tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg December 8, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EST
♪ announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: michael lewis is here. his books have sold more than 9 million copies. three have been adapted into successful feature films. his
new book is called "the undoing project: a friendship that changed our minds." it tells the story of two israeli psychologists, daniel kahneman and amos tversky. and some of their groundbreaking work uncovering the human mind. new york times says the book combines intellectual rigor with complex portraiture. he has written one hell of a love story and a tragic one at that. i am pleased to have michael lewis back at this table.
it is worth noting how you came to know these two guys. michael: i had written "moneyball." which was about the way in my mind that markets misvalue people, in this case baseball , players. there were cheap ones and expensive
ones. my interest was of that. if baseball players can be misjudged, who cannot be? question, whythe it happened. in a review after the book came out in the new republic, they said basically -- michael lewis has written a good story but he does not seem to understand there is a good source for all of this stuff. there are two israeli psychologists that did work on the biases, the cognitive biases of the human mind that lead to things like baseball players and
political candidates being misjudged and doctors misdiagnosing diseases. charlie: and most important how the mind works. michael: these two guys are named daniel kahneman and amos tversky. i read some of that stuff. i was embarrassed i had not heard of them. daniel kahneman had just won thw nobel prize for economics. even though he was not an economist. finally i was having drinks with , a psychology professor friend of mine. i dedicated the book to him. it never would have happened without him. i said this has been irking me. there is an origin story to "moneyball come: i do not know what it is. and he said that daniel kahneman has a house up the hill from you and i will hook you up. amos tversky had died in 1996 but daniel kahneman was still alive. six years before his nobel prize. i went up and saw danny. we struck up a relationship over the years. i would listen to him talk about the relationship he had with amos tversky.
i realized that the one term i had taught at the university of california berkeley, one of my favorite students was amos tversky's oldest child. and we had a friendship. their family was very generous and they opened his life to me. to the extent they could. and danny, it took him for three years to represent around the idea i would write a book about him. that is how the book started. it was organic. it took me quite a bit of time to see just what the story was. and how to tell it. it took me quite a bit of time to decide it was a book. charlie: in fact, you were not sure you were up to it. michael: true. it is not the first time i have felt that way but i felt more that way than i have ever felt before. there were a couple reasons. the superficial reasons were that at the heart of the book, you have an intellectual discipline, psychology, that i had to teach myself about.
and you had a backdrop of israel in the early days which is a really peculiar and interesting place. and war. i knew a bit about it but not enough to create that setting. but the biggest thing i think, the source of hesitancy was, i normally feel intellectually equal to my subjects. i can get my mind around my subjects and what they are talking about. in this case, the fertility and the power of these guys' minds was daunting. i knew i was going to be in the position of the b students trying to write about the a students. i felt like a gnat trying to get my arms around two elephants. and i knew in the back of my mind, danny kahneman is one of
the world sharpest critic and the greatest doubter of things. i knew whatever i did he would find it wanting. i knew i had a living subject with whom i had failed before i started. charlie: but go back to how israel had shaped him and how their experience in the military had shaped who they were. they were different characters. the new york times quoted that it was a love story. and a tragic one. they felt, how? michael: it was not sexual. but when they traveled together they were occasionally mistaken for a gay couple because they were inseparable. they were clearly in love with one another but they were heterosexual men. danny said it once, you go through life and you are in love with women and so on but with amos, i was rapt.
i think he felt, i know he felt that amos understood his mind better than anyone else even better than himself. it was like a jerry maguire thing. -- you complete me. they both felt there was a piece of themselves missing that they found in the other. but they were so different. even to their friends in israel, they were the least likely people to even be friends. and no one could imagine what was going on behind closed doors when they were working. it was a love of people who were very different from each other. and if they do not have that, they do not bother doing the work. at one point, it was pretty clear that the work was an excuse just to be together. i am serious. they were exploring how human nature and the human mind works but also, the joy was being together.
