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Michael Lewis is making the rounds lately promoting the audiobook version of his 1989 classic “Liar’s Poker.” The way I’ve heard it from a couple interviews now, there was an audiobook version of “Liar’s Poker” back in the day, but because it was on cassette tapes when it came out, the publisher just went ahead and sliced out a bunch of the book’s guts because the whole thing wouldn’t physically fit on the requisite number of tape spindles. So, this is the first time you can hear “Liar’s Poker” unabridged and read by the author.

No doubt many of the people reading this have already read “Liar’s Poker.” If you haven’t, you should. It’s one of those books that really immerses you in a bygone era. The numerous films about bond trading in the ’80s don’t hold a candle to “Liar’s Poker.” Lewis was there. Pick up a copy of his book, and you will be too.

Don’t feel bad if the bond-trading extravaganza of the 1980s was before your time. I was only 4 years old when “Liar’s Poker” came out. I don’t think of it as dusty history though, not yet. A lot of people, particularly observers of the financial system, came of age as readers of Michael Lewis, and saw the world he described coalesce into the one we now inhabit.

There is “Liar’s Poker,” of course. But there’s also “Flash Boys” (another bomb dropped on Wall Street, this time squarely targeting high-frequency trading); “The Big Short” (an essential autopsy of the 2007-09 financial crisis that doesn’t feel like homework and, somewhat remarkably, makes investor Michael Burry seem likeable); and numerous other notable works produced over a distinguished career writing about business, finance, and economics. Hell, Lewis even takes fairly frequent detours into sports (see “Moneyball”; “The Blind Side”) if that’s your sort of thing.

Fair to say I’m a fan. Which is why I was a little dismayed to hear Lewis poo-pooing the idea of writing a biography of Elon Musk.

“Look, if Elon Musk invited me to ride shotgun with him, of course I would,” Lewis said in a recent interview with DealBook. “I just don’t think he would. I don’t think I’m the writer he has in mind.”

Well, has anyone asked him?

There are already a number of books about Musk, including a bestselling biography by Ashlee Vance which I’m told is quite good (although I haven’t gotten around to reading it myself). Still, Vance’s book first came out in 2015; that was before Tesla became profitable, before SpaceX launched astronauts into orbit, and before The Boring Company flamethrowers. There is a lot of new ground to cover.

Plus, with due respect to the many writers who have done great work on Musk-related topics, there is just something about the Michael Lewis touch on a story. Nobody humanizes people in the business and financial world like Lewis does.

Maybe what Lewis was getting at when he said he probably wasn’t the writer Musk had in mind was age. Musk is a relatively spry world’s richest man at 50 years old, and he is known as a tech savant in cutting-edge, youthful-seeming fields. Lewis, on the other hand, is senior to Musk by 11 years, and is at this very moment going around talking about his experience as a bond trader in the ’80s, which does ring a bit paleolithic.

But the youths dominate popular culture enough already. We certainly don’t need them coming for the biography genre too. Only someone older than Musk himself will have actually experienced the historical context in which such a life germinated.

Lewis and Musk have a lot in common. Both turned out to be outsiders within their own fields. Both men have lost a child. I’m not sure if a writer sharing that with his subject makes for a better biography, but I do know people who have experienced such a thing understand something about one another that the rest of us cannot.

I don’t think Lewis should sell himself short. He might be just the one to ride shotgun with Musk for a while. As for Musk, he could certainly do worse in a biographer — I have every confidence that Lewis would broaden Musk’s appeal. Lewis has a gift for turning eccentricities into assets, and Elon Musk has eccentricities aplenty.

Lewis may have brought up writing about Elon Musk as no more than an offhand comment. Even so, on behalf of the reading public, I really hope this happens. I’m sure the results would be inspired.

Jonathan Wolf is a civil litigator and author of Your Debt-Free JD (affiliate link). He has taught legal writing, written for a wide variety of publications, and made it both his business and his pleasure to be financially and scientifically literate. Any views he expresses are probably pure gold, but are nonetheless solely his own and should not be attributed to any organization with which he is affiliated. He wouldn’t want to share the credit anyway. He can be reached at

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