Notes on the Michael Lewis Luncheon

As mentioned below, I availed myself of a last-minute invite to attend the World Affairs Council of Dallas luncheon with Michael Lewis, author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side, and, most recently, The Big Short, which is about the economic collapse. D CEO was a co-sponsor of the event, so I’m sure Glenn will be along in a few minutes with a more complete recap, but I’ll offer this amuse bouche while you wait.

You know who is awesome? Michael Lewis is awesome. Not only is he married to Tabitha Soren. Not only is he a fantastically successful writer. But he’s a gifted talker. He’s got this great New Orleans accent that sounds like cold syrup gurgling out of a bottle. I could listen to him talk all day. And he’s funny to boot. Talmage Boston did the honors as inquisitor. He asked a series of questions that went like: “Can’t we all agree that the responsibility of the financial collapse belongs at the feet of Barney Frank and the Clinton administration?” After about the fourth or fifth such salvo, Lewis paused and said, “I admire the objectivity of your questions.” It drew a huge laugh from the packed Fairmont ballroom. My recounting of it here doesn’t do the man justice. I fell in love.

He got some more laughs in describing how easy it was to get all these Wall Street types to talk to him for the book. Liar’s Poker was about Lewis’ own experience working on Wall Street. In it, he admitted he didn’t really know anything, but he made great money. Contrary to what he thought would happen, the book actually drew more people to Wall Street. As he put it: “People read the book and said, ‘Hey, I know nothing, too. And I’d like to make hundreds of thousands of dollars.” So a lot of these people on Wall Street were there because of Lewis (or they’d at least read the book). When he called them up, they were only too happy to talk to him. And those who hadn’t read the book had seen Blind Side. “Those folks,” Lewis said, “figured this book would get made into a movie, too. And they wanted to be part of that.”

Anyway, great luncheon. I bought The Big Short from Amazon on the walk back to the office.

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