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Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  87,891 ratings  ·  4,604 reviews
"Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball. In a narrative full of characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, Michael Lewis follows the low-budget Oakland A's visionary general manager Billy Beane, and the strange brotherhood of amateur baseball theorists. They are all in search of new baseball knowledge -- sights that will give the little gu ...more
Kindle Edition, 316 pages
Published (first published 2003)
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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)
Jason Hughes The book is character driven, so no. However, it can get a little bit heavy on the baseball terms at times. Overall, I think if you want a full…moreThe book is character driven, so no. However, it can get a little bit heavy on the baseball terms at times. Overall, I think if you want a full understanding of what is going on, a bit of googling can help while reading. If you don't feel like it, however, the story itself is basically understandable. Just insert 'does baseball things' in the jargon sections.(less)

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4.26  · 
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 ·  87,891 ratings  ·  4,604 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
“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 Coll
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
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 any true baseball fan, and a sour ...more
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
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: journalism, sports
“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, for-kindle, reviewed
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
In honor of the MLB postseason, I am resurrecting a book review that I wrote back in 2009.

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 utilizes the approac
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: baseball, owned
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.
Alex Ristea
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read the book and then immediately watched the movie, and I can confirm that (once again) the book is better than its silver screen counterpart, even when its written by the legendary Aaron Sorkin.

A little about why this book was important to me personally. I am not a baseball fan, but I do work in professional sports, and specifically deal with analytics to now measure things which used to be very hand-wavvy.

This book can actually be a nail-biter at times. Don't get me wrong, it's still a lot
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 *Hufflepuff Kitten*
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
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!
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
Joshua Guest
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
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
Big League Manager
Well, its kind of about baseball. Its more really about Billy Beane and how terrific a GM he is and, as an extra bonus, he is so much like the swell guys on Wall Street who have it all figured out.

Well kinda.

You see, the Oakland Athletics were/are a "poor" ballclub. They do not have the cash of teams like the Yankees or Red Sox so they can not afford much in the way of scouting and even if they do scout they do not have the money to sign the best players (actually I mean the players the rich t
Wayland Smith
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that's not quite what it seems, or not wholly, anyway. It's mostly about Billy Beane, manager of the Oakland A's, and his unique method of recruiting players. Where most baseball teams rely on scouts and "wisdom" like "This guy is good looking," Beane uses some hard data by way of stats, and looks at them in a way most other baseball professionals can't seem to bring themselves to.

While it's an interesting look inside baseball, that's not all it's about. What I really found fasci
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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.
“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.” 104 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.” 55 likes
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