Review: Moneyball

July 26, 2015 non-fiction 14 ★★★

Review: MoneyballTitle: Moneyball
Author: Michael M. Lewis
Source: Bought
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: This story had a lot of good qualities – an underdog story, fun stats, well written – but felt very shallow to me in terms of content.

“Billy Beane, general manager of MLB’s Oakland A’s … had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues with a budget that’s smaller than that of nearly every other team. Conventional wisdom long held that big name, highly athletic hitters and young pitchers with rocket arms were the ticket to success. But Beane and his staff, buoyed by massive amounts of carefully interpreted statistical data, believed that wins could be had by more affordable methods such as hitters with high on-base percentage and pitchers who get lots of ground outs. Given this information and a tight budget, Beane defied tradition and his own scouting department to build winning teams of young affordable players and inexpensive castoff veterans.” (Source)

This story had a lot of elements I enjoy. I got to learn a lot about careers in and related to baseball, which I knew nothing about going in. The fun facts and statistics were interesting throughout. And the underdog story is heartwarming in way that I think will appeal to nearly everyone. Unfortunately, all of these topics were covered in a very shallow way.

I finished this book wanting more of everything. I wanted more explanation of how baseball works. I wanted the details of the statistics and player selection, which were a critical part of the story but weren’t explained in much detail.  I also wanted a more cohesive plot. The story in the book jumped around in time a lot and didn’t have a strong focus. Although this was an enjoyable read, it would have been nice if the author had picked at least one of these areas – baseball, stats, or story – to focus on or better yet given more attention to all three. Having finished this, I’m very excited to watch the movie, because I anticipate that the movie will pull together the great plot hiding in this book.

Do you like baseball? Have you seen the movie based on this book?

14 Responses to “Review: Moneyball”

  1. Melinda

    I haven’t read this, although my husband has seen the movie (several times) and really enjoyed it. I’m not sure if it is the sort of thing I would read, but I do think I might like the movie.

    • DoingDewey

      It’s unusual for me to expect to like the movie better, but I’m guessing it will be a really touching underdog story. Maybe I’ll watch it tonight 🙂

  2. Lauren

    Thanks for this review. I never read Moneyball, and being a baseball fan in general and an A’s fan in particular, I should have. I did see the movie and thought it quite worthwhile. It’s also a bit of a fallacy, as it fails to take into consider the out-of-this-world pitching staff the A’s had at the time.

    If you’re a baseball fan, I highly recommend a book I just finished and reviewed, The Pine Tar Game, by Filip Bondy. Fantastic stuff.

    • DoingDewey

      I’m not really a baseball fan and I don’t think I’m likely to start watching the sport, but reading this book made me interested in learning more about it, so I’d consider picking up another book on the topic. Thanks for the recommendations!

      At least in the book, I think the A’s might have been losing some of their pitchers around this time, but I don’t remember the details for sure. I’ll have to go back and check the movie against the book to see.

    • DoingDewey

      Great! I’m not really a baseball fan, but the underdog story sounds great and I do like stats, so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy the movie too 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      I have to admit that I’m not a baseball fan, just enough of a geek about stats that this appealed to me anyway! If both of those topics are interests of yours, this book seems like the perfect fit 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      This was my first baseball-related book and even though I don’t like watching baseball, this made me want to learn more about it. I’m enough of a stats geek that I’d like to understand the game better so that I can get the stats behind it better 🙂

  3. Aylee

    I’ve only seen the movie, but I thought it was great! I would be interested in hearing what you think of the movie coming from the point of view of someone who read the book first. I think I know what you mean about wanting more depth from this one… and I think you won’t have the same issue with the movie because of the different medium.

    • DoingDewey

      I’m optimistic about the movie! I haven’t watched it yet because I keep trying to get my fiance to watch it and he keeps being put off by the fact that it’s about baseball. I think I’m going to give up and watch it myself this week instead!

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