Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

4.2 445
by Michael Lewis, Scott Brick
     
 

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The Oakland Athletics have a secret: a winning baseball team is made, not bought.In major league baseball the biggest wallet is supposed to win: rich teams spend four times as much on talent as poor teams. But over the past four years, the Oakland Athletics, a major league team with a minor league payroll, have had one of the best records. Last year their superstar

Overview

The Oakland Athletics have a secret: a winning baseball team is made, not bought.In major league baseball the biggest wallet is supposed to win: rich teams spend four times as much on talent as poor teams. But over the past four years, the Oakland Athletics, a major league team with a minor league payroll, have had one of the best records. Last year their superstar, Jason Giambi, went to the superrich Yankees. It hasn't made any difference to Oakland: their fabulous season included an American League record for consecutive victories. Billy Beane, general manager of the Athletics, is putting into practice on the field revolutionary principles garnered from geek statisticians and college professors. Michael Lewis's brilliant, irreverent reporting takes us from the dugouts and locker rooms-where coaches and players struggle to unlearn most of what they know about pitching and hitting-to the boardrooms, where we meet owners who begin to look like fools at the poker table, spending enormous sums without a clue what they are doing. Combine money, science, entertainment, and egos, and you have a story that Michael Lewis is magnificently suited to tell. About the Author

