Customer Reviews


11 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Hodge-Podge
It is tempting to write "If you like Bill James, you'll like this" and leave it at that, but that would be misleading and, well, kind of cheap.

Most readers will likely come at this from their interest in, and / or love of baseball. Much of this will satisfy them, assuming they like Bill James. However, there is a good deal here that isn't concerned with...
Published on May 9, 2011 by J. Hundley

versus
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Idiosyncratic--but still interesting
Odd book from Bill James, baseball guru and sabermetrician. This book? He says that (Page 8): "Some of these articles could be considered serious baseball research, . . .Some of them are not."

The very first essay is on an approach to predicting RBIs (runs batted in) from other batting data. Voila! A simple formula that appears to predict well. Torii Hunter's...
Published on April 6, 2011 by Steven A. Peterson


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Idiosyncratic--but still interesting, April 6, 2011
By 
Steven A. Peterson (Hershey, PA (Born in Kewanee, IL)) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom (Paperback)
Odd book from Bill James, baseball guru and sabermetrician. This book? He says that (Page 8): "Some of these articles could be considered serious baseball research, . . .Some of them are not."

The very first essay is on an approach to predicting RBIs (runs batted in) from other batting data. Voila! A simple formula that appears to predict well. Torii Hunter's actual RBI total=90; his predicted total=90! Alex Rodriguez drove in more than expected; Ichiro less than expected. Fun reading, trying to make sense of baseball statistics.

Another section addresses what the best starting rotations of all time are from 1 through 33. Number 1? 1903 Giants: Joe McGinnity, Christy Mathewson, Luther Taylor, and Hooks Wiltse. Number 33? 2002 Atlanta Braves: Greg Maddux, Kevin Millwood, Tom Glavine, and Damian Moss.

And now for something completely different. James' ruminations on a cousin--Supreme Court Justice James McReynolds--racist and anti-Semite (he would not shake hands with Louis Brandeis, for example). Interesting reflections, including how old Negro League legend Buck O'Neil might interact with Justice McReynolds.

A lot of fun, but not much focus. I guess that when you've made the big time, you are allowed some openness for an idiosyncratic book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Hodge-Podge, May 9, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom (Paperback)
It is tempting to write "If you like Bill James, you'll like this" and leave it at that, but that would be misleading and, well, kind of cheap.

Most readers will likely come at this from their interest in, and / or love of baseball. Much of this will satisfy them, assuming they like Bill James. However, there is a good deal here that isn't concerned with baseball in the least.

Now, most of us who love baseball and are interested in it also have other things on our minds from time to time and several chunks of this book address other things on James' mind. Your use for those essays will depend upon how wedded you are to an ostensible baseball book being ONLY about baseball topics. It may also depend upon what you think of James as a casual essayist.

All of these essays have appeared previously on James' website, which I do not subscribe to. Thus I had not read them before, save a big section of "Shakespeare and Verlander," which was run on Slate a few weeks ago. This one is actually a nice bridge piece, using these two rather disparate individuals to look at how societies work to foster some talents while short-changing others. It is a witty and thoughtful essay that won't do a thing for making your fantasy team better, but will give you a thing or two to think about, should you choose to do so.

And so on. I like James' conversational writing style, both on and off the field, as it were, and I was happy to digress into topics like the insidiousness of traffic light cameras, airport security and the power of ignorance as a force for knowledge. I also like James' analysis of the minor leagues, the future of the Hall of Fame viewed in light of expansion, and the best pitchers' duels of the 1980's. I am just fine with James going off on tangents - James has always gone off on tangents and, often, the tangents are worth the price of admission. Thus is this. It's no Historical Baseball Abstract, but it isn't even remotely trying to be. It is a fun,informative read, perfect for jumping into and out of, and if you like Bill James, you will probably like this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Bill James, but still better than anyone else, April 28, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom (Paperback)
I've been reading Bill James' material since "The Baseball Abstract" of the early '80s, and I still peruse my old copies every winter when I'm missing the baseball season. I bought this book simply because it was by Bill James, and I don't want to miss anything he does, even if this includes a lot of reprints of stuff he's done online.

It's a disappointment for the high bar set by Bill James, though it's still entertaining. It's pretty much all reprints of material he had published elsewhere (with some updates), and so you lose some of the charm of reading his revelations and musings for the first time.

