Michael Lewis, author of bestselling books Liar's Poker, Blindside, and Moneyball, works out of a home office in Berkeley, California. He refers to it as his "man cave," and its walls are lined with piles of research for each of his current projects, ranging from a pilot for HBO to a book he's going to write on New Orleans, his hometown. Over the past several years, Lewis has become recognized as a leading expert on the financial crisis, regularly appearing on various national talk shows. Recently, in an interview on The Valley Girl Show, Lewis admits to stealing mugs from every TV show he goes on. "When I do book tours, I do TV shows and to keep myself interested, I steal the mugs," Lewis says. He clarifies by saying, "sometimes they give you the mugs, and sometimes I steal the mugs." His victims include some of the biggest names in TV. "Colbert told me I couldn't have a mug, and I just took it anyway," Lewis says matter-of-factly.
Lewis's current book tour is for Boomerang, a candid and sometimes scathing examination of the debt crisis in distressed economies like Greece, Ireland, and Iceland. He calls the book, which was also released as a series of articles in Vanity Fair, "financial disaster travel journalism." Lewis discovered that while the cause of the financial crisis might have been the same globally -- banks were willing to make increasingly risky loans at low interest rates -- the effects dramatically varied geographically. "I was amazed when I got into it just how peculiar the local effects were of the financial crisis," Lewis said.
Lewis has been a financial journalist his entire writing career. His first book, Liar's Poker, was based on his experiences working on Wall Street, and offers an early indictment of the reckless culture in investment banking. Lewis didn't always know that he wanted to become a writer, though. He didn't know any writers growing up, and he didn't even know anyone who knew any writers. "No one would have guessed that I would have become a writer," Lewis said. "My habits as a kid weren't the habits of someone who's destined to become a writer." He did read all the time, though, but "not in a geeky way," he insists.
When talking about his writing strategy, he admits that, like most people, he procrastinates until the last minute, but the key, he says is "when you sit down to write, if your first goal is to not be boring, that's not a bad goal to start with. Just don't be boring, and after that whatever happens is gravy."
Click below to see Jesse Draper's full interview with Michael Lewis on The Valley Girl Show, where he shows her his full stolen mug collection. Do you think Colbert will want his mug back? Comment below.
The Valley Girl Show features interviews with some of the top CEOs and entrepreneurs in the world. Past episodes have featured everyone from Eric Schmidt to Ted Turner, and USA Today called it "must see TV for startups." Visit www.ValleyGirl.TV.
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