(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Fairness is a theme running through the writings of Michael Lewis, our second guest this week on Masters in Business, and author of bestsellers such as "Moneyball" and "The Big Short." Because fairness is critical in sports, Lewis developed a podcast, "Against the Rules," now in its second season, drawing on some of the parallels between sports and life.
He says podcasting allows him to exercise a very different set of muscles from writing. He works with an ensemble to help tell different stories in a different way. The first season of the podcast was about referees while the second season, now underway, is about coaches.
Lewis also sees analogies between sports and government. His most recent book, "The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy," looks at what happens when the leaders of various government departments don’t show up to begin their jobs -- ever.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who was appointed head of the Trump transition team after the 2016 election, created a set of tools to help the president-elect assume management of the federal government and its 9.1 million employees. It is required by the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 (updated in 2015), legislation that establishes the formal mechanism for the orderly transfer power after a presidential election.
Alas, in 2017, it was not meant to be, and Donald Trump fired the entire Christie-assembled transition team. The result is that there are thousands of government positions still unfilled, including key posts at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which perhaps accounts for the U.S.'s chaotic response to the coronavirus pandemic. Lewis describes the transition as a unique failing in presidential history, a refusal to discharge legal obligations in an intelligent, coherent way. Hence, Lewis says, the U.S. as presently governed is “uncoached.”
His favorite books are here; a transcript of our conversation is here.
You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras, on Apple iTunes, Spotify, Overcast, Google, Bloomberg and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”
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