Book Review: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Author: Michael Lewis
Published: 2004, Norton and Company, New York
ISBN: 0-393-05765-8

What is it about?

The book is about the Oakland A’s and how Billy Beane, their General Manager came to runnning the Oakland A’s differently to the majority of other Teams in Major League Baseball. They consistently out performed against their budget and this books delves into why.

The book looks at backstory’s such as Beane’s upbringing and baseball career and how that impacted on how he ran the Oakland A’s.

 

About the author?

Michael Lewis is a best selling writer with 5 of his books becoming big screen pictures including The Big Short and of course Moneyball.

 

Who is it for?

As the book reads, it is almost for baseball fans but it certainly has a far wider ranging audience.

It is a well written book, which would allow someone who may be daunted by the prospect by the subject of sports analytics being a bit dry and lacking character to still read it and very much enjoy it.

In terms of sports analysts and coaches, in terms of learning new approaches, you won’t get many here. Where you may indeed pick up stuff, is probably the relatability of the situation where there is plenty of resistence to doing things differently to how they have always been done, particularily in sport.

 

What did you take from it?

Firstly, I enjoyed reading the book. It was well written, in a subject I am familiar with and humanised a lot of sports analysis by introducing backstories, having real quotes and names throughout.

As an Irishman, this would have been my first experience reading about baseball so I learnt a lot on that front.

As analysts and coaches, I think it can be eye opening to someone a bit new to the use of sports analysis. To the more experienced analysts and coaches, this book will likely feel very relatable in terms of your work and resistance to change regarding sports analysis as it is perceived in the media.

I think it is also important to understand the sport baseball is not necissarily replicable in other sports. Baseball is a game with mostly closed skills, therefore when you trade player after player it has far less negative impact than in rugby, football, hurling or hockey where players pass and interact with each other far more.

 

Should I buy it?

Yes. If you’re on this website, you likely have an interest in sports analysis. If it is your first sports analysis book it will be an enjoyable read. If you’re looking to nerd out and learn how to do sports analysis, this isn’t that book.

Overall: 5/5

Thanks for reading this and hopefully it gives you a clearer view if this book is for you. More book reviews are due in the next few weeks alongside other articles. If you wish to stay updated on these, please subscribe to the website on the right on your desktop or below on your mobile device. Feel free to check out our other articles to read more about sports analysis, including examples on how New Zealand’s Lineout functions or what camera to purchase for doing sports analysis.


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