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Money Talk

Victor Mallet, 21 December 1989

Liar’s Poker: Two Cities, True Greed 
by Michael Lewis.
Hodder, 224 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 340 49602 9
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Lords of Poverty: The Free-Wheeling Lifestyles, Power, Prestige and Corruption of the Multi-Billion Dollar Aid Business 
by Graham Hancock.
Macmillan, 234 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 333 43962 7
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High Life 
by Taki.
Viking, 198 pp., £11.95, October 1989, 0 670 82956 0
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The Midas Touch: Money, People and Power from West to East 
by Anthony Sampson.
BBC/Hodder, 212 pp., £15, October 1989, 0 340 48793 3
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... starving children of Ethiopia, on the other the wheeler-dealers of the international markets, the Michael Milkens and their hundred million dollar salaries. Michael Lewis deals wittily with the bizarre and shameless world of the wealthy bond-dealers in Liar’s Poker. In Lords of Poverty Graham Hancock looks at the ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Big Short’, 18 February 2016

The Big Short 
directed by Adam McKay.
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... And that it may not matter what ain’t so as long as everyone else thinks the way you do. Michael Lewis, in the book the movie is based on, calls ‘not knowing’ a ‘talent’. ‘Their ignorance seems incredible,’ he says. ‘They’ in this case are traders who don’t know that sub-prime mortgages, waiting to default, make up 95 per cent ...

The Word on the Street

Elaine Showalter, 7 March 1996

Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics 
by Anonymous.
Chatto, 366 pp., £15.99, February 1996, 0 7011 6584 7
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... Nominations have included George Stephanopolous, James Carville, Paul Begala, the New Yorker’s Michael Kelly and Sidney Blumenthal, the screen-writer Erik Tarloff and New York political consultant Bob Shrum. New York magazine hired the Shakespeare scholar Donald Foster to run a computerised check of the text of the novel against several possible ...

Nudged

Jamie Martin: Nudge Theory, 26 July 2017

The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed the World 
by Michael Lewis.
Allen Lane, 362 pp., £25, December 2016, 978 0 241 25473 8
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... one ever made a decision because of a number. They need a story.’This realisation, as Michael Lewis recounts in The Undoing Project, his story of the intellectual partnership of Kahneman and Tversky, had an important effect on Kahneman’s work, and on his and Tversky’s efforts to overturn some of the basic assumptions of 20th-century ...

Scalpers Inc.

John Lanchester: ‘Flash Boys’, 4 June 2014

Flash Boys: Cracking the Money Code 
by Michael Lewis.
Allen Lane, 274 pp., £20, March 2014, 978 0 241 00363 3
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... transparent, had arrived at a point where most of their activity was secret and mysterious. Enter Michael Lewis. Flash Boys is a number of things, one of the most important being an exposition of exactly what is going on in the stock market; it’s a one-stop shop for an explanation of high-frequency trading (hereafter, HFT). The book reads like a ...

Is Michael Neve paranoid?

Michael Neve, 2 June 1983

... I am paranoid about the word ‘paranoia’, and the previous researches of, above all, Sir Aubrey Lewis have helped me indulge my fear. Lewis’s famous paper, ‘Paranoia and Paranoid: A Historical Perspective’, provides a framework around which some further historical speculations can be built. ‘Paranoia’ is a ...

Success

Benjamin Markovits: What It Takes to Win at Sport, 7 November 2013

... The best book I know on the relationship between sporting culture and success is Moneyball, Michael Lewis’s account of the 2002 Oakland A’s baseball team.† The argument is compellingly simple: sports teams are run like gentlemen’s clubs rather than businesses, and clubs don’t base their business decisions on facts but on codes and ...

‘I love you, defiant witch!’

Michael Newton: Charles Williams, 7 September 2016

Charles Williams: The Third Inkling 
by Grevel Lindop.
Oxford, 493 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 0 19 928415 3
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... prided himself on being the only person who could claim the friendship of those arch-enemies C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot. Lewis and Williams both aimed at the disruption of the realist novel though the use of erudite fantasy, drawing on Dante and Plato and Milton; they wanted to make contemporary England ...

