Moneyball reveals a quest for something as elusive as the Holy Grail, something that money apparently can't buy: the secret of success in baseball. The logical places to look would be the giant offices of Major League teams and the dugouts. But the real jackpot is a cache of numbers collected over the years by a strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts: software engineers, statisticians, Wall Street analysts, lawyers, and physics professors.
In a narrative full of fabulous characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, Lewis shows us how and why the new baseball knowledge works. He also sets up a sly and hilarious morality tale: Big Money, like Goliath, is always supposed to win.... How can we not cheer for David?
©2004 Michael Lewis (P)2011 Random House
Moneyball is a fascinating look at how the manager of the Oakland A's used statistical methods to assemble the best baseball team he could given his limited budget.
Although I had heard excellent reviews of this book I avoided it for some time as I have no interest in baseball. I'm glad that I finally decided to give Moneyball a try. Despite my complete lack of baseball knowledge (I recognized the names of exactly three of the baseball players mentioned in the book - Babe Ruth, Bonds and Strawberry) I found the book both interesting and enlightening. Lewis does a great job of explaining what you need to know to see how players had been undervalued and why. On top of this, the stories he tells about the players and the managers are compelling and often humorous.
I loved listening to this book so much that I'm already thinking about listening to it again. Very highly recommended.
A well written and gripping story,even for those not especially interested in baseball.
But for those of us that love the game, it is a delight. The rethinking of the analysis of baseball statistics -- some of which have been untouched since 1859 -- make the nerds with the athletic ability of a convenience store, such as myself, to be intellectually fulfilled.
I've always been an admirer of Scott Brick, a consummate professional in the narrator bullpen.
But, oh, my -- the editing. For Audible, usually a benchmark of releasing a top drawer products, to have let this one out it its condition is....regrettable.
There are at least five (I stopped counting) places where the narration repeats two sentences. There are at least five (I stopped counting) places where the narration repeats two sentences.
Please, Audible -- pull the masters on this one, put an intern in a studio for nine hours or so, and clean it up -- you'd look so much less lazy and foolish. Please, Audible -- pull the masters on this one, put an intern in a studio for nine hours or so, and clean it up -- you'd look so much less lazy and foolish.
I am what I consider a pretty intelligent "student of the game", but this book opened my eyes and made me realize what I was really missing! I have followed and used the conventional baseball statistics without fully understanding how limited the typical stats are. Even if you are a casual fan, this book is a great read. It not only explores the raw data that proves a baseball player's true worth, but it is also an insight into the brilliant minds of the people who changed the game.
As a Tampa Bay Rays fan for the last 12 years, I can truly appreciate what Billy Beane, Paul DePodesta, and the non-traditional baseball guys have done for small market teams!
From 4/12/15 on, I will only rate a book 5 stars if it so good I will listen to it again. To date, the Bino series tops that list.
By now I'm sure most of you have seen the movie, which was excellent. I read this book maybe 5 times before the movie came out and at least 3 time since. So what's my point...
First, it is written by Michael Lewis, perhaps the best nonfiction author of this century. He is the master of finding remarkably entertaining true life stories, whether the subject is sports or business. He reminds me a bit of Andrew Tobias with his wit and irony.
Second, despite the undeniable success of the moneyball revolution in baseball, the book and the methods it reveals is still scoffed at by the majority of Major League Baseball and virtually ignored by virtually all of ameture baseball. It was a David versus Goliath story in 2000 and remarkably, it remains so today.
Thirdly, it is a masterpiece about business, how we evaluate success and how we should always be thinking outside the box.
This is one of the best books about baseball ever and is a "must read" for anyone wishing to understand the game better. It takes the reader/listener into what is actually happening during the games and the season (hint: it is not what most broadcasters blather on about). Michael Lewis manages to make even the most mundane parts of baseball interesting and the interesting parts are riveting! As one reviewer I read put it, it is "bad news bears for MBAs."
With all that said though, the production was disappointing. As others have pointed out it does occasionally repeat sentences (an odd experience that is distracting when you are listening closely). The other problem I had was his mispronunciation of names of baseball players. The names of people are integral to the book and I think it does not do the individuals justice to mispronounce their names. I usually enjoy Scott Brick's narrations but this one was somewhat disappointing.
Overall, though, it is well worth it to listen to or read this book. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in baseball, business or life.
I like books that have interesting characters and easy to follow plots. For example, Cormoran Strike, is a great character for me.
Michael Lewis is one of our great non-fiction writers. He has this amazing ability to take complex problems and make it understandable to the ordinary person. Moneyball joins his other books like "The Big Short" and "Liars Poker" that digs into the baseball industry, turns over the rocks and watches the insects scatter. Unlike the movie, which turned the book into a maudlin story of giving up money for being with his daughter, the book is a hard edge, no BS look at how his system of baseball team construction could be based on statistical analysis of player value. Although he was successful at portraying the success from the financial aspect, Lewis never really explores the consequential loss of the fun side of baseball. That is, some of the most enjoyable aspects of baseball like base stealing, sacrificing, hit and runs, squeeze plays etc. are virtually eliminated from ordinary play. Basically, Billy Beane turned his teams into no risk, maximum value only decisions that are really boring.
An avid reader
Okay, confession, I saw the movie first. That was good, but the best part of the movie is that it stirred me to want to read the book. Okay, so I listened to it, and it's fabulous. If you even remotely appreciate the game of baseball, you'll love this book.
Lewis has artfully tracked all the historical threads from their origin through to their connection with Billy Beane and what he proved was possible when you weren't the best bankrolled franchise in major leage baseball.
I didn't realize that all the fantasy league play was based on this whole new world of statistical analysis.
Lewis writes a good book. Even though it's nonfiction, I have to call it creative nonfiction. It keeps you interested in the story and what's going to happen next, which is why (I think) the movie follows the book so well.
But don't be satisfied just watching the movie. The background to this story is another story all together and equally interesting.
This book is a solid home run.
I'm not really a baseball fan, but I totally enjoyed the book. I love Michael Lewis's ability to make even the most arcane topic, like the baseball draft process, sound spine tinglingly exciting. I think Brad Pitt will be fantastic in the role, but I am glad I read the book before the movie came out. Even if you hate baseball, you will enjoy the rich characters in this book.
Wonderful reading by Scott Brick--he is the best!
"Someone in the Kansas City Royals front office, please read this book!!!!
As for the rest of us, this book is primarily about baseball, but also about how observant outsiders can provide insight that the insiders are blind to. Or in other words, how the old school resists the new school despite the proof the latter demonstrates and the former lacks."
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.
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