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Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  5,791 Ratings  ·  259 Reviews
Three Nights in August captures the strategic and emotional complexities of baseball's quintessential form, the three-game series. As the St. Louis Cardinals battle their archrival Chicago Cubs, we watch from the dugout through the eyes of legendary manager Tony La Russa, considered by many to be the shrewdest mind in the game today. In his twenty-seven years of managing, ...more
Paperback, 287 pages
Published April 4th 2006 by Mariner Books (first published April 1st 2005)
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Bob Schmitz
Sep 18, 2011 Bob Schmitz rated it liked it
I like sports but have never been a follower of baseball. It has seemed boring to me. In my one year as a 9 year old little leaguer I would sit down in the outfield because nothing was happening. Baseball lovers have contradicted me on this opinion and this book settles the question once and for all not in my favor. I had no idea how complex, complicated, subtle the game was. 3 Nights in August chronicles a 3 game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs sometimes pitch by pit ...more
Mar 15, 2016 Lance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating is more 3 1/2 as while it was great insight into the traditional three-game series, I felt is was a little too rah-rah and that readers who are not Cardinals fans would get a little tired of it. While listening to it, it seemed like even when the Cubs won a game, manager Tony LaRussa and pitching coach Dave Duncan could do no wrong. If anything did go wrong, it was the player's fault. But for hardcore baseball strategy and action, this book is very good.
omran abn misr
Oct 21, 2016 omran abn misr rated it it was amazing
كمدير تنفيذي دائما ما كنت أتساءل عن التوازن بين البيانات الموثوقة والحس الداخلي في عملية اتخاذ القرارت، وأزعم أني أعتمد بشكل أكبر على البيانات، ولكن في لحظات أثق في قدرتي على فهم الطبيعة البشرية، بينما أقرأ عن تركيز (مدرب البيسبول الشهير على الإحصائيات في لعبته؛ ليفهم منافسيه، ولاعبيه، فكان من الواضح أن البيانات وحدها لا تكفي؛ فالقائد الذي يفهم الأرقام سوف يتخذ قرارا أفضل مبنيا على فهمه وحدسه.
Aug 24, 2012 Niral rated it it was ok
If you are (as I am) a Cubs fan, this book won't be much fun to read. And yet, although I'm sure part of my dissatisfaction with this book stems from the fact that it's an unabashed shrine to Tony La Russa and all things Cardinal, I think we what really bugged me about it was how blatantly biased it is. Certainly, La Russa is a great manager. Any Cubs fan will agree. The problem here, though, is that the author is so genuinely in the tank for La Russa that every move described in the book frames ...more
Jan 14, 2013 Dan rated it really liked it
Before the glossing over of Tony La Russa's reputation inevitably takes place when he is enshrined in Cooperstown, it is important to note that he was perhaps the most polarizing manager in baseball during his career (with Dusty Baker also being a strong candidate in my mind).

3 Nights in August chronicles a 2003 Cardinals-Cubs series near the end of the season. However, the book does not solely focus on those three games, as it also chronicles La Russa's career with the Carlton Fisk and Tom Seav
Jason Phillips
Feb 09, 2013 Jason Phillips rated it really liked it
You should buy this book for what it is, and not for what many of these reviews say it is. It is not anti-Moneyball, it is an insiders look at a baseball game in the context of the baseball world and the career of one man, Tony LaRussa. Sabermaniacs have brought a deeper understanding of baseball to the layperson, and have challenged conventional thinking about our great game. This book does not set out to refute ther tenets of sabermetrics, in fact, Moneyball is mentioned only three times in 27 ...more
May 11, 2010 globulon rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball, wish-list
I give this 4 stars because the stars are about subjective reaction and I enjoyed reading it. On the other hand, I can definitely see you getting less mileage out of this book if aren't a fan of LaRussa, the Cardinals, or baseball, or even if you know a lot about the game. I also don't see this as having much staying power over time.

That being said, I think I would describe this book as "effectively wild" a term he uses to describe Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood. There are plenty of overwritten sentenc
Sep 02, 2009 Paul rated it it was amazing
Tony LaRussa is one of the greatest managers in the history of Major League Baseball. This book offers a unique glimpse into the mind of a baseball genius.

"Buzz" Bissinger, the author of the football classic turned box office hit "Friday Night Lights", follows TLR and my favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals, around during a series against the much-maligned Chicago Cubs towards the end of the Cardinals extremely disappointing 2003 season.

I admit that I am totally biased in giving this book fiv
Nov 19, 2015 Donofalltrades rated it really liked it
To me, baseball has always been a beautiful game, but I always thought that teams could be managed by Phil in accounting or anybody else who knows even a little bit about baseball, and still be the same.

