Somebodyisfromhere.com’s summer reading takes him to New York.
Somebodyisfromhere.com wanted to relax for the summer. After his grad school year was over he wanted to read something lazy. Perhaps he would find some fiction. Maybe a nice easy Nick Hornsby book or something.
First though he would read a quick non-fiction book, The Big Short, because, well, he’s in graduate school but still feels pretty stupid and he wanted to learn something.
After that, well, there was this real quick bio he wanted to check out.
His care free summer had quickly gotten away from him and he, unintentionally, went and learned some junk.
He took a step back, though, and learned that these two books represent the good and the bad about New York City.
A Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine is as dramatic as it sounds. It’s about the recent housing crash and is a story that could only happen in New York City.
Branch Rickey is about the Brooklyn Dodgers’ General Manager back in the day who made it his goal to desegregate the game of baseball and could have only happened in New York.
Somebodyisfromhere.com inadvertently is a huge Michael Lewis fan. He read Moneyball back in the day because he thought that idea was fascinating. He read The Blind Side because it seemed like a good underdog story. Somebodyisfromhere.com thought The Big Short would be a good read because he knew Lewis had a Wall Street background and, equally importantly, he knew Lewis had the ability to write to the masses
Sure enough The Big Short was enlightening. It was a story of greed and turning a blind eye. It was about the collective group thought of Wall Streeters that things will not go wrong only because it hasn’t before and since that was the case, why not press further? Further, it was about the outsiders that were smart enough to bet against it.
Branch Rickey was from Ohio. He went to Michigan Law School. He was a successful general manager in St. Louis. He originally tried to bring a black ballplayer to Missouri, but was told it was bad for business. Eventually, he held the same position for the Dodgers.
In Brooklyn, the religious non-drinker sold the idea that there were a lot of black ballplayers and the first team to take advantage of this untapped source would be able to win. The hunt then was on for the right player; a player that was talented enough to play and strong enough to put up with the rest.
Of course the right player was Jackie Robinson, a veteran of military service and UCLA, who had just been in some legal trouble. The rest is history.
Both books show an important side of New York City. One shows that New York can lead the world. The other shows New York has the power to take down.