charlie: did they work from one typewriter? michael: in the beginning, they did not even have a typewriter. they were writing it together, side by side. someone who watched them said it was like watching two people brush each other's teeth. you cannot imagine how they did this. they write a sentence a day, was fast. the character as you say --amos tversky, is a literary character. they are both literary characters. tversky -- to anyone that encountered him, they came away with a sense that they had met someone unlike anyone else they had ever met. someone once designed an intelligence test. the intelligence test was the , longer after you meet amos tversky it takes you to figure out that he is smarter than you, the more stupid you are. everyone said he was the smartest man in the world. he was not pretentious about it.
he was a normal guy that was endowed with an incredible brain and a warrior. he had been trained by his society to be a spartan warrior and a killer. and without a shred of doubt totally self certain. , danny was a holocaust survivor. he had been a small child and had been hiding in barnes and chicken coops in southern france watching his father die but they and watching his father die but they could not seek medical care. he escaped france after the war. for the rest of his life, there is a kind of evasiveness about him as if he is still in hiding. people always felt a kind of removal from him. a formal distance from him and from his own mind. he never became wedded or committed to anything. he had all of these ideas. what he has is an incredible, fertile poet mind. he has startling insight after
startling insight with some analytical ability. not that of amos tversky. he was the idea generating machine. he never had the confidence. charlie: you are not saying one is smarter than the other, he -- they had a different kind of intelligence. michael: it gives the idea that science and art are two different things. someone has the classic, stereotypical scientific kind of mind, and someone with a very artistic mind. science is a product of a lot of artistic ability in good science. charlie: were they united by the same curiosity? jews afterey were world war ii living in israel at a time where it looked like it could be extinguished at any moment. they were interested in how the mind dealt with uncertainty and
how the mind made decisions when the situation was inherently probabilistic and life depended on it. they thought they were getting at something because everything in human life goes through the mind. if you can describe the tricks the mind plays on you in different situations, you are describing something fundamentally human nature. they were getting at the spirit that informs them which is their sense that humanity, human beings are inherently fallible. they are wired for certain kinds of mistakes. it is not shameful. we should not be ashamed of our fallibility. we should seek to understand it adapt to it rather than pretend we are infallible. at the center of the work, that was one of the ideas. we are going to demonstrate the inherent fallibility of man to deal with it. charlie: is that one of the things that happened in the u.s. election? the fallibility?
michael: you can watch what is going on through the lens that they built. they would say a few things about it. one is that one of the frightening things about donald trump is his insistence on his own infallibility. we know now that the mind is capable of doing strange things. if you are not suspicious of your own mind, you are likely to be way too confident about your judgments. his inability to modulate his judgments, and if he is wrong -- he makes up a story about why he is right, they also described it and call it hindsight bias. i knew it was coming even though i did not know it was coming. that is one of their phrases. or one of their students dreamed up the phrase. their insight that people try to make the world seem more certain than it really is. one of the ways they do it is to tell stories to explain what
they never could have predicted because it is unpredictable and in some ways, it is inexplicable. they would have things to say about donald trump and about his voters. the way people are attracted to overconfidence. president obama has this problem. he has had this problem from the beginning. he is intellectually honest and he is aware that his judgments might be wrong, but as president, you cannot come up to the podium and say -- i may be wrong. you have to project total certainty as a president and that is false. charlie: what has obama said he was wrong about? michael: he has done it often. i have to start thinking about it. it has enabled him to change his mind about gay marriage. what he actually thought and said he thought maybe two different things. he pretended to have problems with it and then he allowed the country -- charlie: that may have been a political opportunity, it was
politically viable to do it. michael: he was able to do it politically because he is a person that is capable of changing his mind. charlie: and the opinion on the ground changed also. michael: and so he could do that. they would also say whether knowingly or not, donald trump successfully exploited the weaknesses of the human mind. the ability to prey upon the kinks in the mind. for example, if you give people a vivid story about a mexican immigrant who happened to murder someone, you can whip up a general idea that this is what mexican immigrants do. people do not stop and say that you can determine that statistically. people do not think that way. they think in terms of vivid
examples. charlie: it gives power to a powerful narrative. but it has nothing to do with statistics. michael: one of the great points, the mind thinks in stereotypes. stereotypes are a tool for the mind, the mind makes very crude stereotypes. and you can get people to make a mistake of thinking that they are a great baseball player because they look like one. or make the mistake that they are not a good basketball player because they happen to be a 6'2" asian player. like jeremy lin. , inp thinks very crudely terms of stereotypes, and he preys on that tendency. charlie: the essential idea was that the mind is fallible. michael: that is a good start. charlie: that is at the core. michael: systematically fallible.
