Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2003 - Business & Economics - 288 pages
1966 Reviews
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?
  

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5 stars
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3 stars
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2 stars
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He is a good writer, easy to read and very informative. - Goodreads
The writing in this one struck me in the wrong way. - Goodreads
Open-minded, well researched and INTERESTING. - Goodreads
Fast read and fun insight into the game. - Goodreads
The portrayal of scouts was insulting as well. - Goodreads
Baseball, stats and great storytelling. - Goodreads

Review: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

User Review  - Cody Cunningham - Goodreads

I really enjoyed this one. It was well-written, and I was fascinated to see how differently the A's approach to the game was in comparison to the one I learned growing up. If you're a fan of baseball, you'll enjoy this book. Read full review

Review: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

User Review  - Paul - Goodreads

Michael Lewis' Moneyball was a quick read about a different and unacceptable approach, an unconventional idea implemented with its far-reaching applications and consequences beyond standardizing ... Read full review

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Selected pages

Contents

THE CURSE OF TALENT
3
HOW TO FIND A BALLPLAYER
14
THE ENLIGHTENMENT
43
FIELD OF IGNORANCE
64
THE JEREMY BROWN BLUE PLATE SPECIAL
97
THE SCIENCE OF WINNING AN UNFAIR GAME
119
GIAMBIS HOLE
138
SCOTT HATTEBERG PICKIN MACHINE
162
THE TRADING DESK
188
ANATOMY OF AN UNDERVALUED PITCHER
217
THE HUMAN ELEMENT
244
THE SPEED OF THE IDEA
263
THE BADGER
281
Acknowledgments
287
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Michael Lewis was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on October 15, 1960. He received a BA in art history from Princeton University in 1982 and a Masters in economics from the London School of Economics in 1985. He is a non-fiction author/journalist of mostly financial themes. His books include Liar's Poker, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, The Money Culture, Boomerang, and Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.

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