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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Michael Lewis on Charlie Rose

If you are interested in understanding the European crisis, please spend 50 minutes and watch this interview of author Michael Lewis by Charlie Rose.  The interview starts with a discussion of Moneyball, Lewis's story of how the Oakland A's used statistics to build a team that accomplished something never before accomplished in professional baseball, despite having a lower payroll than other teams. Moneyball has recently been made into a movie starring Brad Pitt; and although it's a sports movie, it has embedded in it ideas about market efficiency, etc. that investment people appreciate.

The interview goes on to talk primarily about Lewis's new book, Boomerang, that explains the European crisis.  One important point I learned from the interview is how the whole mess is actually affected by culture.  Lewis covers it from the implosion of Iceland to the present.

Michael Lewis knows how to tell a story and bring complicated events to life by finding people who were intimately involved with events.  For example, The Big Short is a must-read if you want to understand the subprime crisis.  For those who might not know, Lewis is a former Salomon Brothers trader who gained notoriety writing about the trading room in Liar's Poker.

Charlie Rose, of course, is probably the finest interviewer of our time, and his interviews are worth watching just to appreciate his probing questions.  Many times he seemingly gets his subjects to think about their motivations, etc. for the first time.  You'll find his getting Lewis to talk about why the Greeks are angry at the Germans, despite the fact that they desperately need the Germans' help to get out of this mess, especially enlightening.

Disclosure:  Michael Lewis is one of my all time favorite writers.  Although I haven't read Boomerang, I anxiously go to the door when the UPS truck goes up the street.


  1. Before reading the Big Short, I had never heard of Michael Lewis. Takes a unique talent to take something as complicated as finance to read like a thriller!