Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
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What We're Saying
Branch Rickey by Jimmy Breslin, Viking Books, 147 Pages, $19. 95, Hardcover, March 2011, ISBN 9780670022496 Ask yourself: in business, how important is change? How hard is change? READ FULL DESCRIPTION
If you are a baseball fan, or even just a fan of great writing, I highly recommend you check out Michael Lewis's recent article for Vanity Fair about sports agent Gus Dominguez, who has been convicted (wrongly, Lewis believes) of smuggling Cuban baseball players to the United States. In it, he follows the story back to Cuba and paints a fascinating portrait of baseball there. Peter Gammons recently stated on Baseball Tonight that the most exciting baseball experience of his life was watching a game in Havana, and you can almost taste that kind of excitement in this piece by Lewis. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
Jerry Kaplan presents provocative ideas for how our broader economy—even our basic definition of “work”—will have to change as artificial intelligence advances. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
I’ve been reading a lot about baseball lately. In The Man with Two Arms by Billy Lombardo (coming in February 2010), a new father is thinking about his soon-to-be-born son. What about baseball? READ FULL DESCRIPTION
I posted last week on the amazing number of blog posts that have been appearing lately with lists of business books. The latest comes from BusinessJournalism. org, a site that is a part of National Center For Business Journalism at Arizona State University. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
In Michael Lewis' brilliant book Moneyball, he tells the story of Billy Beane the GM from the Oakland Athletics. Beane is asked to present to Major League Baseball the reason his organization has been so successful with no little money spent on big name, quality baseball players. His first PowerPoint slide said. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
I have been walking around with a October issue of Fortune in my bag for months. There is a special section in the 10/30/06 edition called Secrets of Greatness. The Q&A with Michael Lewis is what has kept in my bag. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
Our business book bestsellers for the month of June, 2015 READ FULL DESCRIPTION
The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing by Michael J. Mauboussin, Harvard Business Review Press, 320 Pages, $27. 00 Hardcover, November 2012, ISBN 9781422184233 Probability and percentages have been a hot topic this campaign season, as pollsters and poll watchers placed their bets on the numbers coming in and pundits argued that the numbers alone do not—cannot—reveal all. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
A few weeks ago, Fred Wilson from avc. com kicked up interest in books that entreprenuers should read. Fred, in particular, made the point that "there is way more insight to be gained from stories than from business books. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
There are a set of writers who we assign superpowers to in The 100 Best. To the Wall Street trader turned juggernaut writer Michael Lewis, we assigned interpretation. And that may not seem like much of a gift, but it is his ability to make apparent, to bring meaning and understanding to those hidden forces. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
With weary conviction, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote near the end of his life that "There are no second acts in American lives. " He gets picked on a lot for that, mostly because it's an easy and somewhat eloquent introduction to the many stories that get written about second acts in American life. READ FULL DESCRIPTION
"One of the best baseball—and management—books out.... Deserves a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame." —Forbes
Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball. Following the low-budget Oakland Athletics, their larger-than-life general manger, Billy Beane, and the strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts, Michael Lewis has written not only "the single most influential baseball book ever" (Rob Neyer, Slate) but also what "may be the best book ever written on business" (Weekly Standard).
I wrote this book because I fell in love with a story. The story concerned a small group of undervalued professional baseball players and executives, many of whom had been rejected as unfit for the big leagues, who had turned themselves into one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball. But the idea for the book came well before I had good reason to write it—before I had a story to fall in love with. It began, really, with an innocent question: how did one of the poorest teams in baseball, the Oakland Athletics, win so many games?
With these words Michael Lewis launches us into the funniest, smartest, and most contrarian book since, well, since Liar's Poker. Moneyball is a quest for something as elusive as the Holy Grail, something that money apparently can't buy: the secret of success in baseball. The logical places to look would be the front offices of major league teams, and the dugouts, perhaps even in the minds of the players themselves. Lewis mines all these possibilities—his intimate and original portraits of big league ballplayers are alone worth the price of admission—but the real jackpot is a cache of numbers—numbers!—collected over the years by a strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts: software engineers, statisticians, Wall Street analysts, lawyers and physics professors.
What these geek numbers show—no, prove—is that the traditional yardsticks of success for players and teams are fatally flawed. Even the box score misleads us by ignoring the crucial importance of the humble base-on-balls. This information has been around for years, and nobody inside Major League Baseball paid it any mind. And then came Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics.
Billy paid attention to those numbers —with the second lowest payroll in baseball at his disposal he had to—and this book records his astonishing experiment in finding and fielding a team that nobody else wanted. Moneyball is a roller coaster ride: before the 2002 season opens, Oakland must relinquish its three most prominent (and expensive) players, is written off by just about everyone, and then comes roaring back to challenge the American League record for consecutive wins.
In a narrative full of fabulous characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, Michael Lewis shows us how and why the new baseball knowledge works. He also sets up a sly and hilarious morality tale: Big Money, like Goliath, is always supposed to win... how can we not cheer for David?