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.
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.
Special thanks to my girls Stacy, Sash and Stef for sharing the Audible experience with me and for being there during my multiple recoveries
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.
I love baseball, but I really was initially drawn to the book looking for the very geeky discussion of the application of "big data" mining and the development of the algorithms used as a tool in the organizational design and management of a team. It was also instructive to look at the resistance to the use of this information and the concepts around it by baseball insiders / management for 20+ years. I got all that I was looking for and have lots of follow-up homework to do, but I also really enjoyed the story. The presentation was outstanding! I might need to go take up fantasy baseball now.