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Moneyball : the art of winning an unfair…

Moneyball : the art of winning an unfair game (original 2003; edition 2003)

by Michael Lewis

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3,555931,487 (4.21)62
Title:Moneyball : the art of winning an unfair game
Authors:Michael Lewis
Info:New York : W.W. Norton, 2004, c2003.
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Sports, Baseball

Work details

Moneyball : the art of winning an unfair game by Michael Lewis (2003)

  1. 10
    Dollar Sign on the Muscle: The World of Baseball Scouting by Kevin Kerrane (bostonian71)
    bostonian71: A good look at how baseball scouts work and what they look for, and an interesting counterpoint to the stats-based approach described in Moneyball.
  2. 10
    The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First by Jonah Keri (tmarlow05)
    tmarlow05: Details the rise of the Tampa Bay Rays. Shows how techniques used on Wall Street can be utilized to put together a competitive baseball team.
  3. 11
    Born to run: the hidden tribe, the ultra-runners and the greatest race the world has never seen by Christopher McDougall (zhejw)
    zhejw: Both books are stories of outsiders changing the conventional way of approaching a sport. Both authors write compelling narratives that draw the reader into the stories of the individuals who are at the center of this new way of looking at their sport.
  4. 00
    Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey--and Even Iraq--Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport by Simon Kuper (chazzard)
    chazzard: The authors of Soccernomics frequently refer to Moneyball, and apply similar statistical methods.
  5. 13
    Freakonomics: a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt (tcarter)

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» See also 62 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
Very good book. Better than the movie. ( )
  XXXXX2 | Aug 7, 2015 |
Very good book. Better than the movie. ( )
  BenjaminDKline | Aug 7, 2015 |
I am envious of Lewis' talent and craft, and I find myself increasingly wanting to emulate him for my non-fiction projects. There's something about how he focuses on the most interesting parts of a very interesting story, sort of a fractal approach to reporting. Specifically, he takes a particular baseball wonderment, and pauses at the fascinating parts to dissect them and blow them wide open. The Bill James section was filled with information I had previously not known about my favorite game, and now I appreciate it even more! It is also amazing to realize that during key parts of the A's run of success, Lewis was right there! In the flesh! His part was being the greatest fly on the wall ever for a non-fiction book! The afterword is positively revelatory, and the book is absolutely a remarkable piece of journalism. Bravo. ( )
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |
I read The Blind Side before seeing the movie, but watched Moneyball before reading this book. Lewis' writing on sports just lends itself to good movies that are able to stick closely to the book. The book reads like the movie just with more detail, and the movie captures some of the more fun scenes in the book very well. "I couldn't do a regression analysis but I knew what one was." Billy Beane is much smarter than the movie made him out to be, Beane read all of Bill James' abstracts and devoured articles on baseball analysis; the A's genius wasn't all based on egghead Paul DePodesta's work, though DePodesta did pioneer a few models and built much of the computer work. Beane could easily run up statistical refutations of media criticism, such as the A's supposedly not "manufacturing runs in the playoffs."

Lewis apparently got interested in the A's after the 2001 season and was present for part of 2002, given access to Beane and the clubhouse and apparently the 2002 draft. (The draft drama is largely absent from the movie.) This wikipedia page on the book gives an update on how the A's draft analysis panned out. At first glance it appears they did not fare much better than randomness, but perhaps in sports a slight edge makes a big difference. Lewis was there for the famous streak-breaking game where the A's blew an 11-run lead. The movies portrayal of those moments are quite good. Beane has a darker temper and is much more profane than Brad Pitt's character portrayed (there is no shortage of f-bombs in this book).

Another difference between versions is that Oakland manager Art Howe understood that Billy Beane and the front office called the shots, there was much less conflict than what was portrayed. On the field, Howe stood where and how Beane told him; the appearance of his command was all illusion. The players all knew Beane called the shots, even though the front office shared little of the data they were crunching-- unlike in the movie.

The A's analysis was much more thorough than the movie made out, too. Lewis takes the time to explain the history of sabermetrics and the various controversies such as how to judge fielding and pitchers' contributions. From here out, I will only look at on-base percentage and slugging percentage for hitters, and OBP is four times more important than SLG. But the revolution has only changed baseball so much, most articles I see only reference batting average and home runs.

Scott Hatteberg was acquired by the A's for his great on-base percentage, but missing from the movie is Hatteberg's own approach to methodically recording data about all of his at-bats. The Red Sox had criticized him for his scientific method.

Another difference was that the touching stories about Beane's relationship with his daughter are not in the book version.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5. ( )
  justindtapp | Jun 3, 2015 |
I don't watch baseball, but guys, I think I'm an A's fan now. ( )
  trilliams | May 30, 2015 |
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Lately in a wreck of a Californian ship, one of the
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pounds of gold in it, with which he was found afterwards
at the bottom. Now, as he was sinking-- had he the gold?
or the gold him?
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393324818, Paperback)

Billy Beane, general manager of MLB's Oakland A's and protagonist of Michael Lewis's Moneyball, had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues with a budget that's smaller than that of nearly every other team. Conventional wisdom long held that big name, highly athletic hitters and young pitchers with rocket arms were the ticket to success. But Beane and his staff, buoyed by massive amounts of carefully interpreted statistical data, believed that wins could be had by more affordable methods such as hitters with high on-base percentage and pitchers who get lots of ground outs. Given this information and a tight budget, Beane defied tradition and his own scouting department to build winning teams of young affordable players and inexpensive castoff veterans.

Lewis was in the room with the A's top management as they spent the summer of 2002 adding and subtracting players and he provides outstanding play-by-play. In the June player draft, Beane acquired nearly every prospect he coveted (few of whom were coveted by other teams) and at the July trading deadline he engaged in a tense battle of nerves to acquire a lefty reliever. Besides being one of the most insider accounts ever written about baseball, Moneyball is populated with fascinating characters. We meet Jeremy Brown, an overweight college catcher who most teams project to be a 15th round draft pick (Beane takes him in the first). Sidearm pitcher Chad Bradford is plucked from the White Sox triple-A club to be a key set-up man and catcher Scott Hatteberg is rebuilt as a first baseman. But the most interesting character is Beane himself. A speedy athletic can't-miss prospect who somehow missed, Beane reinvents himself as a front-office guru, relying on players completely unlike, say, Billy Beane. Lewis, one of the top nonfiction writers of his era (Liar's Poker, The New New Thing), offers highly accessible explanations of baseball stats and his roadmap of Beane's economic approach makes Moneyball an appealing reading experience for business people and sports fans alike. --John Moe

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:25 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

This book explains how Billy Beene, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, is using a new kind of thinking to build a successful and winning baseball team without spending enormous sums of money. The author examines the fallacy behind the major league baseball refrain that the team with the biggest wallet is supposed to win. Over the past four years the Oakland Athletics, a major league team with a minor league payroll, have had one of the best records in the country. General Manager Billy Beene is putting into practice on the field revolutionary principles to build his team that have been concocted by geek statisticians and college professors, rather than using the old scouting technique called "gut instinct." The author takes us behind the scenes with the Oakland A's, into the dugouts, and into the conference rooms where the annual Major League draft is held by conference call, and rumor mongering is par for the course as each team jockeys for position for their favored player.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? This book is a quest for something as elusive as the Holy Grail, something that money apparently can't buy: the secret of success in baseball.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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5 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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W.W. Norton

3 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393324818, 0393057658, 0393338398

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