that we all make a certain kind of mistake. if our own reason is not just random firings of emotion, then whole markets can make a mistake. that is one of the ideas, at their core. they explore in some detail what those mistakes are. they did it with a curious science. charlie: if you look at all of the discoveries that they made about the human mind and how it works, can you attribute that to one or the other do you have to say in every case, it is something they came to together? michael: that is the question. that is the question that unraveled the relationship. everyone asked that question who , did it? people would say -- that sounds more like amos because he was so breathtakingly intelligent on the surface. people saw the work. they would say, we can see how amos could do this as opposed to danny.
while they were in israel, people did not pay attention to who did what. the answer is -- you cannot say. they did work separately but it was unlike what they did together which had its own voice. neither one of them would have been able to do that alone and they both acknowledged that to themselves, each other, and the world. but the world did not want to hear it. macarthur genius award without danny. he was admitted to the national academy of sciences without danny. he was given the fastest, i was told by the stanford administration, the fastest tenured appointment in the history of stanford university. they found out he was available in the morning and in the afternoon, they gave him a job offer and they do not think to offer danny a job.
the world thought -- the world is hostile to collaboration. makes me wonder if they are hostile to marriage people need , to assign individual credit. but the couple was under constant assault from the outside, especially the academic world, to say who did what. and that was a horrible mistake. when they were together, -- and danny actually said in an interview that was never published in the early 1980's, and he said -- separately we are ok, but together we are genius. the idea that you have to pick it apart is such a shame. let them stay together. the magic is there. charlie: why did they break up? michael: when you read the story, danny pushed him away. many thought that amos' voice was so strong that he grounded out.
they were consumed by him. if you spent a lot of time with amos, you could not get him out of your head. danny could deal with that. this is what i think happened. on the surface, amos got all of the credit. danny got very little of it. status went through the roof. he was a global, academic rock star. and danny was maybe a little envious but i don't think that was what actually drove them apart. what drove them apart was danny's perception that as their situations and status became unequal, that the feelings from amos changed and he began to believe the press clippings. charlie: that was what danny thought. michael: maybe he felt condescended to. danny felt of that he became another person amos could be slightly contemptuous about. i do not know if that is true. i think danny felt that way. he was -- it was incredibly wounding because they were in
love. danny fled. charlie: amos must have seen that coming. he had extraordinary intelligence. michael: the stereotype is like the powerful man and the woman who is important to him but he does not acknowledge her. and she just gets sick of it. the dynamic is kind of that. there is a line that amos writes to danny, that to me captures inability to measure his emotions. he says i do not get your sensitivity metric. i think there were limits to the emotional intelligence of amos. i think he thought, judging by the correspondence, that danny should not need the bucking up that he needed. that it would be insulting to danny to condescended make him feel better. charlie: how long did you work on this?
michael: eight years. it is now 2016. michael i met him in 2008. : or in 2007. charlie: amos died in 1996. michael: i saw the book in my head by 2010. and told danny. it took me another couple years to make him feel ok about it. and then another year until i had the nerve myself to write it. i really worked on it exclusively for only a couple of years. ♪ ♪
charlie: did he say that he thought a book about the two of them would over exaggerate the difference in their characters? michael: he said that i was going to have to over exaggerate their differences. i did not. no one would say that i did that if they knew them. the differences were cartoonish. they were already so striking. danny, i think is a little more invested than anybody would imagine. they were similar in some ways but not in the ways that people around them really noticed. he justifiably had concerns that i would have to write them as caricatures.