Author of the bestsellers Liar's Poker, The New New Thing, and Next, Michael Lewis is also a columnist for Bloomberg News. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
In order to compete in professional baseball, conventional wisdom says a team has to have a solid cash flow and a flawless recruiting program. Oakland A’s general manager Billy Bean took another path to success and built a winning team from a collection of traditionally undervalued players. Scott Brick’s winning performance combines pitch-perfect narration that captures the spirit of Lewis’s text with a knack for reading sports stats, facts, and figures. Brick skillfully navigates an unsteady sea of information to produce a flawless reading that will keep listeners enthralled for hours. They will root for the underdog and gain a solid understanding ofexactly why money can’t always buy a championship. A Norton paperback. (Sept.)
The New Yorker
The Oakland Athletics have reached the post-season playoffs three years in a row, even though they spend just one dollar for every three that the New York Yankees spend. Their secret, as Lewis's lively account demonstrates, is not on the field but in the front office, in the shape of the general manager, Billy Beane. Unable to afford the star hires of his big-spending rivals, Beane disdains the received wisdom about what makes a player valuable, and has a passion for neglected statistics that reveal how runs are really scored. Beane's ideas are beginning to attract disciples, most notably at the Boston Red Sox, who nearly lured him away from Oakland over the winter. At the last moment, Beane's loyalty got the better of him; besides, moving to a team with a much larger payroll would have diminished the challenge.
The New York Times
Whether Billy Beane is a prophet or a flash in the pan remains to be seen. In either case, by playing Boswell to Beane's Samuel Johnson, Lewis has given us one of the most enjoyable baseball books in years. — Lawrence S. Ritter
Time
[An] ebullient, invigorating account of how an unconvential general manger named Billy Beane rebuilt the A's, a team with the second lowest payroll in baseball, into a team that won 103 games last year -- as many as the filthy-rich Yankees.
Publishers Weekly
Lewis (Liar's Poker; The New New Thing) examines how in 2002 the Oakland Athletics achieved a spectacular winning record while having the smallest player payroll of any major league baseball team. Given the heavily publicized salaries of players for teams like the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees, baseball insiders and fans assume that the biggest talents deserve and get the biggest salaries. However, argues Lewis, little-known numbers and statistics matter more. Lewis discusses Bill James and his annual stats newsletter, Baseball Abstract, along with other mathematical analysis of the game. Surprisingly, though, most managers have not paid attention to this research, except for Billy Beane, general manager of the A's and a former player; according to Lewis, "[B]y the beginning of the 2002 season, the Oakland A's, by winning so much with so little, had become something of an embarrassment to Bud Selig and, by extension, Major League Baseball." The team's success is actually a shrewd combination of luck, careful player choices and Beane's first-rate negotiating skills. Beane knows which players are likely to be traded by other teams, and he manages to involve himself even when the trade is unconnected to the A's. " `Trawling' is what he called this activity," writes Lewis. "His constant chatter was a way of keeping tabs on the body of information critical to his trading success." Lewis chronicles Beane's life, focusing on his uncanny ability to find and sign the right players. His descriptive writing allows Beane and the others in the lively cast of baseball characters to come alive. (June) Forecast: Lewis's reputation, along with extensive national promotion, first serial in the New York Times Magazine and a 13-city tour should help the book hit bestseller lists throughout the baseball season. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Forbes Magazine
One of the best baseball--and management--books out. It chronicles and examines the extraordinary success of the Oakland Athletics' general manager, Billy Beane, who is a colorful mix of genius, discipline and emotion. If you ever come across anyone connected with professional baseball and want to witness an interesting sight, just mention Beane and this book--there will be gurgling, sputtering, angry mutterings. (13 Oct 2003)
—Steve Forbes
Library Journal
How the Oakland Athletics stay on top in baseball without a lot of dough: Norton's biggest book this season. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A solid piece of iconoclasm: the intriguing tale of Major League baseball's oddfellows—the low-budget but winning Oakland Athletics. Here's the gist, that baseball, from field strategy to player selection, is "better conducted by scientific investigation—hypotheses tested by analysis of historical baseball data—than be reference to the collective wisdom of old baseball men." Not some dry, numbing manipulation of figures, but an inventive examination of statistics, numbers that reveal what the eye refuses to see, thanks to ingrained prejudices. As in most of Lewis's work (The New New Thing, 1999, etc.), a keen intellect is at work, a spry writing style, a facility to communicate the meaning of numbers, an infectious excitement, and a healthy disdain for the aura and power of big bucks. Such is the situation here: The Oakland A's have a budget that would hardly cover the Yankee's chewing tobacco. Their General Manager, Billy Beane, and his band of Harvard-educated assistants, are the heirs of Bill James (of whom there is an excellent portrait here). They creatively use stats to discover unsung talent—gems not so much in the rough as invisible to the overburden of received wisdom—a guy who will get on base despite being shaped like a pear or control the strike zone even if his fastball can't get out of third gear, measuring the measurables to garner fine talent at basement prices. At least for a few seasons, until the talent's worth is common knowledge and off they go to clubs who can pay them millions. And the A's win, and win and win, not yet to a Series victory, but edging closer. The story clicks along with steady momentum, and possesses excellent revelatorypowers. There’s a method to the madness of the Beane staff, and Lewis incisively explains its inspired, heretical common sense. Has Lewis spilled Beane's beans? Maybe so, but considering the mulish dispositions of baseball's scouts and front offices, they'll miss the boat again. First serial to the New York Times Magazine; author tour
People
“[The] most influential book on sports ever written. If you're a baseball fan, Moneyball is a must.”
Garry Trudeau
“A brilliantly told tale....Michael Lewis's beautiful obsession with the idea of value has once again yielded gold.”
New York Times - Janet Maslin
“You need know absolutely nothing about baseball to appreciate the wit, snap, economy and incisiveness of Lewis's thoughts about it....Moneyball moves nimbly between sheer exuberance and strategic wiles.”
Time Magazine
“Ebullient, invigorating...provides plenty of action, both numerical and athletic, on the field and in the draft-day war room.”
Tom Wolfe
“Moneyball is [Lewis's] grandest tour de force yet.”
Slate - Rob Neyer
“The single most influential baseball book ever.”
Janet Maslin - New York Times
“Lewis has hit another one out of the park.... You need know absolutely nothing about baseball to appreciate the wit, snap, economy and incisiveness of [Lewis's] thoughts about it.”
Rob Neyer - Slate
“The single most influential baseball book ever.”
Mark Gerson - Weekly Standard
“Moneyball is the best business book Lewis has written. It may be the best business book anyone has written.”
Lawrence S. Ritter - New York Times Book Review
“By playing Boswell to Beane's Samuel Johnson, Lewis has given us one of the most enjoyable baseball books in years.”
Lev Grossman - Time
“Ebullient, invigorating.... Provides plenty of action, both numerical and athletic, on the field and in the draft-day war room.”
Richard J. Tofel - Wall Street Journal
“A journalistic tour de force.”
Nick Hornby - The Believer
“I understood about one in four words of Moneyball, and it's still the best and most engrossing sports book I've read in years. If you know anything about baseball, you will enjoy it four times as much as I did, which means that you might explode.”
Baseball America Editors
“You have to read Moneyball...Amazing anecdotes...an entertaining, enlightening read.”
New York Observer
“Stunning....[Lewis's] explanations of the science of baseball...are spellbinding.”
The New York Times Book Review
“One of the most enjoyable baseball books in years.”
Weekly Standard
“May be the best book ever written on business.”
Washington Post
“Engaging, informative, and deliciously contrarian.”
Newsweek
“Anyone who cares about baseball must read Moneyball.”
Wall Street Journal
“Another journalistic tour de force.”
San Jose Mercury News
“An extraordinary job of reporting and writing.”
New York Times
You need know absolutely nothing about baseball to appreciate the wit, snap, economy and incisiveness of Lewis's thoughts about it....Moneyball moves nimbly between sheer exuberance and strategic wiles.— Janet Maslin
New York Times Book Review
“One of the most enjoyable baseball books in years.”
Slate
The single most influential baseball book ever.— Rob Neyer

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307966957
Publisher:
Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/06/2011
Pages:
8
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

Garry Trudeau
A brilliantly told tale....Michael Lewis's beautiful obsession with the idea of value has once again yielded gold.
Tom Wolfe
Moneyball is his grandest tour de force yet.

