PDF Moneyball: The art of winning an unfair game, by Lewis, M New York and London: Norton, 2003, xv + 288 pp., USD 24.95 cloth William F Shughart

moneyball the art of winning an unfair game
moneyball the art of winning an unfair game

This meant, that he had to have a better mental model than they did, for what it is that makes a player good. He paid attention to those numbers—with the second-lowest payroll in baseball at his disposal he had to—to conduct an astonishing experiment in finding and fielding a team that nobody else wanted. Michael Lewis is a great business writer who gets the “story” out of successful or unique industries. The book is incredibly interesting because it explores how different baseball is from other businesses, as well as other professional sports. While it gives a lot of background and history, the information about current players and managers keep the book current.

A fantastic narrative for fans of spectator sports or folks like me who’d rather clean a toilet bowl with his tongue than watch a ball game. I expected the book to more or less correspond to the movie , but there’s a lot of depth to the story that really wasn’t covered in the movie version . 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. Jose Bautista hit several dramatic home runs in the playoffs, including the famous bat flip home run, but despite those fence clearing bombs, they were unable to advance in the playoffs. Kevin Youkilis – referred to in the book as the “Greek God of Walks”.

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. Lewis moneyball the art of winning an unfair game 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 source of hope for fans of small-market teams. The film version was a top-notch interpretation of the book, a lovely surprise.

He should know; he was one of those players that looked like a Greek God in a uniform. He was drafted in 1980 along with another phenom that even those people who don’t follow baseball probably recognize his name…Darryl Strawberry. Beane was an interesting enough prospect that, for a while, the Mets were even considering taking him in the draft first instead of Strawberry. Both were amazing specimens of what we want athletes to look like. The Mets ended up taking Beane, too, but with the 23rd pick.

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (Paperback)

His team might like this trade-off, but if it lowered his value to other teams, then the player might suffer in the free-agent market. 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.

For most of us, whose professions are considerably newer than that of the warrior, not only do changes upend our profession, but the old models of how things worked may not ever have been that good in the first place. It takes time for a profession to discover what works and what does not; my own current profession of software development has certainly not sorted this out yet. But when this happens, when a new mental model of How This Works comes along, there are at least a generation of people who have deep investment in the old mental model, who will be deeply resistant to any attempt to change the consensus on How This Works.

  • Lewis’s account bears more generally on the performance of markets.
  • Similarly, suppose a player takes more pitches in an attempt to draw more walks and as a result increases his on-base percentage at the cost of lowering his batting average.
  • And with a few exceptions, the tried-but-not-so-true baseball statistics such as batting average and RBIs remain the only ones reported.
  • I think readers who like stories about underdogs would also enjoy it, because it shows how a poor team was able to change the institution of baseball.

Most thoughtful observers realized long ago that this is a really dumb statistic. Why should pitching the last inning of a game have any special significance? A pitcher who comes in for the sixth inning of a tied game and pitches three scoreless innings has done something much more important than one who just pitches the ninth inning, protecting a three-run lead. Now, a dumb statistic could be harmless, but in this case, as is often true, the very fact that the number is collected and tabulated ends up influencing behavior.

So, this book is not only about the use of statistics in putting together a superior baseball team, it is also about the art of negotiation, and the wily craftiness involved in getting good deals. 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 a team of Harvard brainiacs to read stats in order to then assemble the best low cost baseball team his money could buy. Billy Beane was, we are led to believe, able to see through the common orthodoxy about what makes a great baseball player, because he was not one, and yet everyone he met in his life for years thought that he would be.

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While possessed of great physical talent, and obviously a keen intellect , he was unable to perform well at the professional level. Not merely in spite of this failure, but perhaps because of it, he went on to become one of the most consequential managers in the history of baseball. His fundamental insight, the foundation for all of the rest, was that Looks Are Deceiving.

moneyball the art of winning an unfair game

Lewis may be a bit too uncritcal of Billy Beane and his methods, and I’m not sure everything Beane advocates really works, but it does make you think. And many of the principles can be applied to work and business beyond baseball. Lewis focuses on the extraordinary success of Beane, who has produced a terrific baseball team despite one of the lower payrolls in baseball.

People discussed in the book

What these geek numbers show—no, prove—is that the traditional yardsticks of success for players and teams are fatally flawed. This information has been around for years, and nobody inside Major League Baseball paid it any mind. And then came Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics. This is one of the best baseball books I’ve read in a long time. Even if you can’t stand the Oakland A’s like I do, it’s still a wonderful story. It gives the average baseball fan a completely revolutionary perspective on the back room business of baseball.

