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Publisher's Summary

What happens when three financial-industry whiz kids and certified baseball nuts take over an ailing Major League franchise and implement the same strategies that fueled their success on Wall Street? In the case of the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, an American League championship happens - the culmination of one of the greatest turnarounds in baseball history.

In The Extra 2%, financial journalist and sportswriter Jonah Keri chronicles the remarkable story of one team's Cinderella journey from divisional doormat to World Series contender. By quantifying the game's intangibles, they were able to deliver to Tampa Bay an American League pennant. This is an informative and entertaining case study for any organization that wants to go from worst to first.

©2011 Jonah Keri (P)2011 Dreamscape Media, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Jonah Keri has given us a fascinating look at how the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays became winners. The Extra 2% is a captivating book if you love baseball, but it's an even more captivating book if you love success." (Joe Posnanski, senior writer, Sports Illustrated)
"The Tampa Bay Rays - with their ma-and-pa-sized budget - have gone head to head with baseball's two superpowers, the Yankees and the Red Sox. In the superb The Extra 2%, Jonah Keri explains how and why in a way that will remind readers of Michael Lewis's Moneyball." (Buster Olney, senior writer, ESPN The Magazine)
"All baseball fans ever ask for is hope: hope not only for a season out of their dreams, but also for leaders smart enough and imaginative enough to figure out how to make those dreams reality. In The Extra 2%, Jonah Keri not only presents this blueprint followed to perfection but does so with a brilliant page-turner of a book that will satisfy fans of both baseball and first-rate writing." (Mike Vaccaro, columnist, The New York Post)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
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  • Story

The book isn't sure what it wants to be

The overarching thesis is weak and the book flits between a play by play money ball type narrative vs. The holistic strategy employed by management ownership and the field manager.

By far the best chapter is the one on the skipper Joe Madden...the rest of the book doesn't stand the test of time.

Disappointing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Interesting book, lousy narrator

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Great for baseball fans who enjoy behind-the-scenes and front-office narratives.

Would you be willing to try another one of Lloyd James’s performances?

No.

Any additional comments?

This book really needed a narrator who is at least a little familiar with baseball. Mispronounced names are jarring -- Tom GlaVINE, Cory Little (Lidle) a handful of others. Unforgivable is One to zero (game scores), Nine to six (a pitcher's 9-6 won-loss record) and three to two (a 3-2 pitch count). Not isolated instances, but constants throughout.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • jwmnatl
  • Atlanta, GA United States
  • 03-12-13

Informative Story, but Narration Was Lacking

I enjoy Mr. Keri's writing, but frequently, the narrator mispronounced common baseball names, like Tom Glavine (he pronounced it Gla-VINE). Though the performance was good, these errors took away from my enjoyment as the narrator did not know the subject matter. Looking forward to Mr. Keri's upcoming book on the Montreal Expos, but please have a baseball fan narrate the audio book!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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The history of the Rays, not a business book

For those who really like baseball, all the names, stats (and their abbreviations), terminology, and wonder about the history of a team, then this book I feel is a good fit.
For those who want to hear about business or leadership strategies like how to rebuild after poor management, build up loyalty, compete with rivals when they significantly large budgets, or change company image, then this book I feel is a poor fit.
I bought this book in because I like books likes “Good to Great” and “Entreleadership”. This book contains business and leadership strategies but I really had to struggle to find them. The concepts that the Rays used to change their fate were concealed by names of people I did not know and stats that were wasted on untrained ears. If a friend asked me if this was good book to learn some business concepts, I would say no. If a friend asked me if this was a good book to learn about the history of the Rays, I would say yes but only if they are already a baseball fan.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great if you love baseball, especially the Rays!

It's an interesting story, but it's more of a history of the Tampa Bay Rays than it is a book exposing strategies to help you find the extra 2%. Where Moneyball has great appeal to any baseball fan and even some who are not fans, The Extra 2% will really only appeal to fans of the Rays specifically.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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No Strategies or Insight

This book is what one would expect if they picked up a Sports Illustrated Tampa Bay Rays Season video that comes with an annual subscription (you know, the one that is near impossible to cancel!) I got through the whole thing because I don't really follow the Rays, so it was all new to me. Unfortunately, I was expecting more detail on the Wall Street guys behind some of the baseball strategies that are being used in today's game. Instead, it felt like a long winded history of the Rays.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Must be a Rays fan

This book really is more of a history of the Devil Rays than a business book, in fact by those standards it's 99% a history of the Rays as compared to Wall Street.

I'm a fan of the Rays so the book was able to keep my interest -- however if you're not a fan of the team I honestly don't think you'll make it very far. As lifelong Tampa Bay resident I knew almost everything in the book but had forgotten a lot of it, so that part of it was actually a plus. However there was a lot of padding in the book and a lot of content that will not age well at all. The book is about 2 years old I believe and a lot of it is already out of date.

There are some funny moments in the book, most having to do with the previous owner. The new Rays owner and management come off extremely well in the book, which is probably a deserved view. However if you're looking for a Moneyball type book this isn't it.

The reader does a pretty good job considering the content.

Overall I just kind of felt like I could have written this book and probably at about the same level, meaning there just wasn't much new and there wasn't really anything very compelling.

3 stars on the book, it's readable certainly for Rays fans.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Piper
  • Ashby, MA United States
  • 11-06-12

Fascinating story - must read for baseball fans

If you could sum up The Extra 2% in three words, what would they be?

Thorough. Humorous. Eye-opening.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Extra 2%?

The players that Tampa almost had.

What aspect of Lloyd James’s performance would you have changed?

Inexcusable that he mis-pronounced so many names!!!! That is reason for the 3 stars. Otherwise, he was very good.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Close...it was hard to 'put down' .

Any additional comments?

Life long Red Sox fan who always wanted to know how the heck Tampa could come from such depths to reach such heights. Even as a Sox fan, I kinda have to root for the Rays!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great nuggets here; but you gotta like the Rays

Obviously this book is compared to Moneyball, and rightfully so. But Moneyball was really about Billy Beane and the emergence of advanced statistical analysis in mainstream baseball circles. This book isn't about any one personality or any global baseball change. Its about the changes the Rays went through in the mid 2000s, from all angles: ownership, front office, players, manager, ballpark.

If you find the Rays interesting and you wonder "where the hell did these guys come from?" when you look at their crazy season as they sit a few games back in the AL East in early September 2012, then you'll think this is a valuable read. I find myself sharing "tidbits" with fellow baseball fans constantly.

The whole thing about the "extra 2%" and "Wall Street Strategies" is completely irrelevant and unexplored. I have no idea why that stuff is on the book jacket. It should be called: "Tampa Bay Rays - The Exorcism that Took them Worst to First".

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Mediocre at best

This is book somehow managed to not be about baseball, business or anything but patting D-Rays execs on the back, but not really giving a reason why. The author spoke of "arbitrage" and how they tried to do that (trading something for more than it was worth for something for less than it is worth) but failed to give an example of it. The storyline was not coherent, the reader mispronounced names (famous manager Lou Piniella is 3 syllables, not 4...ignore the 2nd "i"). Most of the "business" parts of the book had to do with promotions they ran and not the thinking behind them. This is not a good book and I would not recommend it to anyone.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful