Book Review: Moneyball

Lewis, Michael
4 stars = Really Good

Moneyball, written by Micheal Lewis, is a narrative, nonfiction novel based on the miraculous 2002 season of the Oakland Athletics. Micheal Lewis was inspired to write about the Oakland A's because of the statistics behind the game. He realized that even though the Oakland A's had one of the lowest budgets in the MLB at the time, they were winning an unusually high number of games. What Micheal Lewis wanted to know was: why was the cost-per-win so low in comparison to other teams? Was the Oakland A's performance a fluke, or was it not?

Billy Bean, the general manager for the Oakland A's and his trusty statistician, Paul DePodesta can answer both. Billy realized that he had to look at the game differently to obtain an advantage over other teams. All the "good" players followed the money, leaving the unpicked players for the teams that could not afford the good ones. The problem was that Billy Bean could not afford the good ones. Paul DePodesta found a way to search through the seemingly useless pile of players to find stars. He realized that some player's traits, such as batting average, were overvalued in the market, while some, such as on-base percentage, were undervalued. DePodesta saw that a player, in the eyes of the market, with a low batting average was worth more than a player with a high on-base percentage. He realized that he could buy high quality players for less, and that is exactly what he did. I liked the book because it has interesting statistics in it, and it also highlights the ingenuity that went behind one of the best seasonal records in the MLB.

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