Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” as Want to Read:
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  108,717 ratings  ·  5,109 reviews
Moneyball is 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 front offices of major league teams and the dugouts, perhaps even in the minds of the players themselves. Michael Lewis mines all these possibilities - his intimate and original portraits of b ...more
Hardcover, 286 pages
Published June 17th 2003 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 2003)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Moneyball, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Andersen Pickard It really depends how much you like baseball and the statistical/Bill James aspect. If you like digging deep into all this, the book is better. But if…moreIt really depends how much you like baseball and the statistical/Bill James aspect. If you like digging deep into all this, the book is better. But if you like the info in a more simpler form, the movie is better.(less)
Max de Feijter I'm reading the book right now, and being dutch (where nobody plays baseball) it is incredibly difficult to make any sense of the book. I don't recomm…moreI'm reading the book right now, and being dutch (where nobody plays baseball) it is incredibly difficult to make any sense of the book. I don't recommend it for people who just don't know anything about baseball, it makes it a tough read(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  108,717 ratings  ·  5,109 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Jeffrey Keeten
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“The pleasure of rooting for Goliath is that you can expect to win. The pleasure of rooting for David is that, while you don’t know what to expect, you stand at least a chance of being inspired.”

 photo Moneyball_zpsvyiu5cwi.jpg

This book came out in 2003, and the movie version came out in 2011; yet, it is amazing to me that despite the success shown by the Oakland As under the guidance of Billy Beane, baseball, for the most part, is still focusing on the wrong things. Just recently the manager of the New York Mets, Terry Co
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Moneyball at a time when I wasn't reading too much besides preschool kids books and reread it for the baseball book club I am a part of on good reads. Michael Lewis follows the story of general manager Billy Bean and his 2002 Oakland As, a low budget baseball team that managed to win their division going away. What is remarkable is that Bean built his team focusing on sabermetrics, not home runs and RBIs. He knew he did not have money to compete with the Yankees of the world and assembled ...more
Will Byrnes
Michael Lewis - image from Forbes

This is one of the best baseball books I have ever read, and that is saying something. Lewis’ focus is on Billy Bean, the GM of the Oakland Athletics. Because Oakland is a small-market team, Bean must use his brain to tease out the players who can help his team, at a reasonable cost. This makes him a sort of anti-Steinbrenner. Lewis goes into some detail on how Bean manages to field competitive teams almost every year under dire fiscal constraints. Must-read for
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having the misfortune of being a Kansas City Royals fan, I thought I’d had any interest in baseball beaten out of me by season after season of humiliation. Plus, the endless debate about the unfairness of large market vs. small market baseball had made my eyes glaze over years ago so I didn’t pay much attention to the Moneyball story until the movie came out last year and caught my interest enough to finally check this out.

Despite being a small market team and outspent by tens of millions of dol
In honor of the MLB postseason, I am resurrecting a book review that I wrote back in 2009 on another website.

I hardly know where to begin in attempting a review of Michael Lewis’ Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. It isn’t that I don’t think that the book is well written, because it is. It isn’t that I disagree with the conclusions that are reached in the book, because, for the most part, I don’t. What bothers me, as a recovering baseball fanatic, is that I don’t enjoy the game that u
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, journalism
“It breaks your heart,” A. Bartlett Giamatti wrote of baseball in a piece called The Green Fields of the Mind. “It is designed to break your heart.”

And so it does, year after year.

Baseball, as has often been noted, is a game predicated on failure. The game’s best hitters only succeed in roughly three out of ten at bats. A 162-game season presents a tremendous sample size, which should iron out aberrations; and yet year after year, entire seasons come down to a single bad bounce or mistimed swi
Nov 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, reviewed, for-kindle
This is a good book, but not as good as I thought it was going to be. Sometimes I find technical writing to be a bit repetitive and this definitely leans more toward technical non-fiction than biography (I was hoping for more of a human interest story here)—because even though Billy Beane takes up a large chunk of the story, it isn’t really a story about Billy Bean per se.

Moneyball was published in 2003, only a year after John Henry bought the Boston Red Sox. Before that time, very few people in
Riku Sayuj

It was a better story before I knew the whole story.

Almost every book on randomness I have read had a reference to Moneyball and I had built up my own version about this story (I had even told a few people that version!) and it imagined everybody doing what Billy Beane was doing, and Billy Beane doing some sort of probability distribution among all players and randomly picking his team, winning emphatically, and thus proving that a truly random pick of players is the equivalent of a true-simula
Michael Lewis hit this one out of the park. I love his writing style -- he is able to explain complex and insider ideas to a layperson, and he makes it interesting. That skill is as valuable to a reporter as a baseball player's on-base percentage was to the Oakland Athletics.

