Politico this morning offers an in-depth examination of the fawning relationship between Michael Lewis and Capitol Hill. It’s worth reading for the rapturous quotes from senators, who always seem to introduce the New York Times bestselling author and his latest book, The Big Short, as if they were an unknown quantity, using both title and author. The article has the book mentioned 15 times in various official settings.
The piece speaks to a trend that Lewis has noted himself. When promoting the book, he told Graydon Carter about speaking at a House Republican book group that turned into a three-hour Q&A because the attendees were so fascinated by what he had to say. “And their questions were increasingly: ‘Oh my God, Goldman Sachs (GS) did what? A.I.G. did what?'” Lewis said.
On the subject of the Goldman-S.E.C. lawsuit, The Awl pointed out: “It has been suggested that it’s almost as if the S.E.C. read The Big Short and then went out looking for more examples of the things in the book!”
The book has received positive reviews and the Politico article notes only one downside to its influence in Washington.
[Simon] Johnson said he admires Lewis, but he cautioned that “this is a repeated cycle,” and the cause of the next bubble is likely to be something other than a dramatic drop in housing prices.
But if it is another dramatic drop in housing prices, everyone’s going to be really well-prepared.