Baseball is this intense subculture that actually doesn't speak very much for the larger culture.

— Michael Lewis

The most stunning Michael Lewis quotes that will add value to your life

If you had to point to one thing that made it less likely that the Red Sox would win the World Series, I would say it was those people that go to Fenway Park to watch the games. And then the media around it.

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The pleasure of rooting for Goliath is that you can expect to win.

The pleasure of rooting for David is that, while you don’t know what to expect, you stand at least a chance of being inspired.

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As idiotic as optimism can sometimes seem, it has a weird habit of paying off.

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When you're trying to create a career as a writer, a little delusional thinking goes a long way.

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In Japan, mothers insist on achievement and accomplishment as a sign of love and respect. Thus to fail places children in a highly shamed situation.

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Incredibly, at this critical juncture in financial history, after which so much changed so quickly, the only constraint in the subprime mortgage market was a shortage of people willing to bet against it.

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A vast industry of stockbrokers, financial planners, and investment advisers skims a fortune for themselves off the top in exchange for passing their clients' money on to people who, as a whole, cannot possibly outperform the market.

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A banking system is an act of faith: it survives only for as long as people believe it will.

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A credit default swap was confusing mainly because it wasn't really a swap at all. It was an insurance policy, typically on a corporate bond, with semiannual premium payments and a fixed term.

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Above all, recognize that if you have had success, you have also had luck — and with luck comes obligation. You owe a debt, and not just to your Gods. You owe a debt to the unlucky.

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Even as late as the summer of 2006, as home prices began to fall, it took a certain kind of person to see the ugly facts and react to them-to discern, in the profile of the beautiful young lady, the face of an old witch.

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The longer-term the option, the sillier the results generated by the Black-Scholes option pricing model, and the greater the opportunity for people who didn't use it.

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About Michael Lewis

Quotes 127 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday October 16

The men on the trading floor may not have been to school, but they have Ph.

D.’s in man’s ignorance.

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The model used by Wall Street to price trillions of dollar's worth of derivatives thought of the financial world as an orderly, continuous process. But the world was not continuous; it changed discontinuously, and often by accident.

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We aren't natural statisticians. What we are is natural storytelling machines. And so what we do after we have the facts in hand is build a story to explain the facts.

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A thought crossed his mind: How do you make poor people feel wealthy when wages are stagnant? You give them cheap loans.

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Just because you've been successful and just because you've disrupted an environment, doesn't mean you're a role model or that you actually have anything to teach anybody. There's an awful lot of luck and accident in the world, and maybe you were just on the receiving end of that.

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He was blessed with an unconventional mind, which overcame his conventional middle-class upbringing.

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I think that fans are always looking for someone to blame.

Wouldn't it be nice if they looked in the mirror?

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The big Wall Street firms, seemingly so shrewd and self-interested, had somehow become the dumb money. The people who ran them did not understand their own businesses, and their regulators obviously knew even less.

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Those who know don't tell and those who tell don't know.

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Commitment, by its nature, frees us from ourselves and, while it stands us in opposition to some, it joins us with others similarly committed. Commitment moves us from the mirror trap of the self absorbed with the self to the freedom of a community of shared values.

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I was really interested in a pretty simple thing: what happens when someone tries to introduce moral considerations into Wall Street, what happens when someone wants to actually demand of himself and those who work with him that what they do is not just profitable but good and useful.

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Wall Street, with its army of brokers, analysts, and advisers funneling trillions of dollars into mutual funds, hedge funds, and private equity funds, is an elaborate fraud.

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All that was clear that the profits to be had from smart people making complicated bets overwhelmed anything that could be had from servicing customers, or allocating capital to productive enterprise.

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The Germans made just about every bad investment you could have made in the last 10 years. They invested in Icelandic banks. They invested in Greek government bonds. They were heavy into Irish banks, big into Irish banks, and they bought U.S. subprime mortgage bonds.

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Looking into it a bit, Jamie found that the model used by Wall Street to price LEAPs, the Black-Scholes option pricing model, made some strange assumptions.

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Yet another hedge fund manager explained Icelandic banking to me this way: you have a dog, and I have a cat. We agree that each is worth a billion dollars. You sell me the dog for a billion, and I sell you the cat for a billion. Now we are no longer pet owners but Icelandic banks, with a billion dollars in new assets.

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The sentimentality of baseball is very deeply rooted in the American baseball fan. It is the one sport that is transmitted from fathers to sons.

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The Moulin Rouge is, like the West Village and the Nasdaq, one of those places that people who don't like to take risks come to for the thrill of being on the spot where risks once were taken.

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Time and space are absolute. Diseases are evil spirits that inhabit the body. Parallel lines never meet. The earth is the center of the universe. Children are miniature adults. At one time in history each of these beliefs was generally held to be true. Each, however, gave way to different ideas and even different world views.

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The Red Sox are the local scapegoats.

It's hard enough to play baseball without being the local scapegoat too.

3

They [some countries] borrowed money to go acquire things, Indian power plants and Danish newspapers and British soccer teams. And they did it willy-nilly, and they themselves a story, that Icelandic history and culture and DNA leaves us very well-suited to being investment bankers.

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My client loved risk. Risk, I had learned, was a commodity in itself. Risk could be canned and sold like tomatoes.

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When something happens people didn't predict, they find ways to explain it as if it were predictable.

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Managers tend to pick a strategy that is the least likely to fail, rather then to pick a strategy that is most efficient," Said Palmer. " The pain of looking bad is worse than the gain of making the best move.

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The sports world is an echo chamber. All it takes is one quote from a general manager and a thousand sports columns bloom.

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He's a machine for competitive balance, .

.. Yes, the money is in New York. Yes, the money is in his hands. But he squanders money. Thank God for it.

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There has been this - and it's reflected in the broadcasts - this moronic use of statistics. Which has suggested to everyone who is intelligent the use of statistics is moronic.

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In their leaders, advisers, and experts, people much prefer overconfidence, total certainty, to any kind of doubt.

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The reason the Greeks don't pay taxes is they don't trust where their taxes are going, because they know these other Greeks are taking money from the state for doing nothing. So it's - it's an essentially corrupt society.

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Everything, in retrospect, is obvious.

But if everything were obvious, authors of histories of financial folly would be rich . . .

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What are the odds that people will make smart decisions about money if they don't need to make smart decisions--if they can get rich making dumb decisions? The incentives on Wall Street were all wrong; they're still all wrong.

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One absolutely cannot tell, by watching, the difference between a .

300 hitter and a .275 hitter. The difference is one hit every two weeks.

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Like Adam, formed from clay, children are formed from the biological material of which they are made or by the hands of their parents.

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Wall Street is not being made a scapegoat for this crisis: they really did this.

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It is far better to keep the enemy close, by bribing him with stock options, than to have him out in the wild, foraging.

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I confess some part of me thought, If only I'd stuck around, this is the sort of catastrophe I might have created.

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There was but one question he left unasked, and it vibrated between his lines: if gross miscalculations of a person's value could occur on a baseball field, before a live audience of thirty thousand, and a television audience of millions more, what did that say about the measurement of performance in other lines of work? If professional baseball players could be over- or under valued, who couldn't?

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