Michael Lewis needs little introduction. He’s the author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Big Short, The Blind Side, The Fifth Risk. He’s the host of the new podcast Against the Rules. He’s a master at making seemingly boring topics — baseball statistics, government bureaucrats, collateralized debt obligations — riveting. So how does he do it?
What I wanted to do in this conversation was understand Lewis’s process. How does he choose his topics? How does he find his characters? How does he get them to trust him? What is he looking for when he’s with them? What allows him to see the gleam in subjects that would strike others, on their face, as dull?
Lewis more than delivered. There’s a master class in reporting — or just in getting to know people — tucked inside this conversation. As in the N.K. Jemisin episode, Lewis shows how he does his work in real time, using me and something I revealed as the example. Sometimes the conversations on this show are a delight. Sometimes they’re actually useful. This one is both.
Michael Lewis’s book recommendations:
1) Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
2) A Collection of Essays by George Orwell
3) The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe