There is a big difference between reporting the details of a story and creating a compelling story out of those details. Felix Salmon of Reuters writes about Michael Lewis, “Lewis is the best writer in financial journalism by some large margin, and much of what he does when reporting and writing his stories is simply unique.” It is not too often that a writer reporting financial news for the New York Times or Wall Street Journal is also creating and producing some of the best and most popular non-fiction works of his time. Lewis is able to adjust his writing style so successfully that he can be a large player in two entirely different genres of writing. This is something that many writers do not accomplish. When a writer achieves success in one genre, more often that not, they remain in that genre for as long as they are able to be successful. They do not transition from one style of writing to another while maintaining high levels of recognition and praise for their work in each.
Salmon continues, “No one else could make them care about Greece’s role in the European financial crisis; Lewis’s article on the country is a veritable master class on how to take a dry and recondite subject and make it thoroughly entertaining.” The ability to sell an overtly academic and economic article to an audience as broad as Vanity Fair’s is remarkable. Lewis has a diverse portfolio of work as a result of his ability to reach almost any audience and entertain them.
I believe than anyone interested in writing professionally envies Lewis’ ability to report and tell stories. Lewis possesses flexibility as a writer that allows him to tell virtually any story to any audience and quite successfully at that.