andy had concerns that i would , muck it up trying to explain it to people. and i think he also, in retrospect, had concerns that i would force him to relive the most painful but wonderful relationship in his life. two incredibly -- i mean world historic intellects meet and fall in love, the intensity of the thing is almost like a physical pain. charlie: there is intense pain because it is no longer there. and intense sense of loss. michael: and regret. a huge sense of regret. charlie: that he walked away. michael what they may have been : able to do. they were working on the "the undoing project." when they broke up. they were working to figure out
how the human imagination operated. danny had a great idea to explore the difference between the happiness people anticipate from some good or experience compared to the happiness that they actually experience in the moment compared to the happiness that they remember from the experience. different forms of what economists call utility. there is not just one utility there is experience, expected, , and remembered. this work did not get done. charlie: the love that they felt -- simply love of one mind for another -- i have met something really special. or did it have to do with a broader sense? i like everything about danny. it is not just a giant intellectual connection. michael: it was more than intellectual. there was a very emotional connection. charlie: what was that? michael: for these kind of
people, the intellectual connection is emotional. in theirvery of things own minds is as good as sex and maybe better. and the feelings it generates when they realize the value of their own thoughts is intense. but i think they made each other laugh constantly. they made sense of the world around them together that they could not do individually. charlie: they did things together that they could not do separately. in terms of the way they looked at the world? everything? michael: and keep in mind they are in israel. they're not just a couple of academics sitting there. they are fighting in a war for six years and advising the israeli air force about how to train the pilots and the israeli government about what to do regarding the arabs on the border. they are putting into practice
things they are thinking so it is real and relevant at the same time. if this is not too much of a stretch -- the thought they have may help serve their society and their culture. charlie: without the other, they felt incomplete? michael: i think that is true. i think that they discovered something of themselves in the other that they could not define anywhere else. in both of them you see them seeking partnerships after they split and none of them were even close. charlie: this is what you quoted -- this is what they were engaged in -- undoing a false view man has in himself. the false view man has is that man is always right? michael: it is more that people are basically rational and the mind is an exquisitely evolved tool that solves problems.
it is designed to solve all the problems it faces. charlie: but what is it they found about the irrationality? if it is not rational, it is irrational. michael: they were careful not to use the word rational. they did not want to debate what rationality is. certainly sub optimal. maybe people would say that they preferred letter a versus b -- they did not choose between the things but rather they chose between descriptions of things. they did a study -- it is a terrifying example. amos did a study -- if a patient, you charlie -- i tell you as the doctor. we get news that you have terminal cancer.
and it will kill you in six or seven years. but, guess what, there is an operation we can do right now but we have to do it right now and it is risky. but, guess what, there is an and we have to decide whether we are going to do it. and the way it is presented to us as patient and doctor is that there is a 10% chance you will die during the operation, we are half as likely to have the operation then if it is presented as there is a 90% chance that you're going to survive the operation. one is presented as a loss and one is presented as a gain. you describe the same thing, exactly the same thing. 90% chance of survival and 10% chance of death. the doctors could change their mind about doing the operation. i think it is fair to say that is irrational. charlie: the frame of the assumption can determine the answer.
michael: the choices people make are heavily influenced by the architecture around them as they are making it. charlie: when you go on holiday, and the first two days are rainy and awful, and the last two days are sunny and wonderful, you will remember the sunny and wonderful. michael: this is related. danny did studies of people's colonoscopies. that was back when they were painful. he had an idea which turned out to be true. if you and i go through the same colonoscopy. and it takes two hours. and we endure the same amount of pain. and at the end of the two hours, they say -- charlie, you are done. you can go.
