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The lucky life of author Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis, the author of "Moneyball," "The Blind Side" and "The Big Short," shares the experiences that jumpstarted his career at the Ringling Town Hall.

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  • | 8:02 p.m. March 5, 2018
  • Sarasota
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Michael Lewis described his foray into finance as a “fluke.” He explained to a crowd March 4 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall during the Ringling College Library Association’s Town Hall Lecture Series that chance and charm led him to his first job as an investment banker. However, he soon learned that Wall Street was not where he belonged.  

“Part of my job was to persuade people to do things they should never do,” Lewis said of his career as an investment banker. With the fear of being trapped in his own success and questioning the dark world of loosely regulated finance, he left his job to pursue his dream of becoming a writer.

“There’s a lot of luck in a writing career,” he explained. “I had the enormous fortune of knowing that I always wanted to be a writer.”

Since leaving Wall Street, he has become a New York Times best-selling author, and three of his books have been turned into Oscar-nominated movies.

“You never know what book you've written until people start to read it,” Lewis said. He wrote his first book “Liar’s Poker” as part cautionary tale and part amusing account of his time on Wall Street. He hoped writing about his experiences would allow young people to rethink a career in finance. 

When the book was released, however, it turned out to have the opposite effect. He started receiving letters from college students who wanted nothing but a lucrative money-making career in Wall Street.  

“I attracted all these people. I thought I was going to ward people off a little bit, but instead the book created this lust for the job,” Lewis said.

During his talk, which was presented as a question-and-answer format with RCLA Town Hall Committee Chairwoman Emily Walsh, Lewis also touched on how Wall Street has changed since he wrote “Liar’s Poker,” his work in sports journalism and getting close with Steve Bannon, who he said might just be the topic for his next book.



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