Michael Lewis Has More Thoughts on S.B.F.

“I’ve never had better material,” Michael Lewis said. “The material is unbelievable. And it was. But it had to pass through this American moral filter.”
“I’ve never had better material,” Michael Lewis said. “The material is unbelievable. And it was. But it had to pass through this American moral filter.” Photo: David Levenson/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
November 26, 2023

There was a moment during Michael Lewis’s many, many hours of interviewing Sam Bankman-Fried that struck the legendary author as particularly absurd: Sam was trying to figure out whether Donald Trump would just disappear for $5 billion. “Everyone has a price, right?” S.B.F. thought. But Lewis was highly skeptical of the idea. “He just looked at me,” Lewis told me in a recent conversation. “He was trying to figure out whether it was legal at that point to do it.”

Lewis continued: “I said, ‘Look, you give Donald Trump $5 billion and he pinkie swears he’s not running for president. What do you think is going to happen? You really think he’s going to just honor that agreement? He’ll take your $5 billion and run, right? So what are you doing?’” Michael told me he thought it was a funny idea and couldn’t believe S.B.F. and Donald were actually talking about it. “But I did think, ‘This is nuts. This isn’t going to work.’ I love the spirit of it, but it’s not going to work.”