but they keep me on the table for another hour enduring more pain but less pain. because of and on a less miserable note, i will remember it more fondly than you and are more likely to come back for another colonoscopy. he called it the pecan roll. the way things and have a disproportionate influence over people's experience of the event. moviemakers know this. the ending is so much more important than the rest of the movie. how people feel when they walk out of the theaters is driven by what is on the screen. that is why they test different endings and not different middles. think about how bizarre this is. if i am trying to get you to come back for another colonoscopy in five years -- is to make it worse than it has to be so you can end on a less painful note. and you can manipulate people's choices and experiences in that
way. charlie: what was startling that you discovered about what they knew? i assume it is some variation of this but go ahead. michael: there are so many different insights they had -- there are different nuggets they find along the trail. the big thing that is hammered home into my brain from spending all of this time with him is how hard it is to preserve a proper sense of uncertainty about the world around you. how hard it is to not leap to conclusions, leap to overconfident guesses, predictions about what is going to happen and realize that there are so many different paths that reality can take. and as amos says, reality is not a point, it is a cloud of possibilities. at any given time, the world can
go in a lot of different directions in small and big ways but we do not want to see it that way. we wanted to be much more deterministic than it is. charlie: one might listen to their own personal characteristics and their natures, danny being more doubtful and say that this shows that danny's personality is the prevailing question about the mind. it is more doubting. less certain. whereas amos had gone through life totally certain. being viewed as the most brilliant, the most right. michael: and he was sometimes insufferable in that way. charlie: and therefore danny is more reflective of the result they determined is the most accurate picture of the mind. michael: danny is more true to the work. that is absolutely true. danny was the embodiment, the human embodiment of the work and amos was not. it took danny's incredible
capacity and talent for doubt and questioning to jolt the certainty of amos. amos had a sense that whatever his instincts were, were right. and the thing that most people thought was in his case, amos is right. he was right about so much. but when he was wrong, he did not handle it well. he was not the embodiment of the work that danny was. charlie: we live in a digital world today in which there is so much data out there. and there is a huge, giant industry growing up in terms of individual companies and institutions which is the capacity to analyze data gives you decision-making ability that you have never had before. that is data. the power of data. michael: the power of technology. charlie: and what would they say about that?
michael: they would say it is all good, it is partly a response -- if human gut instinct was really great, you would not need "moneyball." you would not need statistical analysis of baseball players. you would look and say, i know that guy is a good baseball player. charlie: "moneyball" was based on statistics. as much as you could know. michael: knowledge of the player in terms of performance statistics. the idea is only valuable if you can find things in those statistics that the human eye was missing. and the human eye was missing quite a bit. their relationship to the big data movement is that they kind of explained partly the power of big data. it is partly a response to the poverty of human intuition. just partly. but partly it is actually being able to create new information.
partly it is a response to human limitations. charlie: take the people you wrote about in "moneyball." did they know who these characters were? and the link between what they were doing and what danny and amos had done? michael: this is funny. i did not know, i would not have thought to ask them. it turns out, yes. paul, who was the jonah hill character in the movie, he was the statistic geek that brad pitt brought in. he was steeped in behavioral economics, self-taught which was spawned by danny and amos' work. they are taking advantage of these mistakes in the marketplace. and he realized there were categories of mistakes, kinds of mistakes, particular biases that the scouts were exploiting.
he needed to know what they were. he was very aware of the work. via behavioral economics. funny enough the other channel , of influence for "moneyball" was bill james. he was the original questioner of conventional baseball wisdom who had self published and is now world famous. he was looking at baseball players in new ways and was leaning heavily on statistics. when i was going through amos' file cabinets, i found letters from bill james. charlie: asking what? michael: amos was interacting in a three-way conversation with a statistician at yale. they were referring to amos' work.
it was up in the air. they were present and i did not realize it. i think it was a very small world when james starts writing in the early 1980's. people were saying a lot of conventional wisdom is wrong and now we have tools with the computing power and tools showing how it is wrong. charlie: and theo epstein -- is he a disciple of this? michael: key, as a child of this. he would distance himself a little bit because politically you cannot weld the old baseball world and the new baseball world together without deference to the old baseball world. he had a tight rope to walk. but, theo epstein -- virtually everyone was successful this year in the playoffs.
