Michael Lewis has written at least five books which reached the New York Times best-seller list — and two of them were adapted into Hollywood movies. The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game shares the story of Michael Oher, a troubled teenager who (after being adopted in high school) goes on to become a professional football tackle. And Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game tells the story of how Oakland’s low-budget baseball team devised a player-recruiting strategy which led to a 20-game winning streak in 2002, and ultimately revolutionized the sport of baseball. Lewis has also written some surprisingly insightful books about the financial industry, including Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World. So I was delighted to discover some free caches of Michael Lewis’s writing online — along with an easy way to deliver them to my Kindle!
In the sports section of a tiny California bookstore, I’d discovered a wonderful Michael Lewis book from 2005 that I’d never heard of before. It’s a heartfelt memoir about his own high school baseball coach, and what young Michael Lewis learned when he took the pitcher’s mound in the 9th inning. Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life has a good point to make about today’s education system. But in typical Lewis style, he couples it with a great story.
Lewis remembers coach Fitz as “a 6-foot-4-inch, 220-pound minor-league catcher with the face of a street fighter hollering at the top of his lungs for three straight hours.” The eighth grade students were afraid of him, and his intensity spawned legends about just how tough Coach Fitz really was. Yet when the pressure is finally on, “Fitz leaned down, put his hand on my should and, thrusting his face right up to mine, became as calm as the eye of a storm. It was just him and me now; we were in this together.”
By the end of the story, I was convinced that this 96-page book would make a wonderful gift for a teacher — or maybe even for anybody who’s a parent. So I looked up the book on Amazon, where used hardcover editions of Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life are available for just one cent (plus shipping). “This is exactly the type of book you would want to send your grandchildren,” wrote one reviewer at Amazon, “or have your own children read.” There’s also a Kindle edition, which costs $8.99 — but then I discovered a delightful surprise.
One of the reviewers pointed out that the widely-spaced book was simply re-publishing a 9000-word article that Lewis wrote for the New York Times magazine. So I pulled up the article online, and then send it straight to my Kindle using the plug-in that Amazon built for my web browser. I don’t usually send articles to my Kindle for reading later – but this was the length of a small book.
just point your browser to
And as I was preparing this article, I discovered that it’s not the only Lewis book which is based on articles that are available online. Even his newest book Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World (released in 2011), is available in its entirety online – at least, according to a review on its web page at Amazon. “The entire book with the exception of a short introduction is available for free online…” the reviewer points out. “You can still find it for free by searching for ‘Vanity Fair Iceland’ All other articles can be found for free on VF’s website; just search for ‘Michael Lewis Vanity Fair’ and then click on the index of his articles.”
It looks like the reviewer is correct. Michael Lewis is the managing editor of Vanity Fair magazine, and the site includes an archive with all of his past articles. They’re all there, with enticing titles like Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds and The Man Who Crashed the World.
So the next time I’m craving the sharp insights of Michael Lewis, maybe I’ll just send those web pages to my Kindle!