Solid Fool's Gold: Det...
Bill James
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Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  51 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Since he first began publishing his Baseball Abstracts in the 1980s, Bill James has constantly challenged conventional wisdom by asking simple questions like, "Is that really true?" or "What if we looked at the question this way?" He has sparked a virtual revolution in the way the game of baseball is understood and played, from how players are evaluated or positioned to wh...more
ebook, 208 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by ACTA Publications
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Steven Peterson
Odd book from Bill James, baseball guru and sabermetrician. This book? He says that (Page 8): "Some of these articles could be considered serious baseball research, . . .Some of them are not."

The very first essay is on an approach to predicting RBIs (runs batted in) from other batting data. Voila! A simple formula that appears to predict well. Torii Hunter's actual RBI total=90; his predicted total=90! Alex Rodriguez drove in more than expected; Ichiro less than expected. Fun reading, trying to...more
John Lee
Bill James is a great writer. A really great writer. This is the first work of his that I've actually read, and he's as good as everyone says. This book has a variety of excerpts from his website, most baseball related but some not at all. The baseball articles are fascinating and interesting, and the statistical models, while rather flukey and haphazard, are very interesting to consider and look at. The non-baseball articles are mostly of a political bent, and those are pretty great as well, th...more
Intellectually, I understand that there are people who think of themselves as baseball fans but who arent obsesse with Bill James. But those peoples' minds are so different from my own that I have a hard time fathoming them. Bill James writes very well about very interesting topics, most (but not all) of which are related to baseball. This book is a collection of essays, mostly from his website, so it lacks a cohesive narrative or theme, and this would be its one flaw. But James is, as always, a...more
This is a difficult review... I love Bill James, and his combination of ultra-logical analysis and random turns of thought. Others might find it odd to read reasoned baseball analysis next to an essay on the likelihood of producing another Justin Verlander or William Shakespeare, or a commentary on how tipping will be outlawed by 2050. Personally, I enjoyed every minute and think the book is worthy of a five star rating. But if you're not a) a pretty serious baseball fan and b) aware of the natu...more
Ray Charbonneau
Bill's books aren't quite as entertaining as they used to be, but that's a high standard to meet. There are two reasons: he's addressed the big issues, so what remains is of less significance, and he has reigned in his wit and certainty in an attempt to be less unintentionally offensive to some. Still, what's left is pretty good. And I agree 100% with Bill on figure skating as a competitive sport.
As usual, Bill James is even more interesting when he's writing about other subjects, though there's some interesting sabermetric stuff in here, too. I'm really looking forward to his book on crime.
Nick Gleason
Mostly hits, with just a couple of strikeouts, in this collection of James' essays on baseball and more.
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George William “Bill” James (born October 5, 1949, in Holton, Kansas) is a baseball writer, historian, and statistician whose work has been widely influential. Since 1977, James has written more than two dozen books devoted to baseball history and statistics. His approach, which he termed sabermetrics in reference to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), scientifically analyzes and st...more
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