Moneyball by Michael Lewis

Summary (via Goodreads): "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 comes roaring back to challenge the American League record for consecutive wins."

Review: FASCINATING stuff. I read this book because my husband asked me to, in honor of the movie's release (today, in fact). I finished it in a week, which is impressive considering that I just started a new job, can't read after 6 or so (when it gets too dark to read - the lighting in my apartment is WAY crappy), and am pretty addicted to Netflix.

The way Billy Beane is portrayed is really interesting - he's not necessarily a genius, he's just frustrated with a system that doesn't seem to be working. At all. So he finds a way, not to overhaul the system, but to take advantage of the problems with it to create a winning baseball team. Which I love. The metaphor keeps getting thrown out that he's counting cards at the blackjack table, and Lewis drives home that metaphor.

Overall, fascinating story. Well told.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, i-feel-so-smart-now, nook-adult, read, thought-provoking


Oh, and here's the trailer for the movie. You're welcome.

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