The story follows the Oakland A's during the 2002 baseball season, which was when their general manager, Billy Beane, was following a different set of principles for assembling a team than the majority of the league. Beane a
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Grumpus
For the most part, the is a fun book to read about the general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. The first half of the book was very enjoyable. Toward the end, though, it became a bit repetitive. It's not that the author repeats himself--he does not. It's just that the stories about hiring and trading for good baseball players started to sound all the same after a while.

Billy Beane was the general manager during the late 1980's, early 1990's. His team was one of the poorest in the
Jay Schutt
Apr 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, baseball
This just didn't wow me like I thought it would. I guess I just like the play on the field better than the behind-the-scenes action. ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The major taxing of this book is not the baseball terms, but there are so many people appeared in the book, and the similarities in names are not helping. For example, the main protagonist is Billy Beane, and there is another important character whose name is Billy James. That's my only concern when reading this book. Some people maybe not comfortable with the writing style in this book, jumping from one subject to another without smooth main story.

I am not a professional baseball fan although I
Apr 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Baseball fans of any level; Joe Morgan
A couple cons:

The writing’s a little heavy-handed in places, which might just be a hazard of writing about baseball. Ex: “The batter’s box was a cage designed to crush his spirit.”

Plus, as a poet, I always feel guilty reading books like this when I could/should be reading Proust or Shakespeare…


Overall, I really enjoyed Moneyball, and I’m glad I read it. Even though it’s focused on the emergence of new baseball-thinking, Moneyball seems much more comprehensive, and much more narrative than
Smart people who think outside the box are so much fun to read about.

I read this book really fast, and it was enjoyable to read the whole way through. I've never read a Michael Lewis book before, but I might consider reading more now. He has a simple, clean style that is really efficient at getting his story across, and he has an instinct for the best way to use his material. And he has some great underlying material here.

As he notes in the Afterword (which is really great, so if you're going t
Apr 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Moneyball is a book that shook the world of professional baseball, but not necessarily in the way it should have. Let me explain...

Moneyball is framed around the story of Billy Beane, a hot prospect who never panned out in the majors, who became general manager of the Oakland A's in 1997. Since that time, the A's, while consistently having one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, have been one of the best teams in the game. How is this possible? The book details how Beane and a few trusted associ
Ashley Marie
Really enjoyed this, partly because reading a baseball book in October when your team is in the playoffs gives you a great high and partly because I was surprisingly and honestly fascinated by the science of sabermetrics. Science and math have never been my strong points, but like Jurassic Park or The Martian, I was nevertheless intrigued. Coupled with the handful of recognizable players scattered through the book, I had a good time with this one. I also remember seeing the film a few years ago; ...more
Joy D
Non-fiction about how Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane used sabermetrics to develop winning baseball team at less expense than the wealthier teams in the industry. Published in 2003, we can see much of Beane’s philosophy being practiced now throughout the game. There are fewer sacrifices, hit & runs, and steals, and more emphasis on walks and reliance on statistical probabilities in making decisions. On base percentage plus slugging has upstaged the traditional measurements of RBIs, runs ...more
RJ - Slayer of Trolls
"I was writing a book about the collision of reason and baseball." - Michael Lewis

Moneyball has become the modern-day shorthand term for a perceived over-reliance on statistical data by a given baseball manager, front office, or franchise. Critics point out that, since Billy Beane took over as General Manager and implemented many cutting-edge valuation models based on sabermetric data, the Oakland As have failed to win a World Series Championship. That criticism is accurate. It also misses the p
Donald Powell
This was a fun book I had on a list for a long time. The author has challenged America's Pastime with the modern world. This is the fourth book I have read from Mr. Lewis. He is a master at finding, explaining and making interesting the way technology and mathematics wrenches us into this current, new world. He has an "Afterword" in the edition I read which was laugh inducing and quite fun. ...more
Nov 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Simultaneously among the top 10 sports books and the top 10 economics books. Without Lewis's typical Princetonian smugness. ...more
Joshua Guest
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you haven't already seen the movie, you ought to see the movie. And after you have seen the movie, you ought to read the book. I loved the film adaptation, it adds magic and melancholy to the story. This book stands out to me not because it's a good underdog story (though it is a very good underdog story), and not because it's a good non-fiction story (and it is a very good non-fiction story), but because of the symbolic power and universality of its core message: there is unseen value in eve ...more
Sep 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jason by: Jon Balmer
I fucking hate watching sports.
Hate it.
Then how is it that this book, about applying pertinent statistical analyis to creating baseball teams and playing basesball, so captivated me? It's a testament to a) the skill of the author, Michael Lewis, but also b) the unequivocal appeal of the underlying story: how hard it is to change the status quo (and how one can succeed despite that) and the man Lewis profiles, Billy Beane.
A fantastic narrative for fans of spectator sports or folks like me who'd
Chase Chandler
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Has phenomenal insight on the inner workings of the front office of baseball. Additionally it offers an incredible perspective into the complex world of baseball stats. I feel like I understand baseball waaaaaaaaaaaaay better because of reading this book.