Meet the Author

Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of The Undoing Project, Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side, andThe Big Short, among other works, lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
October 15, 1960
Place of Birth:
New Orleans, LA
Education:
Princeton University, B.A. in Art History, 1982; London School of Economics, 1985

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Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 446 reviews.
tsmom1219 More than 1 year ago
Moneyball is way more entertaining than it has any right to be. It follows the story of the low-budget Oakland A's and their unorthodox general manager Billy Beane as they use statistics and the scientific method to succeed against teams with much larger payrolls. Lewis is a very entertaining writer, at times laugh out loud funny, who has turned what could have been a very dry subject into a real page turner. I read this in one day, which is unusual for me with non-fiction. Highly recommended, especially in the dead of winter when the beginning of baseball season seems so far away.
gvanmeter More than 1 year ago
I'm neither a fan of baseball or statistics, but Michael Lewis has the ability to explain both of them in such a compelling way, I couldn't put it down. I read it after watching the movie, and found a much more nuanced chronicle in the book. Well worth the read, especially if you enjoyed the movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book Moneyball is about a professional baseball player, Billy Beane, who was a good player in high school and college. Out of college, he was drafted by Oakland Athletics. Beane decided he wanted to become the General Manager of the A¿s after he had played for them for a few years. As a player, he learned that he did not want to be an actual baseball player; he wanted to be the person who picked the players that would make the team. When he became the General Manager for the Oakland Athletics, he developed a strategy to form a baseball team out of players that other teams did not necessarily want. Beane used players¿ high school and college statistics to choose the good players that he wanted and ones that would sign for less money.
Though there were many parts that I liked and disliked, one of the big things that I liked about this book was that it taught me a new way to look at how baseball players are chosen for a team. It showed me what coaches look for in a strong player and that it¿s not necessarily all talent; it is how many runs they produce, bases they steal. Even though this book is really good, the language is not appropriate for young readers, it contains inappropriate words. The hardest part about this book was understanding all the numbers and formulas he used. Since there were so many numbers, it distracted me from what the book was actually about, how he built the Oakland A¿s. That was the only dislike I really had reading this book. Other than the numbers, the book was really interesting.
I believe the main message in this book is that you don¿t have to be the richest team to get the better players for your team. Even though the Oakland A¿s pay roll was really low compared to the Yankees huge pay roll, the A¿s knew the best way to make a good team without spending a lot of money on players. Beane used player statistics to find who the best players were and ones that would sign for less money.
I would suggest this book to a specific group, people who like baseball and math. This book is all about numbers, probability, playing and managing baseball. It was a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing
Rick489 More than 1 year ago
This was the best book relating to sports that I've ever read. It gives great insight into how one team (the Oakland A's) used unique decision making to compete against teams with grossly larger payrolls. I especially liked the behind the scenes look it gave to some of the tough evaluations that need to be made by a professional sports team's front office, and the untraditional formulas employed by Billy Beane and his staff to reach them. While I cant imagine any baseball fan not enjoying this book, I would suggest that it a good read for the nonsports fan as well, as many of the ideas discussed in relation to running a basball team can be correlated to just about any form of businees.
Charles F Canfield Jr More than 1 year ago
I am not a baseball fan at all, personally, I think the sport is downright boring. However, I throughlly enjoyed this book. It has rekindled my interest in baseball. I know find myself watching games anf paying attengion to stats.
Tony72 More than 1 year ago
I purchased my nook never having been much of a book reader at 38, but in the hopes of becoming one. This was the 1st book I downloaded and finished it in less than a week. It kept my attention that much and i have been known to have the attention span of a gnat. It's not just a book about baseball, but about business economics, evaluating talent and an individuals character as well. Inviting people to think outside the conventional wisdom. I would recommend it to anybody. Baseball fan or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story, well written and an entertaining intro to baseball stats.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book teaches you the importance of baseball. Its very emotional and sensative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books iv ever read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lol
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whoever wrote boring most likely did not read it
Grayle Kendall More than 1 year ago
I really like this book. Great for baseball fanatics.
TwinsfanLR More than 1 year ago
A look at one of the poorest teams in baseball, the Oakland A's, and how their general manager Billy Beane makes them contenders every year. It shows you how they scout, draft, and play the game, only to name a few things. He does things his way, and nobody is going to change that, and he does them well. One of the most criticized books in the baseball world since Ball Four, and a real winner. Lewis is an extraordinary writer who should do sports as much as he does Walstreet. A MUST read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the film so thought I'd try the book. Great for fans of baseball everywhere!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If your a baseball fan with an outsiders perspective of the game, its a must read. My only concern is that we only received insight to part of who Billy Beane really is.
JoeVerde More than 1 year ago
Baseball, I love. Statistics... I could leave. Lewis somehow makes both halves of this book interesting. Don't get me wrong, it's not really a book about crunching numbers... it's a story about the science behind a sport, the brains who take that science to the next level, and the brawns who sometimes dogmatically resist them. A very interesting read.
Golfer18 More than 1 year ago
Tossing Tradition to the Side Moneyball is a fantastic tale of making it big off of a small opportunity. Billy Beane, the manager of the Oakland A's, decides to toss the typical way of recruiting to the side and base it off a few simple statistics (On base percentage and slugging percentage).  Michael Lewis does a great job at turning a relatively boring topic into a great read. Lewis did a great job showing the ego that Billy Beane carries by attempting to change baseball forever. This book inspires you to face problems head on no matter the difficulty. Everyone searching for a fantastic story of defeating the odds should read Moneyball. The book earns a perfect 5 out of 5.
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Moneyball takes place at Fenway Park in Boston right?