Michael Lewis is Washington’s new darling

Well, savvy Berkeleyside readers already know that Michael Lewis’ new book, The Big Short, sold 162,000 copies in its first month.

But now there’s news that the book has captured the attention of our country’s lawmakers. According to a story on the website Politico, The Big Short has been mentioned at least 15 times in the hallowed halls of Congress — on the Senate floor, in committee meetings and in press conferences.

Dick Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip, stopped pontificating during a discussion on regulatory reform to recommend the book to his colleagues.

“I’m going to plug a book: Michael Lewis’s ‘The Big Short,’” he said.


Senators Chris Dodd and Harry Reid also gave the book a shout out during Senate debates.

And its not just Democrats. According to Politico, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are quoting from the book.  Republican Senators John Ensign of Nevada and Kit Bond of Missouri have mentioned the book.

Lewis met with House Republicans in the fall to talk about the financial crisis. He was so well-received that meeting turned into a three-hour Q and A session. Then Bay Area Congresswoman Jackie Speier asked him in May to address the House Democratic Caucus. Since then, Lewis has been getting phone calls at his Berkeley home from house staffers with questions about the meltdown.

Lewis, who has finished his book tour and is back in Berkeley recuperating, finds all this attention a bit unnerving.

“When senators are reading your book, it reaffirms your faith in society, on the one hand,” he told Politico, “and, on the other hand, it makes you nervous, because I don’t think of myself as advising people who are actually going to change things.”


Lewis will probably get even more smiles after he published this satirical op-ed in the New York Times about the banking regulations.

Hat-tip: Andy Fremder