I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.
To begin, I was enthralled with this book from beginning to end. Narration is solid, the prose is entertaining and informative and there is a wonderful sense of accomplishment and wonder in this book. How, armed just with better knowledge, can a significantly poor team like the Oakland Athletics compete, consistently, with the super rich Yankees and Red Sox? That should just not be possible, but it is. And here you'll learn how.
It's a story about how a few people tore apart the baseball institutions and put them back together after examining every piece and - seemingly for the first time since the sport was invented - asking if we REALLY know what we think we know about it. For instance, how important are RBIs, walks, stolen bases and home runs? How can you measure the importance of fielding? And what if - just what if - every way we have ever measured baseball is plain wrong.
One moment in the book should illustrate how this book is not just fascinating but also transcendent of baseball. We learn that RBIs have been incorrectly evaluated for decades, errors make no sense, fielding isn't measured at all and walks are completely calculated incorrectly. At this point the author asks an amazing and interesting question, if we baseball has been watched live by tens of thousands of people in the stadium and by millions of more on television and YET the wrong things have been measured, then how likely is it that the more subtly things in our every day life have been incorrectly evaluated and weighted?
That one thought has actually made me re-evaluate aspects of my job and my life. This book is that good. You should buy it.
I am not a huge baseball fan but loved this book and learned so much about the game. This is a man's game and a man's business but they're trading people instead of stocks and bonds. The performance is perfection! Michael Lewis gets to home plate one more time.
Thoreau's 'Walden' and Ayn Rand's 25th anniversary introduction to 'The Fountainhead' summarize my library well.
As a Red Sox fan, how did I go so long without reading this title? Certainly everyone knows about Moneyball as "The Oakland A's Book," but its impact to the Red Sox championship run and the state of baseball from this day forward cannot be understated.
At a higher level, this book is a classic conflict between reason/innovation and the old guard/emotions/status quo. We see these conflicts play out in stadiums of all sorts: parenting (vaccinations), politics (global warming), and the like. Author Michael Lewis captures the romance of baseball worderfully with the tales of Jeremy Brown, Chad Bradford and Scott Hatteberg. Brick's narration carries the story well.
After reading, I'm left wondering about my personal sabermetrics: under what conditions does my daughter go to bed early and happy? When am I my most productive at work? When are my wife and I our most content? etc. Perhaps the closest I've read to this type of work is Daniel Kahneman's 'Thinking Fast and Slow.' Ultimately, short of my hiring a team of statisticans to operationalize and analyse my every waking moment, the answers to my wonderings are up in the stars. Thanks Bill James for publishing your Baseball Abstracts. Thanks Billy Beane for not going to work for John Henry. And thanks Michael Lewis for publishing a terrific story.
yea, yea, everything the As did was perfect. they found all these players that no one else wanted and drafted them in the first round....well guess what, most did not make it to the majors (look it up) and why would you draft someone in the first round that no one else wanted?? draft them in the 15th round.
and the reading is awful. he sounds so droll...i had to turn the speed up to give the reading any pep.
read it better
too slow, depressing.
I decided to read this book purely because of its data science aspects - many people in the data science community recommend this book as a must. So I tried it even though I'm not interested in baseball at all, but I thought it wouldn't matter. However, it did. This book is just about baseball and its heroes, and if you aren't interested in them and are just looking for a story about data science, then don't loose your time with this one. It was pain for me to listen till the end. And now when I finished the book, I just realized my feelings about baseball have changed: I hate it now, instead of just ignoring.
On the other hand, if you're a baseball loving data scientist, this book will be a paradise for you.
Welcome to our group Dakota; welcome to my life Summer, you've made it so much better. Give back to our wounded warriors who gave so much.
Okay the title is a bit hyperbolic but in a sense is true. This book changed people's perception of the the way the game is played. Billy Beane was once a star high school player; a five tool guy (the ability to run, catch, throw, hit and hit with power.) He was the highest rated player in the draft. Alas it was not to be; he was never able to let his talent lead. He ended up a journeyman, borderline major leaguer. So to paraphrase Michael Lewis he went in search for the anti Billy Beane.
As Assistant General Manager his boss Sandy Alderson had recommended the works of Bill James. James was a baseball fan who had, on his own gathered more statistics than those generally released by MLB had worked a new formula for judging the effectiveness of baseball players. He had determined that the two most effective stats for judging everyday players was on base percentage and slugging percentage not batting average or runs batted in.
Now that wasn't totally new. Earl Weaver the manager of the Baltimore Orioles from 1968 through 1982 had preferred players who hit for power and got on base via the base on balls. For that matter Connie Mack the A's manager from the first year of the team's existence 1901 to the the early 1950's always at least one player who worked counts and took a lot of bases on balls. James went into more detail and published his findings building a core group of followers.
Beane; faced with a limited budget came up with the concept, if not the name Moneyball. With less capital available the A's needed to be more efficient with the money they spent on players. This book was written in 2002 and in the years since Beane and the A's have continued to be a playoff team despite being in the bottom five in payroll every year.
One of the major points in the book was Beane's legendary temper of which there were stories going back to his playing days in the Rookie leagues.
These days every team in the big leagues concentrates on things like base on balls, pitches seen per at bat, and running up the pitch count of the opposing teams starting pitchers. There was a huge backlash among many of the baseball insiders in the aftermath of the book's release but many of those attitudes have passed as the A's have continued to be competitive and successful. In short though the book's information is no longer startling or even unique it's still a good read or listen. Five stars.
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
I'm not as baseball fan, but I like the game of stats and trading players as if they were just cattle, but instead of feeding grass, they get big contracts. I remembered watching something on 60 Minutes on Bill James, "Stat Man".. I wanted to know more. As a non baseball fan, I kept reading this title because Micheal Lewis does a decent job as explaining the game without going into extra innings. Lewis also does an good job on telling the story on the players, like Chad Bradford and how he progress to the Major's and his struggle to stay on top. Bradford's story alone is worth the credit for this book. Wonderful story. Can't wait for the movie.
as with most movies the book was better. You get even more of a sense of what was going on and even more details on the research that went behind some of the moves. The movie was great and I think that the spirit of the book, but it's absolutely worth reading the book too.
Yes, all of them. Because I enjoyed it and they should too.
Billy Bean is the man.
He nailed it.