Reviews

MONEYBALL: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Editorial Review - Kirkus - Jane Doe

A solid piece of iconoclasm: the intriguing tale of Major League baseball's oddfellows—the low-budget but winning Oakland Athletics. Here's the gist, that baseball, from field strategy to player selection, is "better conducted by scientific investigation—hypotheses tested by analysis of historical baseball data—than be reference to the collective wisdom of old baseball men." Not some dry ... Read full review

Review: Moneyball

Editorial Review - Bookreporter.com

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 ... Read full review

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Favorite
Favorite sports book ever

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This was a very enjoyable read. The lessons learned about how the A's beat an inefficient market can be applied to lots of other areas in life.

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This was a very interesting book on the economics of baseball. It is certainly a method of building a team to consider when you don't have the money to buy superstars. Taking a more closer look at the players and looking at them in ways others aren't can help to identify "hidden gems." It was a real eye opener for me, and now I might have to spend more time watching baseball.  

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The world of American baseball is an interesting mixture of predictably irrational and systems of survival. Michael Lewis is a phenomenal storytelling.

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Was this a book about baseball? Was it about business? Was it about manipulation of athletes and their temperament? Moneyball is about all of the above and more.
Lewis gives us personal concepts
that surround the career of one Billy Beane who managed the Oakland Athletics into contention with undervalued players with various qualities, both hidden and obvious, and astonishes the ‘club’ of baseball insiders with his methods, methods that are brought to him by non-insiders and computer nerds arriving on the baseball scene with non-traditional baseball skills that have countered the tradition: the namesake that is baseball. This book is so well written that many ‘insiders’ actually thought that Billy Beane was the author and not Michael Lewis. See Joe Morgan pages 271 – 273 and 293 for proof.
The computer delivers statistics for every possible event and outcome that can happen on the field of play; those stats, until Billy Beane put them to work had been the work of one Bill James who started keeping statistics while he watched over the assembly line and storage of Stokely Pork and Beans and their plant’s operations. His first book was a mimeographed document that sold 75 copies. Mr. James is the forerunner of all that Billy Beane and his Harvard graduates hold sacred: all those bloody stats that baseball fans are inundated with and always will be.
Statements like, “Every form of strength is also a form of weakness.” And “Pretty girls tend to become insufferable because, being pretty; their faults are too much tolerated. Possessions entrap men, and wealth paralyzes them. I learned to write because I am one of those people who somehow cannot manage the common communications of smiles and gestures, but must use words to get across things that other people would never say.” All the proceeding is from Bill James.
Lewis also winds up this documentary with financial theories that he is noted for in his Wall Street work as a Bond Trader for Goldman Sachs prior to becoming a full-time writer as evidenced by yours truly in Liars Poker and shorter pieces that I have read. He writes in this baseball book, “In the early 1980’s, the US financial markets underwent and astonishing transformation. A combination of computing power and intellectual progress led to the creation of whole new markets in financial futures and options. Options and futures were really just fragments of stocks and bonds, but the fragments soon became so arcane and inexplicable that Wall Street created a single word to describe them all: “derivatives.”” (p131) And with gems like, “Relievers are like volatile stocks. They're the one asset you need to watch closely, and then trade for quick profits.”
If you’re a player in business and/or sport this is a great read.
Gary McDonald
1941 --
 

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A great read for anyone who is interested in the economics of baseball. This shows the in depth analysis that goes on behind the scenese when dealing with the first year player draft. Billy Bean uses and interesting set of statistics to find players that are under rated or looked over.

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2003
Really, really enjoyable. How Bill James is right about so much, how screwed up baseball is. Lewis got great access.

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My first Michael Lewis book. Made me want to be a general manager. If you like baseball, you'll love this book.
The search for undervalued assets is on...

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All reviews - 26
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