- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (13 July 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393324818
- ISBN-13: 978-0393324815
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game Paperback – 13 Jul 2004
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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 cast-off 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 non-fiction writers of his era (Liar's Poker, Next), 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, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Moneyball is the best business book Lewis has written. It may be the best business book anyone has written." --Mark Gerson, Weekly Standard
"Ebullient, invigorating.... Provides plenty of action, both numerical and athletic, on the field and in the draft-day war room." --Lev Grossman, Time
"A journalistic tour de force." --Richard J. Tofel, Wall Street Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
On one level this is a book about Baseball and a maverick who subverted the consensus view on how the game should be played and understood but on a deeper level this is a case study of an idea. It is behavioural economics as applied to sport.
The book demonstrates how Billy Beane used the insights of a Baseball statistician named Bill James (a cipher for Nobel winning behavioural economist Daniel Kahneman, author of 'Thinking, Fast and Slow'?) and the practical mathematical genius of Paul Podesta (a Harvard graduate with no Baseball experience) to outsmart his competitors.
'Reason, even science, was what Billy Beane was intent on bringing to Baseball...... Paul wanted to look at stats because the stats offered offered him new ways of understanding.....That was James's most general point: the naked eye was an inadequate tool for learning what you needed to know to evaluate baseball players and baseball games.'
On one level level this is an old-fashioned David vs Goliath story but on a deeper level it is a book about two competing views of human nature. The view being triumphed in this book is that of 'behavioural economics.' In short, that human beings are inherently irrational.Read more ›
Oakland A are a small, unsexy US baseball team who consistently got to near the top of the baseball leagues on a fraction of the money and budget of the leading high profile teams like the Boston White Sox or the New York Yankies. When you think of intellectuals influencing the course of human affairs, you think of physics, or political theory or economics. You do not think of baseball because you don't think of baseball as having an intellectual underpinning. But everything does have an intellectual underpinning and when an original thinker applies his mind startling results can be achieved.
Billy James, a Kansas University educated pork and bean factory worker was fascinated by baseball and studied it assiduously. He published his first leaflet : 1977 Baseball abstract: Featuring 18 Categories of Statistical Information That You Just Can't Find Anywhere Else. Doesn't sound a best seller does it?
But his thesis was that people in charge of professional baseball believed they could judge players performance simply by watching it. In this conventional wisdom on which millions of dollars was lavished, they were deeply mistaken. It was only by measurement and statistics that you could distinguish the good hitter from the average hitter - it is simply not visible.
James theory was not original - many others had measured players' performance. But he lived in a time of radical advances in computer technology enabling him to analyse vast amounts of data.Read more ›
If not really into baseball then the film is probably more suited than the book.
Although this book will appeal to any disciple of baseball analysts like Bill James and Rob Neyer or the Baseball Prospectus team (all who receive positive mentions in this book), I found the moments where the book dwelled on the statistics and theory to be very dry and boring. Luckily, there was probably on 20 or so pages of this in the entire book, and the rest of the time it concentrates on the more human side, the psychology and the baseball. The chapters devoted to two individual players who became successful despite the odds were particularly enjoyable.
Overall this is an essential book for any baseball fan. Traditionalists may balk at some of the ideas and thoughts contained, but any baseball fan with an open mind will find it a joy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
That rare thing of beauty - an eminently readable book about the use of business metrics. It helps if you have seen the odd game of baseball, but it isn't essential to get the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I know nothing about baseball but I found this book incredibly interesting. It shows what you can do when you ask the right questions. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Andrew M Ladbrook
If you are a baseball fan you will love this book. You will need to understand the basics of baseball to get the most out of it but it is a really well written tale (trust story)... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Lombardo
A fascinating book which tells a different, more involved, story than the film. Loved the rant at the end too.Published 11 months ago by David
Amazing book, as with all Michael Lewis' books it was very easy to understand the principle behind the theory being implemented. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Danielle