JCL Blog

Book Review: Moneyball by Michael Lewis

Micheal Lewis continues to be one of my favorite non fiction authors. His book Moneyball is not new (2004) but I just got around to reading it. A film based on the book starring Brad Pitt got sidelined in mid last year and aparently the producer is looking for ways to cut the budget. Funny thing, because the book is all about how the Oakland A's general manager, Billy Beane, did more with less money than anyone else -- so maybe Columbia Pictures should call him!

There are too many great stories in the book to recount and the creativity and new thinking they applied to baseball can clearly be instructional for business. Here are my take aways:

  • New Ideas Can Work: Baseball has been around for a long time and has tradition and momentum enough to stop even the most persistent innovator. If these guys could change the thinking in baseball, the sky is the limit for people that want to innovate in business.
  • New Blood: Billy Beane brought in people from the outside. The less experience they had in Baseball the better.
  • Measure Everything: Even if you don't know what you are going to do with the numbers. Question all of the existing numbers and figure out new ways to collect data on activities.
  • Don't be Rational: Eventually the outsiders figured out how to reverse engineer runs. They tinkered and tinkered until they got a formula that they thought would work and then they applied it to the past to test it. They were able to suspend their own rational thinking long enough to try things that on the surface just did not make sense.
  • Don't Let the Facts Turn Into Excuses: The A's knew they had no money, if you can call a $40 Million payroll no money, and they got over it and moved on to finding solutions. So at the same time they faced the facts (constrained budget), they were not willing to use the facts to lower their expectations of themselves.

Here are some other reviews:


NY Times 

Here is a link to the book on Amazon.