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Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  72,576 Ratings  ·  4,095 Reviews
Michael Lewis, with his usual narrative flair, examines the fallacy behind the major league baseball refrain that the team with the biggest wallet is supposed to win. Over the past four years the Oakland Athletics, a major league team with a minor league payroll, have had one of the best records in the country. General Manager Billy Beene is putting into practice on the fi ...more
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Published November 17th 2003 by Books on Tape (first published 2003)
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Matt McKenzie I watched the movie first,and am now reading the book. I have to say,I enjoyed the movie better. As someone with no interest in baseball,I found the…moreI watched the movie first,and am now reading the book. I have to say,I enjoyed the movie better. As someone with no interest in baseball,I found the movie very easy to follow. The book poses a few more difficulties...
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Todd It can get pretty dense in some parts. You can SKIP those parts and continue reading about the players and how their lives were affected by this new…moreIt can get pretty dense in some parts. You can SKIP those parts and continue reading about the players and how their lives were affected by this new way of evaluating talent. (less)
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Brina
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
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 Colli
...more
Kemper
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
...more
Matt
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
...more
Jason
Nov 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-kindle, 2012, 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
...more
Diane
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
...more
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
...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
Howard
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
David
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
...more
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
...more
Shane
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
...more
Caroline
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…

But:

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
...more
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
Eric
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
...more
Jason
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
...more
Ryan
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
...more
Patrick
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
...more
Nancy
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.
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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
Ben
Apr 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To most people, this book is about stats, how some stats are inadequate, and moreover, how important stats are ignored. But that's not why I like this book. The real story for me is how people with fewer means succeed. It is more than an undercurrent in the book, and it is sadly ignored by most readers. The Oakland A's took baseball's detritus--fat guys, skinny guys, short guys--and composed championship-caliber teams with them. Moneyball to me isn't about the stats, it's about making the best o ...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
Nooilforpacifists
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.
Alisa
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
The inside story of the unlikely success of the Oakland Athletics 2002 team at the hands of General Manager Billy Beane and his unconventional talent evaluation methodology that enabled him to field a division winning team at bargain basement salaries. The history of baseball statistics and analysis was actually pretty interesting. I'm no mathlete but the theory behind it was thought provoking. Success on the field is sometimes calculated and ascribed a value that has just as much to do with cir ...more
Melissa
This was a fun read for those baseball fans that are bewildered by how baseball teams build and manage said teams. My husband enjoys watching the Oakland A's, which is the subject of this book; but like other Lewis' works, this one is more about the culture and industry than just the this one team. I honestly wished other team managers/owners see the value in at least some of the ideas of Billy Beane and apply them to their own teams (*cough* NY Yankees *cough* - yeah, maybe we could have avoide ...more
Angela James
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So here's the thing: before I started reading, this book had everything going against it for me. Despite my love of sports, I don't like baseball (at all) and I don't watch it. I know the basics of the game but otherwise, really don't know anything about the game and only recognize the names of really famous players. I don't like math or statistics (which are a big part of baseball and in a small way, this book) and I don't generally love nonfiction, though I do read it, it's not more than a cou ...more
AMP
Aug 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who thinks baseball statistics interfere with enjoyment of the game.
I've always found baseball fascinating, but have rarely admitted it publicly. That's because the revelation always seemed to be followed by someone trying to engage me in a conversation about the game. And that conversation would always, always end up revolving around statistics I neither cared about nor cared to learn.

Not because Math Is Haaaaaard, but because I always had a niggling suspicion that baseball-nerd numbers really weren't that important. Lewis proved me half right; some of the num
...more
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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.
More about Michael Lewis...
“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.” 79 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.” 43 likes
More quotes…