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Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (2003)

by Michael Lewis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,7631171,767 (4.21)99
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)
  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. 21
    Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, 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. 23
    Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt (tcarter)
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» See also 99 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 117 (next | show all)
I have technically been reading this book since summer 2019 so it's nice to be able to say I finally finished it! It didn't take me that long to read because I didn't like it. I almost always find Lewis's writing to be very compelling and this book was no different. Rather, last summer I was actually able to go watch a baseball game. Every time I picked up this book I was hit with the sudden urge to go to a Minnesota Twins game and I almost always gave into that urge. This year, that was not an option so I had to take what I could get and therefore I finally finished this book.

This book was probably not written for someone like me. As stated, I do love watching baseball but I cannot even begin to describe how little I care about anything other than just watching the game. I do not care about statistics, I barely care about the players. I couldn't tell you who is in the bullpen or what trades were made in the off-season. The only reason I know any players at all is from watching and I couldn't tell you what anyone's stats are or if they're having a good season. This book is about all that minutiae. It really is a credit to the author that he could make trades, on-base percentage, pitching value, and drafts interesting to someone like me who truly doesn't care. I found myself sucked into the drama of draft day anyway and I still found myself rooting for this plan to work out. I don't think I realized how recently this all happened. I was born in 1999 and this mostly happened while I was alive. Reading it in 2020 was fun too. You can see how Sabremetrics and the idea of moneyball can be used to justify what the Astros (and possibly the Red Sox) did when it comes to stealing signs. I think writing a book like this about baseball makes perfect sense for someone with Lewis's wall street background. Give someone any tool like this and it's only a matter of time before someone tries to exploit it for their own benefit.

I'm really glad I finally finished it because I did really like it. I've never seen the movie so maybe I'll finally watch that too. I'll probably make my way through Lewis's whole back catalogue eventually. This is my third book of his I think and I really like how he writes. This book is pretty old so most people have probably read it already but for those people who have only seen the movie I would encourage them to pick up the book! ( )
  AKBouterse | Oct 14, 2021 |
Everything one ever thought about baseball is turned upside down in this book. Fascinating to see how what you thought might be a great player is changed. Using statistics that aren't the normal ones that many grew up with. ( )
  foof2you | Oct 14, 2021 |
Really good book from Lewis. Enjoyable to read. I'd rate it higher if it had more gravity to it/importance aside from sport. ( )
  Zach-Rigo | Jun 28, 2021 |
What to say about one of the most influential sports and economics books of the last decade? Like all of Michael Lewis's books, it's eminently readable and full of portraits of all kinds of crazy characters -- Billy Beane, Paul DePodesta, a bunch of major league players going through the grind of the Oakland A's system, other GMs. Great book about guerrilla warfare on an entrenched system, applying statistics to a statistics-based system, and exploiting market inefficiencies for fun and profit. No wonder it is now one of the most referenced and most quoted book whenever anyone starts to talk about baseball these days -- which every single sports podcaster does. Reading an article over on ESPN? See a reference to Moneyball? Read the book.

Better than the Big Short -- although the Big Short is relentlessly entertaining -- absolutely recommended to anyone who follows professional sports. Also better than the movie by a long shot as the movie doesn't have the same rich background on these major league players and the Double-A/Triple-A minor league system.

Yeah. You should read Moneyball. ( )
  multiplexer | Jun 20, 2021 |
Pretty enjoyable. Made me appreciate baseball a bit more (I'm not really a baseball fan except to go to the ballpark and watch a live game). ( )
  JohnKaess | Jul 23, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Lewisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Neugarten, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Lately in a wreck of a Californian ship, one of the
passengers fastened a belt about him with two hundred
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?
--John Ruskin, Unto This Last
Dedication
For Billy Fitzgerald
I can still hear him shouting at me
First words
The first thing they always did was run you.
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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.

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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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