The Fifth Risk

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The Fifth Risk
Fifth risk cover.jpg
AuthorMichael Lewis
CountryUnited States
PublisherW. W. Norton & Company
Publication date
October 2, 2018

The Fifth Risk is a 2018 non-fiction book by Michael Lewis that examines the transition and political appointments of the Donald Trump presidency, especially with respect to three government agencies: the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Commerce.[1][2][3][4][5] The book spent fourteen weeks on The New York Times non-fiction best-seller list.[6] A lengthy excerpt from the book was published twice by The Guardian,[7] using a quote from a top adviser to Trump in the title.

Barack and Michelle Obama acquired the rights to the book for a Netflix series about the U.S. government.[8] The 2022 American comedy series The G Word with Adam Conover is "loosely inspired" by the book.[9]


John MacWilliams, a risk management expert at the United States Department of Energy from the Obama Administration, gave Lewis the top five risks he saw for the department: broken arrows (loose nukes and nuclear accidents), North Korean nuclear weapons, the Iran nuclear deal, protecting the electrical grid from cyberterrorism, and internal project management. It is this fifth risk that inspired the title of the book.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Szalai, Jennifer (October 2, 2018). "Michael Lewis Makes a Story About Government Infrastructure Exciting". Book Review. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Klein, Joe (October 8, 2018). "Michael Lewis Wonders Who's Really Running the Government". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  3. ^ "The Fifth Risk". Kirkus Reviews. October 2, 2018. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  4. ^ "The Fifth Risk". Publishers Weekly. October 2018. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  5. ^ Blasdel, Alex (September 22, 2018). "Michael Lewis: The Big Short author on how Trump is gambling with nuclear disaster". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  6. ^ "Hardcover Nonfiction Books - Best Sellers - Feb. 2, 2019 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  7. ^ Lewis, Michael (September 27, 2018). "This guy doesn't know anything: the inside story of Trump's shambolic transition team". The Guardian.
  8. ^ Canfield, David (October 31, 2018). "The Obamas plan to adapt book about Trump administration for Netflix". Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  9. ^ White, Peter (November 19, 2020). "The Obamas' Higher Ground & 'Adam Ruins Everything's Adam Conover Team On Government Comedy Series For Netflix, Based On Michael Lewis' 'The Fifth Risk'". Deadline. Retrieved November 19, 2020.