I was incredibly wrong.

The amount of work that LaRussa put into a Pre-season, a season, and even single games is incredible. It was always reassuring to me, as a Cardinal's fan, that he was never going to be out prepared by the other team's manager. For anybody who thinks they could easily coach
Michael Friedland
Nov 12, 2015 Michael Friedland rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 20, 2008 Holly rated it really liked it
This is a great book for anyone who is interested in baseball. As a Cardinals fan I loved it. I really understand much better what the role of a manager is. I don't think that someone who doesn't care for baseball would enjoy it, but I think that even a casual fan would get a lot out of it. Buzz Bissinger's style is easy to follow and entertaining to read.
Joshua Jacobson
Feb 06, 2013 Joshua Jacobson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fantastic read. It was made even more fantastic because I started reading it within minutes of putting down "Moneyball." This is a great contrast to "Moneyball" in that it focuses much more on the beautity and historic love of baseball. It's about players and managers and how they go about their daily lives in the game. Just a great read about classic baseball.
Aug 15, 2014 Jeff rated it liked it
A must-read for anyone who considers themselves a real baseball fan, especially if they followed the game closely in 2003.
Aug 15, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, baseball
Beautiful. Just beautiful baseball.
Nov 01, 2016 Chris rated it really liked it
This book was actually recommended to me quite some time ago in a list of professional development and leadership works. I purposely waited until October to read this because despite what people will tell you, October is about baseball first, Halloween second.

I was never a big La Russa fan when he managed the Cardinals, and he did nothing to help his stature in my mind by disparaging my Yankees early in the book. As he described the rivalry between the Cards and the Cubs, he insulted the Yankee
Ryan Darnell
Nov 20, 2016 Ryan Darnell rated it it was ok
3 Nights in August was written by Buzz Bissinger about a series of Tony La Russa’s managing career. Bissinger has already published a hit in Friday Night Lights and went on to write this about La Russa. This is about a regular season series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. Tony La Russa is the manager of the Cardinals. He tells a story about all the struggles of being a manager in a few games against your rivals. It also tells about all the rules and fundamentals of baseball ...more
Brad Lyerla
Dec 02, 2016 Brad Lyerla rated it really liked it
I write for a blog on the Chicago Cubs sometimes. The blog is owned by a fine writer named Joe Aiello. He recommended H.G. Bissinger's Three Nights in August, a widely admired account of a three games series between the Cardinals and Cubs in August of the 2003 season. It is very worthwhile. There are many reasons why. One is that Bissinger wrote it, in part, as a response to Michael Lewis’ fantastically successful Money Ball. In that vein, Bissinger wrote in his preface:

“In [the aftermath of Mon
May 05, 2016 blakeR rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I'm from St. Louis so I had heard about this book a while ago and just assumed it was sort of a standard puff piece for the Cardinals. Then recently a friend told me, "No really, it's more than that and you should read it." So I did and I was quite impressed with the entire scope of the book, which pretty much examines the minutiae of baseball through the lens of a single three-game series between the Cardinals and Cubs in August of 2003.

You don't necessarily have to be a Cardinal fan to enjoy
I don't believe I have ever read a book about sports before, and I probably will not have ever read this book except it is the first category in this year's ReadHarder Challenge. The book follows the St. Louis Cardinals as they play a three game series against the Chicago Cubs in late August 2003. The main focus is on Tony LaRussa, the former Cardinals manager, but still gives a lot of insight into the players and coaches as well. I have to admit that I found myself far less interested in the dr ...more
Joe Hardy
Dec 30, 2016 Joe Hardy rated it really liked it
A good book and really gave some insight on what Tony la Russa and any manager has to go through on a daily basis. It shows just how hard some people take losing and what they will do to keep it from happening again. It shows the constant struggle of what to do during a game, like when to put in a pinch batter or when to pull out your pitcher and how sometimes the decision that is made doesn't result in a favorable outcome. How one tiny play, pitch or call can completely alter the course of the ...more
Philip Girvan
Nov 03, 2016 Philip Girvan rated it it was ok
Bissinger frames the book around a Cardinals's 3 game home stand against the Cubs as both teams are battling for first place in the NL Central division in August 2003. The book hints at the sacrifices Cardinals skipper Tony LaRussa has made over the course of his 30 year plus managerial career, without going too deep.

It's not a biography of LaRussa, but an account of 3 days in the life of a MLB manager and his coaching staff with plenty of baseball stories, both old and new, to move the story f
William Johnson
Mar 24, 2012 William Johnson rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers who read in spurts, baseball fans
This one is a weird one. It took me well over a month to finish this and I took about two long 'not even touching this' breaks during the process to read other things but not because of a lack of interest.