Oh, the curse!

David Runciman: A home run, 19 February 2004

Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville: A Lifelong Passion for Baseball 
by Stephen Jay Gould.
Cape, 342 pp., £16.99, January 2004, 0 224 05042 7
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Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game 
by Michael Lewis.
Norton, 288 pp., $24.95, June 2003, 0 393 05765 8
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... be hugely valuable. Just how valuable it has proved to one team in particular is the subject of Michael Lewis’s fascinating Moneyball. Lewis’s book tells the recent history of the Oakland Athletics, one of the worst supported and least affluent teams in major league baseball. Most of the time, the order in which ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Lincoln’, 20 December 2012

... bleak without any sense of contradiction between the two effects. And then there’s Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln. The film would be worth seeing for this performance alone. All the apparatus of a Lincoln portrait is in place, as it would have to be: the beard, the stoop, the hat, the long coat. It’s a bit like putting together a kit for dressing up as ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: Wyndham Lewis, 11 September 2008

... Wyndham Lewis’s Modernism refuses a provincial label. His intellectual toughness and taste for self-promotion and polemic were foreign to the amateurishness that, he believed, vitiated Bloomsbury’s insular Post-Impressionism. Vorticism, the movement he set up with Pound and others around 1913 after a break with Roger Fry, would probably have had a short life even if the war had not intervened ...

The Biographer’s Story

Jonathan Coe, 8 September 1994

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers 
by Roger Lewis.
Century, 817 pp., £20, April 1994, 0 7126 3801 6
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... he joined the RAF and performed in Ralph Reader’s Gang Shows. Soon afterwards he teamed up with Michael Bentine, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan to form The Goons: slightly wearing to listen to now (I suppose you had to be there at the time) but routinely credited with having ‘revolutionised British post-war comedy’ – unless that was Monty Python or ...

Phantom Jacks

John Bayley, 5 January 1989

Jack: C.S. Lewis and His Times 
by George Sayer.
Macmillan, 278 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 0 333 43362 9
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J.B. Priestley 
by Vincent Brome.
Hamish Hamilton, 512 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 9780241125601
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Eddy: The Life of Edward Sackville-West 
by Michael De-la-Noy.
Bodley Head, 341 pp., £16, October 1988, 0 370 31164 7
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... we make in life, of ourselves to ourselves and to others. Everyone knows that jolly Jack Lewis and jolly Jack Priestley were not jolly at all inside, but there is a perennial pleasure in finding out what they did, what they liked and felt, and thus, in some degree, who they are. I doubt they would have got on together. Their loudnesses were not ...

Lost Mother

Michael Dobson, 17 February 2000

In My End Is My Beginning: A Life of Mary Queen of Scots 
by James Mackay.
Mainstream, 320 pp., £20, March 1999, 1 84018 058 7
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Mary Queen of Scots: Romance and Nation 
by Jayne Elizabeth Lewis.
Routledge, 259 pp., £14.99, October 1998, 0 415 11481 0
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Ancestry and Narrative in 19th-Century British Literature: Blood Relations from Edgeworth to Hardy 
by Sophie Gilmartin.
Cambridge, 281 pp., £37.50, February 1999, 0 521 56094 2
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... pantheon’s victory procession. It is this haunting which is the principal subject of Jayne Lewis’s splendid exercise in cultural history, Mary Queen of Scots: Romance and Nation. Although her book sets out to consider the representation of Mary from her own lifetime until the end of the Victorian age, it doesn’t really get into its stride until it ...

Elsinore’s Star Bullshitter

Michael Dobson, 13 September 2018

Hamlet and the Vision of Darkness 
by Rhodri Lewis.
Princeton, 365 pp., £30, November 2017, 978 0 691 16684 1
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... exactly what the play meant when it first appeared, the daunting task undertaken by Rhodri Lewis in Hamlet and the Vision of Darkness. At some point around 1600, when the play was still new, the Cambridge scholar Gabriel Harvey was already noting (in a blank space at the end of his copy of Chaucer) that Shakespeare’s Lucrece ‘and his tragedy of ...

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