I started this book like a year and a half ago, maybe more. I then loaned it to my brother in law (I was about 50 pages in) who graciously sent it back to me, where I picked up where I left off…and lost the book for about 6 months. FINALLY, about 3 weeks ago, I found it! I picked it back up and started the from the beginning. And now, 200 pages in, it’s missing. Again. This is just not meant to happen.
With about 100 or so pages left in the book, here is my review (until I can find it, finish it, and update):
A partner at work told me to read this book. Combine that with the fact that I don’t follow (or really even like) baseball, and I expected this to be a painful experience. I was pleasantly surprised.
This book is an interesting, relatively easy read (or at least the part that I got through was). Despite the blahness of the general plot (a baseball franchise short on funds battles the machine that is major league baseball recruitment and, through statistical analysis, beats the draft), Michael Lewis makes this into a story that can be read by someone with minimal (or no) background in stats. Or baseball. He doesn’t delve too deeply into the methods of data collection or analysis, but emphasizes the value in stepping back and re-approaching a problem from a completely different angle, even (or especially) in the face of mainstream criticism.
As a sidenote, it still blows me away that people so completely removed from sports in their daily lives would devote years, even decades, studying baseball stats in such detail. Ugh.
But in a time where the amount of money flowing through the world of professional sports gives a bitter aftertaste to being the biggest, strongest, or fastest, the story of this underdog team gives you hope that dedication and innovation can still win out over the big guys. Warm fuzzies.