The book isn't exactly long (not even 300 pages), nor is it tedious. Compared to John Feinstein's atrociously dull 'Living on the Black' (of which I read 310 pages and had to stop), Three Nights in August is very fun and quick paced.

But those expecting a page-turning, focused masterpiece like B
Dec 06, 2011 Kecia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
***Beautiful. Just beautiful baseball.***

Growing up in Texas I didn’t pay much attention to baseball. In Texas football is the only sport that matters, see Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger. Once a year my grandmother would take me to an Astros game at the Astrodome, and that was the extent of my exposure to baseball as a young girl. Until I met B. When I first met B and he told me his favorite thing to do was to watch baseball I groaned. Watch baseball? Wasn’t that about as exciting as watc
Matt Mccutchan
Jan 25, 2013 Matt Mccutchan rated it really liked it
I found the book 3 Nights in August, by Buzz Bissinger to be very good. Buzz Bissinger was the perfect person to write this book about the manager of the St. Louis, Tony La Russa. He has written books about different people and La Russa called Bissinger because he wanted him to write the book. They based the book on a three game series in August, but also had a lot more background. Bissinger had permission to go in the club house and talk with all the players during this three game series. He go ...more
Steven Belanger
Jun 25, 2016 Steven Belanger rated it liked it
Written in 2006 about games that took place in 2003, this book is a blast from the past--albeit a past that has slowed to the pace of extremely slow motion, so slow that you a 95-mph fastball takes maybe 20 pages of writing to make it to the plate. Before it does, you'll know every thought of the pitcher, the hitter, the catcher, both managers, every fan in the park and both batgirls. So you'd better have a passion for the minutia of the game, because you're going to know more about everything y ...more
Jul 11, 2014 Joseph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm a lifelong Cubs fan, which means that I can't really be objective here, but that clearly didn't stop Bissinger, so why should I let it stop me? He's obviously in the bag for LaRussa, which ... well, it is LaRussa's book, so I can't really fault him too much. And yet. It's almost as though Bissinger is throwing his bias in the reader's face, daring us to call him on it. The players he doesn't like, be they Cubs, or just lazy slacker spoiled athletes, are drawn with all the subtlety of Snidely ...more
Adam N.
Sep 24, 2010 Adam N. rated it really liked it
Three Nights in August
A baseball book
Is baseball really more than a game? Well in the book Three Nights in August you will learn all about it. The author of the book is Buzz Bissinger. The genre of this nook is informational. This story takes place in 2005 right in the heart of the season at the new Busch Stadium. Some of the main characters are the manager of the Cubs, Dusty Baker and the manager of the Cardinals, Tony LaRussa. This book takes you through the joy heartbreak and strategy of a ma
Jack Connolly
Dec 31, 2016 Jack Connolly rated it liked it
Really a 3.5, if I give it further thought it could change even still. There were dueling narratives I felt shouldn't have fought for my attention, but there was a disconnect that I felt was a real distraction. I really enjoyed the back stories of Tony Larussa as a manager and his past experiences in baseball. That I would give a 4.5, excellent stuff and really had me wanting to read more. The backdrop of a 3 game series was fine, but I don't think it was as effective as the author felt it would ...more
Oct 01, 2014 Jared rated it liked it
Shelves: sports
This was a true behind the scenes book, Bissinger had great access to Tony LaRussa and did an excellent job of telling the story of the 3 game series against the Cubs by interweaving a back story for the key situations that happened in the actual game. It was neat to hear the story of a reliever coming in from the bullpen in a close game when you knew the context in which he was coming in (his previous struggles in his career, the season, at home and against particular opponents).

The most inter
Dec 16, 2013 Jeffhuser08 rated it liked it
Jeffrey Huser
7th Hour
December 16th, 2013

Do you ever wonder what it takes to be the best at what you do? Tony LaRussa knows exactly what it takes! Hard work and dedication through thick and thin times. Even when he is feeling ill, he gets the job done. From early mornings and late nights, he never gives up on not only his team but himself. Not only do you need determination, but you need heart and that is exactly what Tony possesses.
My book, “Three Nights In August”, written by Buzz Bissinge
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H.G. Bissinger has won the Pulitzer Prize, the Livingston Award, the National Headliner Award, and the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel for his reporting. The author has written for the television series NYPD Blue and is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. He lives in Philadelphia.
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“Because Cards' fans are the most knowledgeable and loyal in all of baseball, they booed almost reluctantly, polite as booing goes, what would have passes as a standing ovation in Philly.” 4 likes
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