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

Moneyball by Michael   Lewis
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May 24, 2012

it was amazing

The date I read this is approximate.

This is actually not a book about baseball per se, although it helps to understand the game in order to understand the general points that are made in the book, and to understand the meaning of some of the stories. Since I did not read it without a prior knowledge of the game, I can't say for sure how approachable it is for people unfamiliar, but my guess is that it is since Lewis otherwise paints a thorough picture of various events.

This is a book about business and how this particular business is organized. It is about the success that Billy Beane and the Oakland A's had for years (and to some extent still do) based on cutting against the grain of tradition in baseball and applying as much science as possible into running the business. This mirrors similar success in other businesses historically — for example, early success in mining and manufacturing in the United States between 1780 and 1820 was always correlated to applying the latest knowledge and technologies. Some businesses, such as entertainment and sports, can afford to be more subjective — more "seat of the pants" — and still be profitable. Lewis shows how Beane added tremendous value to the A's organization through applying science.

The stories and accounts and their analysis by Lewis are told in a compelling way, bringing in the human drama that occurred (and occurs) behind the scenes. Even if Lewis approached the subject in a pedantic manner, the accounts and analysis would be valuable as an organizational guide (such as required reading in an MBA project course), but because of his compelling style it is actually also very fun to read.
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