2020 Census properly. Over at Energy, where international nuclear risk is managed, it's not clear there will be enough inspectors to track and locate black market uranium before terrorists do.

Willful ignorance plays a role in these looming disasters. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gain without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing the cost. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it's better never to understand those problems. There is an upside to ignorance, and a downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview.

If there are dangerous fools in this book, there are also heroes—unsung, of course. They are the linchpins of the system: those public servants whose knowledge, dedication, and proactivity keep the machinery running. Michael Lewis finds them, and he asks them what keeps them up at night.

Excerpts

"[W]hen I asked him for the fifth risk, he had thought about it and then seemed to relax a bit. The fifth risk did not put him at risk of revealing classified information. 'Project management,' was all he said."
Page 68-69, added by hayesall. "The book is named for five risks to the U.S. government as posed by John MacWilliams. MacWilliams suggests 'fifth risk' is long-term project management."
"Here is where the Trump administration's willful ignorance plays a role. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gain without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing the cost. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it's better never to really understand those problems. There is an upside to ignorance, and a downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview."
Page 77, added by hayesall. "This paragraph builds on the quote summarizing the book (inside the dust jacket). It goes on to describe a Department of Energy program ARPA-E that funded the creation of GPS and the internet by making small grants to researchers; Trump's first budget eliminated ARPA-E."
"Ali Zaidi drew a distinction between the little boxes inside the Department of Agriculture that enforced regulation (such as Food Safety) and those that spent money (such as Science). 'One is the stick and the other is the carrot,' he said. 'You pay for things often that you can't or won't regulate.' Where the government had the power to regulate it, it had less need to pay for things. It couldn't compel university professors to do agricultural research, and so it paid them to do it. It had the power to compel... egg producers to adhere to rules that kept eggs from making people sick, and so didn't need to pay them to do it. ... '[I]t shows you how regulation takes the place of expenditure.'"
Page 115, added by hayesall. "This excerpt comes from a discussion with Ali Zaidi at the Department of Agriculture, describing the two broad functions that the DOA performs."

Links outside Open Library

The Fifth Risk

First edition.

This edition was published in by W. W. Norton & Company in New York, USA.


Table of Contents

Prologue Lost in Transition 15
Chapter 1 Tail Risk 33
Chapter 2 People Risk 81
Chapter 3 All the President's Data 127

Edition Notes

Copyright Date
2018

Classifications

Dewey Decimal Class
320.973/090512
Library of Congress
E912 .L48 2018

The Physical Object

Format
Hardcover
Pagination
221 pages
Number of pages
221

ID Numbers

Open Library
OL26967821M
ISBN 10
1324002646
ISBN 13
9781324002642
LC Control Number
2018038204
OCLC/WorldCat
1035748189

Community Reviews (0)

Feedback?
No community reviews have been submitted for this work.

Lists containing this Book

History

Download catalog record: RDF / JSON / OPDS | Wikipedia citation
August 17, 2020 Edited by ImportBot import existing book
July 16, 2020 Edited by hayesall Added new cover
July 16, 2020 Edited by hayesall Adding excerpts, table of contents, and descriptions of the work based on the dust jacket summary.
May 24, 2019 Created by Clean Up Bot Imported from marc_openlibraries_sanfranciscopubliclibrary MARC record.