Author Michael Lewis on optimism, luck and more

Sunday on 60 Minutes, acclaimed author Michael Lewis sat down with correspondent John Dickerson to talk about his new book on the COVID-19 pandemic, marking another of several appearances on the newsmagazine broadcast.

Lewis’ new book “The Premonition,” focuses on a group of doctors and scientists who saw the pandemic coming and tried to sound the alarm. 

In a series of rapid-fire questions recorded this Spring, Lewis says what surprised him the most about himself during the pandemic was his “ability to have a really rich inner experience with very little external stimuli.”

Lewis told John Dickerson he’s optimistic about “the future of the country,” but fearful “it’s going to take longer than it should for the country’s future to get rosy.” 

One thing Michael Lewis thinks more people should know? “How important luck is in life. And they should know it in a very deep sense, that they shouldn’t rationalize their own luck. Or bad luck. They should accept its randomness,” says Lewis.

“People need to understand more deeply the role of randomness. And once you understand the role of randomness, you’re much more sympathetic to people who have bad luck– among other things. And much more ironically detached from your own good luck.”

If he had one do-over in life, Lewis says he would return to the pitching mound of a high school baseball game in his native New Orleans, Louisiana. “Before we played John Curtis in the championship game my senior year, I would have gone and practiced pitching off the strange pitching mound I was asked to pitch off of. And we would have actually won the game,” says Lewis. 

Michael Lewis says he hopes his legacy will be his books. “I hope that a hundred years from now, people still read them, like, to see how we were.” 

Lewis is the best-selling author of 14 books and previously appeared on 60 Minutes in 2010 and 2014. 

60 Minutes Archive: Inside the Collapse 23:49

In 2010, Michael Lewis sat down with 60 Minutes to talk about his book “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine,” on the collapse of the subprime mortgage business. 

From the 60 Minutes Archive: Rigged 14:44

And in 2014, Lewis discussed his book “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,” which argued the U.S. stock market is rigged to benefit high-speed computerized traders. 

This article was originally published on May 2, 2021.