(Of course, one of the knocks on Lewis is that he is an over-simplifier. Perhaps. But that’s better than a needless confuser). 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. The Royals deviate from Billy Beane ball at many junctures.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the afterward. Apparently, after Moneyball was published, the baseball insiders tore Billy Beane to pieces, accusing him of all sorts of things. He went against baseball orthodoxy, and then had the gall to allow the story of his team’s achievements to be published in a book. Good for Michael Lewis for defending Beane, his book, and those who cooperated with bringing us this fascinating story.

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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. Moneyball is written such that a person does not need any in-depth knowledge of statistics, as the author explains the mathematics in a straight-forward manner, possibly over-simplifying to reach a wider audience.

About the author

Provides plenty of action, both numerical and athletic, on the field and in the draft-day war room., The best book of the year, already feels like the most influential book on sports ever written. You need know absolutely nothing about baseball to appreciate the wit, snap, economy and incisiveness of [Lewis’s] thoughts about it., Moneyball is the best business book Lewis has written. It may be the best business book anyone has written., Michael Lewis’s beautiful obsession with the idea of value has once again yielded gold…. If you know anything about baseball, you will enjoy it four times as much as I did, which means that you might explode., Michael Lewis’s beautiful obsession with the idea of value has once again yielded gold….

moneyball the art of winning an unfair game

Besides being beautifully written, Lewis never forgets the human element—the “romantic” side—of baseball in his characterizations of an ensemble cast of fascinating, flawed, and idiosyncratic people. In 2002, Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s, decided to do something so radical as to have the appearance of utter insanity. The major taxing of this book https://forexarena.net/ 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. Some people maybe not comfortable with the writing style in this book, jumping from one subject to another without smooth main story.

Since 1999, when Beane took over, the Athletics have compiled an amazing record. In 1999, the Athletics ranked eleventh in the American League in payroll and fifth in wins. In 2000, the Athletics ranked twelfth in payroll and second in wins, a feat that they duplicated in 2001. In 2002, they ranked twelfth in payroll again–and first in wins. I am a baseball fan, and I do think it helps to have some knowledge of the game to truly appreciate this book. It probably would be dull for those who don’t understand the basics of the game.

When Red Sox relievers lost the opening-day game to the woeful Tampa Devil Rays and suffered through an awful opening month, James was viewed as the villain. Of course, James does not advocate bad pitching, and, presumably with his help, the team has acquired three new relief pitchers. But, interestingly, they also seem to have designated one as their closer, perhaps deciding to let this particular battle wait for another day.

We are a company mired in traditions and traditional thinking and long overdue for an overhaul in philosophy to meet new challenges. Like all companies, we need to become more efficient, more lean, more targeted to what wins ball games rather than what creates a big splash. I’m buying copies of this book for the rest of the management staff, and we are going to talk about singles and doubles and managing our outs. By re-evaluating their strategy in this way, the 2002 Athletics, with approximately $44 million in salary, were competitive with larger market teams such as the New York Yankees, who spent over $125 million in payroll that season. Because of its smaller budget, Oakland had to find players undervalued by the market, and their system has proven itself thus far.

One being the most dramatic play of the series when Eric Hosmer steals home. Beane does not believe in stealing bases, too risky, and if you steal a base on a Billy Beane team, you better make sure you are safe. The Royals also occasionally bunt to move a runner, which doesn’t fit the Beane philosophy. He believes in managing outs and never giving up an out to advance a runner.

Like most people, including experts, they tend to rely on simple rules of thumb, on traditions, on habits, on what other experts seem to believe. Even when the stakes are high, rational behavior does not always emerge. It takes time and effort to switch from simple intuitions to careful assessments of evidence. This point helps to explain why baseball owners have been slow to copy Beane’s approach. The Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox have recently hired general managers who follow Beane.

Michael Lewis’s instant classic may be “the most influential book on sports ever written” , but “you need know absolutely nothing about baseball to appreciate the wit, snap, economy and incisiveness of [Lewis’s] thoughts about it” . Lewis has acknowledged that the book’s success may have hurt the Athletics’ fortunes as other teams accepted sabermetrics, reducing Oakland’s edge. Lewis is actually speaking here of a central finding in cognitive psychology. Now, it is not exactly dumb to use the availability heuristic. Yet reliable statistical evidence will outperform the availability heuristic every time.

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