the indians and the general managers also were heavily reliant on sophisticated statistical analysis. but that is not to say that there is not a role for human beings. but the role is different from what it has historically been. charlie: what is the role? michael: gathering information not in the algorithm. it is nice to know when you are looking at the performance statistics of a college player and he looks great -- it would be nice to know that he had a cocaine addiction or he got into a car accident the day before the draft. charlie: does this have anything to do with artificial intelligence? michael: funny you ask to that, because amos was asked the same question in 1981. he turned to the interviewer and said, my work has less to do with artificial intelligence than it does with natural stupidity. [laughter] michael: you can make an
argument that the reason artificial intelligence is supplanting human intelligence is the weakness of human intelligence which is the same argument for big data. but they did not see their work that way. charlie: it is called the new field of behavioral economics. michael: it drives psychologists crazy. it is not new. it is cognitive psychology. economists are really good at branding. that is why. they are really good at branding. richard failer is the bridge in economics. he had a lot of ideas of his own. he gave it the name -- behavioral economics. there were actually discussions about what to call it. it is a fine name, but it is not fair to psychology. charlie: do they teach this at stanford? michael: it is catnip for them. [laughter] michael: i have interviewed professors at harvard, not
included in the book, what these teachers do at the beginning is they want to show the incoming class that their minds are not as great as they think. and so what they do, this is a typical thing they do at the harvard business school, the beginning class -- they have everyone write down the last two numbers of their cell phone on a piece of paper. and now, i want you to estimate the percentage of countries in the united nations that are from africa. they then show that the people who have high digits on their cell phones, estimate higher numbers for the african countries. you might say that 28% of the countries are from africa in the u.n. charlie: tricks that your mind
plays on you. michael: danny and amos call it anchoring. a completely irrelevant piece of information asked before the question you're asking influences your answer. this is scary. michael: there is a lot that is scary about this. the mind can do crazy things. charlie: we are talking about all kinds of decisions made every day that may be life and death, that may have to do with the future of nations, that may have to do with -- michael: sentencing criminals. they have touched so many spheres of human activity. this is why i fell in love with this story. this relationship, and it all starts with the fire of the relationship, and it leads to all of that. charlie: two things i want to ask you. you quote voltaire.
doubt is not a pleasant condition. doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is an absurd one. a loud condemnation of certainty. michael: this is right at the center of what these guys are introducing into existence. in fact, people ask --what advice can i get from your book? my advice is that if you are looking for people to give you advice whether it is political leaders, your doctor, your financial advisor -- if they are really confident and totally sure of what they are telling you in the direction of the stock market or the diagnosis of your disease or how they will fix the economy, do not hire them. you want someone that has the capacity to doubt his own predictions because they are inherently fallible.
we do not live in a deterministic world. something can always come along and surprise them. to retain the capacity and understanding that they might be wrong it is a sign of , intelligence and honesty. charlie: does this help you make wiser decisions? michael: there are two answers. one is no and the other is yes. the no answer is they would say, i think, that these cognitive illusions, the tricks of the mind are a lot like optical illusions. and the way that the mind is fooled, like the eye is fooled with an optical illusion, even when someone shows you that the water on the desert highway is not water. and it is a mirage. you still see the mirage. they say cognitive illusions are like that. even when they are pointed out, it does not change.
however, i will tell you what i think. i think that they introduced paths to dealing with weaknesses and one of them is that other people are good at seeing your mistakes. you may be tricked by the optical illusion but they can see you being tricked. creating a decision-making environment when you have checks on you is good. practical ways they propose that as well. ♪ ♪
charlie: malcolm gladwell said about you -- that he is in awe of you. and he says it is like watching tiger woods. are other people better at understanding your magic then you are? and is it more simply industry for you rather than poetry? do you know what i mean? michael: it is not work for me so it is not industry because that implies work. i get enormous pleasure from what i do. charlie: but you understand that what you have -- michael: i am not an idiot savant. i do basically understand what a.m. doing what i -- when i do it.
