The Art of Winning An Unfair Game

Book - 2003
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Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball. Following the low-budget Oakland Athletics, their larger-than-life general manger, Billy Beane, and the strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts, Michael Lewis has written not only "the single most influential baseball book ever" (Rob Neyer, Slate) but also what "may be the best book ever written on business" (Weekly Standard).I wrote this book because I fell in love with a story. The story concerned a small group of undervalued professional baseball players and executives, many of whom had been rejected as unfit for the big leagues, who had turned themselves into one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball. But the idea for the book came well before I had good reason to write it--before I had a story to fall in love with. It began, really, with an innocent question: how did one of the poorest teams in baseball, the Oakland Athletics, win so many games?With these words Michael Lewis launches us into the funniest, smartest, and most contrarian book since, well, since Liar's Poker. Moneyball is a quest for something as elusive as the Holy Grail, something that money apparently can't buy: the secret of success in baseball. The logical places to look would be the front offices of major league teams, and the dugouts, perhaps even in the minds of the players themselves. Lewis mines all these possibilities--his intimate and original portraits of big league ballplayers are alone worth the price of admission--but the real jackpot is a cache of numbers--numbers!--collected over the years by a strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts: software engineers, statisticians, Wall Street analysts, lawyers and physics professors.What these geek numbers show--no, prove--is that the traditional yardsticks of success for players and teams are fatally flawed. Even the box score misleads us by ignoring the crucial importance of the humble base-on-balls. 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.Billy paid attention to those numbers --with the second lowest payroll in baseball at his disposal he had to--and this book records his astonishing experiment in finding and fielding a team that nobody else wanted. Moneyball is a roller coaster ride: before the 2002 season opens, Oakland must relinquish its three most prominent (and expensive) players, is written off by just about everyone, and then comes roaring back to challenge the American League record for consecutive wins.In a narrative full of fabulous characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, Michael Lewis shows us how and why the new baseball knowledge works. He also sets up a sly and hilarious morality tale: Big Money, like Goliath, is always supposed to win... how can we not cheer for David?
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, c2003
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780393057652
Branch Call Number: Sports & Games 796.357 Lew


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IndyPL_JasonD Jun 10, 2019

The author, Michael Lewis, is great at picking/writing interesting subjects, stories, and history. Major League Baseball is a subject that is interesting in the sense it is high stakes, high prices, high rewards (One of the few sports with no player or team salary cap). This undoubtedly gives an unfair advantage to teams/cities with high budgets to purchase the best talent.

This book picks up on a less fortunate, smaller team, the Oakland Athletics, that finds a way to win 20 games in a row in the 2002 season, to beat teams with over 3 times (10s of millions less or more) their own budget—all through nothing less than by putting a few theories (or sabermetrics), into practice.

A good read with excellent detail, insight and yet not too strenuous to understand.

Mar 28, 2018

Moneyball is a great book but it’s not about just baseball but about life decisions. Billy the main character is a star high school athlete, and has to choose between getting drafted to the MLB or go to Harvard on a full ride scholarship for baseball and football. Billy chose to get drafted but it didn't work out and told the GM he wanted to be a scout; He ends up being the GM. This is the first book I have read by Michael Lewis, but I have read other books with similar themes. This is by far the best book I have ever read. I recommend this to people that are having to make a big life decision and/or love the game of baseball. This book does have some bad words so I would recommend this to ages 14 and up.

Mar 08, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed Michael Lewis’s book Moneyball as it was a very interesting look into the world of professional baseball and the strategy behind creating successful baseball teams. Michael Lewis’s characters are also well developed and the underdog team of The Oakland A’s he describes in the book is very easy to root for. As a result the book is gripping throughout as one really wants the underdog team with a brilliant analytical strategy to be able to overcome the sheer economic power of the more established teams. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in either sports or math.
- @CookieMonster of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

nrowlands Dec 07, 2016

Michael Lewis' classic story of the man and organization that revolutionized baseball.

bibliotechnocrat Aug 29, 2016

Michael Lewis knocks it over the fence. Even though I'm not a fan of baseball, I found his descriptions of the arcane (and rather insane) practices of selecting potential players, and evaluating existing ones, to be interesting and amusing. Lewis writes well and presents a pretty powerful argument for evidence-based decision making. The personal story of Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt in the film) works well to shape the narrative, so it's not all baseball stats and oddities. I think The Blind Side might have been a bit better, but I really liked them both. Mr. Lewis, you have a new fan.

Nov 24, 2014

Excellent book. When the movie came out, I was not surprised that critics said it was not as good as the book.

Michael Lewis is a very good writer. In addition to Moneyball, I especially recommend his books Liar's Poker, and The Big Short.

Jul 06, 2014

Moneyball explains why the Oakland A's, with a ridiculously low budget, was able to defeat other richer franchises by exploiting inefficiencies in the market. General manager Billy Beane and his assistant Paul DePodesta find undervalued baseball players to build a winning franchise. This was made possible through the introduction of Sabermetrics, the study of baseball statistics. A wonderful read, better with background baseball knowledge.

Jun 26, 2014

I found that having some baseball knowledge was useful and made the book more exciting to read.

May 04, 2014

Only an excessive drift between narrative and technical information drop my rating into one a full point higher.

The storytelling is marvellous, and makes me want to see the movie based upon the book again.

Dec 14, 2012

The author seeks to explain the previous success of Billy Beane's penny-pinching Oakland A's and how his success may continue when several key players depart for more financially beneficial pastures. With topics ranging from the creation of sabremetrics, behind the scenes looks at MLB, moral questions about the importance of money in relation to success, and Billy Beane recovering from the greatest mistake of his life, this book delivers the author's goal and so much more.

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Jul 06, 2014

Brandon97_ thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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Jul 06, 2014

"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."


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