A must read for any baseball fan, and a great read for any sport fan!
Gwen (The Gwendolyn Reading Method)
A wee bit all over the place and rambling but more than made up for by the fascinating subject matter.
Scott Rhee
As a writer, Michael Lewis has that amazing ability to write about one thing but actually be writing about something else entirely. Sometimes it’s meanings within meanings, and it often requires a deeper read between the lines.

“Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” is, ostensibly, about the economics of baseball, how baseball can be looked at as a financial microcosm of the real world: the wealth inequalities between major league teams and how rich teams tend to win many more games than
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Baseball fans
Recommended to Eric by: Sean Cunningham
Shelves: sports
I found this book extremely interesting, especially since I didn't read it until eight years after it came out, meaning I knew how all the draft picks and other players mentioned in the book panned out (a topic on which a good deal has now been written). Only my rule of always reading the book before seeing the movie prompted me pick it up now, a decision I don't regret.

The book had some interesting tidbits I wasn't aware of, such as where the term sabremetrics came from ("The name derives from
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know next to nothing about baseball, and less than that about statistics, but this book about applying new statistical thinking in baseball to the selection of a winning team (the Oakland A's) was absolutely riveting reading for me. Michael Lewis is just that good. ...more
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boy did I read Michael Lewis' Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game at the right time: January.

(The off-season.)

Over the last two years, I've made a real effort to learn about sports. Hockey? Not a problem. The NBA? A gossipy league, but I think it's more popular because of it. The NFL? Short but sweet. No matter how hard I try -- I'll score the game, I'll eat the peanuts, but I draw the line at chew -- I just cannot develop an interest in baseball. I recently talked to a former ESPN writ
Kali Srikanth
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who has an appetite for underdog stories.
Billy Beane raises his right hand up- “There are rich teams, there are poor teams, there is 50 feet of crap and then there is US.” reaches the table level.

Thirty pages into book I knew this book is going to be completely different from movie version only time to decide if it’s engaging or uncompelling. So I thought I would find a way to supply my patience fuel for another thirty pages or so, then I shall confidently decide on quitting or no because after all, this was not the story I fell in l
Dec 17, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball fans
If you're a baseball fan, you'll really appreciate this book. It is more or less a primer on the way the emphasis on statistics has come to prominence in many circles around the sport, and provides insight into some of the seemingly more arcane terms around the sport, such as OBP, OPS, VORP, etc. It's really quite valuable in that regard.

It has also come to represent the term for the organizations that embrace this approach to scouting, although that assessment is not entirely accurate. The book
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Jordan Rules: The Inside Story of One Turbulent Season with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls
  • Heat
  • When the Game Was Ours
  • Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series
  • Now I Can Die in Peace: How ESPN's Sports Guy Found Salvation, with a Little Help from Nomar, Pedro, Shawshank and the 2004
  • The Breaks of the Game
  • Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream
  • Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN
  • Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager
  • The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul
  • Boring to Billions : Adventures of a High Roller (Part One)
  • Boring to Billions: Adventures of a High Roller (Part 3)
  • Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever
  • The Yankee Years
  • Summer of '49
  • The Deal (Off-Campus, #1)
  • Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
  • The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy
See similar books…
Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, The Money Culture, The New New Thing, Moneyball, The Blind Side, Panic, Home Game, The Big Short, and Boomerang, among other works, lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.

Articles featuring this book

Spring is Mother Nature’s way of saying, “Oof–let’s try this again.” The last 12 months have been, well, challenging is the polite term....
252 likes · 74 comments
“The pleasure of rooting for Goliath is that you can expect to win. The pleasure of rooting for David is that, while you don’t know what to expect, you stand at least a chance of being inspired.” 119 likes
“Managers tend to pick a strategy that is the least likely to fail, rather then to pick a strategy that is most efficient," Said Palmer. " The pain of looking bad is worse than the gain of making the best move.” 66 likes
More quotes…