i do not feel -- malcolm likes my books more than i do. and malcolm might have done a better job with this i think. i have my limitations as a writer and i bump up against them. i can see what i have going for me also and i try to play to my strengths. charlie: describe what you are good at? michael: i am good at creating characters on a page and propelling a narrative forward, i am good at seducing people into learning things. once you get them, you can take them anywhere. and the feeling of trust between writer and reader, this is awfully weird there is a weird algebra note but i will trust the writer. you create the feeling of trust that i will not wasted their time and energy. i do that well. charlie: take a look at this list. liar's poker, moneyball, the blind side, boomerang, the big short. and now this. the "undoing project." where do you put this?
michael: i have never said this about a book before but this is , the best book i have written. charlie: because it is done better? michael: the level of difficulty is high but it is also the quality of the material and the importance of the material is off the charts. charlie: when amos died, what did he know? did he feel -- we are just getting going and i am going away? michael: the last thing he wanted to know -- and there is some evidence that he kept himself alive to find out if netanyahu was going to win the first election. he waited for the election results and said i will not see peace in my lifetime. charlie: he was on the labor side. michael: he and danny -- they
wrote about this -- regarding the bias for hawkish behavior. charlie: they talked about biases. michael: biases were mistakes -- the mechanisms generated. you could know the mechanism by the mistakes they made. the ones they are responsible for naming, such as regency bias meaning you are overweighting the likelihood of what ever just happened, happening again. a hurricane hits new orleans and floods it, everyone thinks that another one will happen in the next few years. a terrorist attack, you are waiting for another one. charlie: did danny give you access to his letters in the same way that amos did? any,el: he does not have he lost them in the oakland fire of 1989. he gave me access to what he acknowledged.
he pretended he had a very fallible memory, he remembered some stuff. charlie: what did you get from those? michael: they were wonderful. charlie: because? michael: they were such a clear personality. every did he did -- everything he did expressed himself every , note he made on the page. they expressed him. he kept letters between him and danny, both sides of the correspondence which was really helpful. charlie: did they ever use the expression -- i love you? michael: no, there was a manly reticence as danny put it. but it is between every line. amos kept, amos had a thing with his papers. someone described the way he handled his mail.
he did not do anything he did not want to do including opening a letter. he would have stacks of mail for a week on the table. when the new mail came, anything he had not opened the week before, he threw in the garbage, including dinner invitations and bills. if i did not open it in a week, it must not be important. he had not opened the week he did not keep stuff. what he kept in file had meaning to it, the reason he kept it. it was letters. and notes to himself. about work he was doing. when they were breaking up, there were notes. i had notes that he made in preparation with his call with danny. defending himself, he had a list he was a list maker. , you can see he was making lists of the charges danny was going to level at him during the phone call and his responses.
i even got to know his shorthand. charlie: why did they say their military service shaped their lives? michael: young men facing those circumstances, the vulnerability of the state. amos found himself having to be very brave, very young. he had shrapnel in his body when he died. still. he said to people that it was odd is that these things that were random acts of avery when i was 19 defined my life. i had to be brave about everything. danny is by nature -- had it not been for world war ii, he would have been a french intellectual and he would have been happy in the academy and never out of it.
israel, the army forced him into the world. and the first thing he does of real substance in the army in his early 20's is he does "moneyball" for the israeli army. he redesigned the officer selection system. and they are still using that system. he got a sense of himself at a young age. someone who thought that big practical consequences. danny had noticed after his beloved nephew, two days before his release from the israeli air force had flown his fighter jet into the ground by mistake. he thought he was going up but he flew down. and the way -- that everyone was grief stricken, danny being danny, he did not experience grief, he watched the grief. he stepped back from his own
grief. everyone was saying -- if only. if only he had been released two days earlier. if only the flare had not gone off and blinded him. he noticed there were rules to had to undo the death of his nephew. he and amos began to study the way people undid tragedy as a way to get at how the human imagination worked. they established rules. if you want to undo something and create an alternative reality, you pick the thing that happened at the end. you work from the end and work back. first, you change the outcome. comey's emails, what they election, they went right to the emails. why not her speeches or campaign strategy? charlie: she went right to comey's emails. michael: a million things could