Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Review: "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game" by Michael Lewis

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair GameMoneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I must admit - I am not a huge baseball fan. I went to several games growing up; living in Ohio we rooted for the Cincinnati Reds. After moving to Tampa, I watched the New York Yankees farm team play. My baseball roots actually go back to my great-Grandfather Yoder, who was both a business partner and a friend to Mr. William Wrigley Jr. My great-Grandfather occasionally drove to Wrigley field with a truck full of popcorn, which he gave away to the fans. I like thinking about baseball back then, before the free agent business began and the world of baseball became the world of money ball.

But in "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game", Billy Beam remembers that the game is about playing well, not paying the most money. The book follows Billy from his unsuccessful playing career to his very, famously successful career as the general manager for the Oakland As. Along the way, the reader gets a glimpse into traditional baseball scouting, the psychology of the locker room, and the methods by which Billy Beam found amazing players that the rest of the league snubbed.

I quite enjoyed reading "Moneyball", laughing along with Billy and his Harvard protege as they snatch the most valuable players using statistics that show historically great performances (Spoiler: The rest of the baseball leagues use the wrong statistics and gut feel, leading them to bad decisions.) I also found the psychological aspects intriguing, how a person can literally think themselves either into or out of a game.

But I think that a person who loves baseball and knows the people in the book will love this book more than I did, which is why I recommend "Moneyball" to any baseball fans with a passion to understand a bit more about the game.

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