Michael Lewis's new book, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, sounds fascinating—and important.

Brad Pitt bought the movie rights, so it's clearly got an interesting story to tell.

Michael Lewis tells the story of the folks who first figured out that the financial disaster was coming (the one that caused our current Great Recession). Lewis shows how these oddball stock traders figured out how Wall Street was making huge mistakes—when no one else could see it coming.

The following two interviews are must reading if you want to know how we got into the economic mess we are in. They're also riveting storytelling for the most part.

Learning professionals should listen to the interviews—and read the book too—for two themes: (1) How do people's mental models make it hard for them to understand the changing landscape, (2) How attempts at persuasion often fail in the face of these mental models. You might also find it fun to consider how you would "train" the citizenry to have a better understanding of how its government and Wall Street tycoons failed, how financial markets work, etc. Finally, note how Michael Lewis (and the interviewers) set up the dialogue to make a very difficult topic understandable. Great stuff!!

Interview with Terry Gross of Fresh Aire
About 40 minutes.

Interview with All Things Considered
About 9 minutes.