Greg Cohoon's Reviews > Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Moneyball by Michael   Lewis
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jan 17, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: kindle, kindle-lending-library, baseball
Read 2 times. Last read January 16, 2012 to March 27, 2012.

I've had my eye on this book for a little while, then I saw the movie and pushed it to the top of my reading list. This is a very cool book. Make no mistake, it's a baseball book, but it's also a business book. The book chronicles the real-life story of the Oakland Athletics' quest to field a winning team despite their tiny payroll. Impressively, the A's were highly successful because, under the management of Billy Beane, they were successful in purchasing players who were dramatically undervalued in the baseball market. This was largely possible because Beane quit paying as much attention to the traditional baseball offensive stats (notably, batting average) and started paying attention to on-base percentage. The tactics that the A's pioneered changed the way baseball is played, as more teams have started to adopt similar strategies.

I mentioned this is also a business book. It is, because it examines the business of baseball. It demonstrates what every business wants to do: be successful (however you define success) with the lowest possible cost. The main point the book makes about how to achieve that is to discover what the market undervalues and exploit it. It's a simple business principle, but one that is worth going back and being reminded of. Surprisingly, in baseball, as the A's were generating great success by using this method, they were laughed at and dismissed. It really did take a little while for the rest of baseball to catch on to what was happening, and in those few years, the A's were able to take advantage of their visionary strategy.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book, as true in "real life" as it is in baseball:
"Managers tend to pick a strategy that is least likely to fail rather than pick a strategy that is most efficient," said Palmer. "The pain of looking bad is worse than the gain of making the best move."
One thing in particular that I enjoyed about this book is how the plot narrative was structured throughout the story. The book was more a case study than a plot-driven book, but there are several plot-like threads that run throughout: Beane struggling with his personal demons, the A's working to build a successful team, and the rise of the importance of different baseball statistics. The author skillfully wove all these themes together in a way that kept me engaged, providing a narrative framework that kept the reading from becoming dry.

If you love baseball, you need to read this book. If you don't love baseball, go see the movie instead.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Moneyball.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

Finished Reading (Paperback Edition)
January 16, 2012 – Started Reading
January 17, 2012 –
6.0% "Saw the movie, now reading the book. Like how it starts with Beane in high school."
January 17, 2012 – Shelved as: kindle
January 17, 2012 – Shelved
January 17, 2012 – Shelved as: kindle-lending-library
January 17, 2012 – Shelved as: baseball
January 17, 2012 –
January 31, 2012 –
38.0% "Nice to be back in this book after a hiatus."
February 2, 2012 –
40.0% "Getting ready to start Chapter 6."
March 22, 2012 –
March 27, 2012 – Finished Reading
April 4, 2012 – Shelved (Paperback Edition)
April 4, 2012 – Shelved as: baseball (Paperback Edition)
April 4, 2012 – Shelved as: kindle-lending-l... (Paperback Edition)

No comments have been added yet.