Michael Lewis’s The Fifth Risk is publicized as demonstrating incompetence of the Trump administration. While it certainly presents anecdotes that show how unprepared and unskilled many Trump appointees were, that wasn’t what I took from the book. Nor did I find myself as interested in the hostility many Trump appointees have for the agencies they supposedly lead.
For me, the best part of The Fifth Risk was reading about the caring professionals who told their stories to Lewis and illustrated the value of their work. Sadly, the book reminds us the value of their work is not being done by the Trump administration and that in some cases their good work is being overturned.
If you want to get some inside stories about how a functioning government should work and you want to learn something about some of those working for America, The Fifth Risk is an excellent book. Yes, it provides many opportunities to laugh at Trump appointees. Yes, it will sometimes leave you horrified by their lack of capacity and disinterest. But The Fifth Risk will leave you with a reminder of the value of government. Writing this review after the longest shutdown in American history–a shutdown that did nothing but hurt people–felt especially important.