The pieces about starting pitchers, losing teams, and the impact of baseball's expansionary era on the Hall of Fame are vintage James research -- microscopically detailed looks at data over decades. But you also feel a bit of "what's the point?" in the pitchers' analysis, and there are some logical flaws in the HoF piece. And there are typos throughout the book, which is a surprise for something that you wouldn't think had to be produced on a tight timetable.

Anyway, it's a decent addition to a baseball library, but it's not a "must have" book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars James Should Hang It Up, April 24, 2011
By 
N. Bilmes "bookaholic" (Vernon, CT United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom (Paperback)
Growing up with Bill James' original abstracts in the 1980s, I couldn't wait for his newest books to come out each spring. Then he stopped writing the abstracts annually, and I searched for some other tome to fill the void. When Baseball Prospectus finally started being available to mainstream America I found my replacement for the Abstracts, but the memory of Bill James' solid run of books kept me yearning for the sporadic efforts that would come out every so often.

Sadly, after reading this effort, I realize that Bill James is no longer worth my dime. This book has two fantastic articles by James. Two. These two articles harken back to the days of yesteryear when everything he wrote seemed to be worth my consideration. This book also has articles on traffic lights, a poem comparing Wiki Leaks to Rickie Weeks (3 pages are devoted to this one-stanza, four line poem), and a piece attempting to determine if TSA is worth the effort.

I don't recommend this book to anyone, but wish fervently that Mr. James stop putting out books like this. Stick to baseball please!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mash Up, April 21, 2011
By 
J. Runde (Hartford, CT) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom (Paperback)
I love reading Bill James's thoughts on baseball. Some of these essays represent James at his best ("Random vs Responsive Pitching Performance by Starting Pitchers," "Stink-O-Meter). The trouble with this book is that it could have been just over half the length and delivered the real goods; several of these pieces are random musings or underdeveloped ideas best left to James's subscription website. I guess Acta wanted a book of a certain length.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Half good half eh, April 16, 2011
By 
NSR (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom (Paperback)
Half this book was what I expected from the much respected Bill James; great baseball analysis. The other half was really out of place and non-interesting commentary on random topics. If I wanted to hear why streets shouldnt have street lights I would research that. If you buy this book for half price its a good deal. Otherwise be wary.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Fools Gold, June 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom (Paperback)
Surprising in that it shows Bill James noodling around with ideas some cogent; some arcane
Would not think a true baseball fan of James will be impressed if having already read Historical Abstracts from James.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Thinking Outside the (Batter's) Box, March 4, 2013
By 
Drew Shaw "Drew" (Silver Spring, MD) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom (Paperback)
Bill James made his reputation challenging the conventional wisdom behind Major League Baseball through his statistical analyses of the sport and its players, sabremetrics. That approach yielded a low-cost, mostly successful franchise in Oakland; the film "Moneyball": and, if you believe the film, a World Series win for the Boston Red Sox. "Solid Fool's Goal" is a collection of James' lesser known and unpublished studies and writings, many on baseball but just as many on things like creativity.

"Talent, like stupidity, is all around us," James writes. Taken to heart, his observations could influence child-rearing and education just as he has baseball.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Much Politics, April 24, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom (Paperback)
As a geeky teenager in early 80s, I stumbled upon Bill James Baseball Abstract in the book store. I was enthralled. It changed my life, well ... it changed the way I viewed baseball and how I played strat-o-matic. Since then I have read most everything Bill James has published. Overtime, in his writings, you can see his transformation from outsider to establishment which has been good for him and for baseball. This book takes an odd turn into non-baseball related topics: red-light cameras, tipping, the TSA, and many more. Most of these articles border on rants suitable for a blog but not a book. I don't really disagree with him on these topics, rather it is clear that he is out of his element. In publishing these articles, James has hurt his reputation and hurt his whole body of work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, June 26, 2011
By 
Firat Inceoglu (Boston, MA United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom (Paperback)
I had never read Bill James before but was enthusiastic to hear from the man who basically changed the way the game of baseball is being analyzed. Simply put, this book was a disappointment for me. I found it to be full of half baked ideas that are either not fully thought out (his discussions on performance enhancing drugs or advertising) or approached in a very primitive manner especially for someone who has invented or led to the invention of much better tools for evaluating performance on the baseball field (e.g. he judges the streakiness or hotness of pitchers using ERA and wins/losses, two statistics we now know to be severely lacking).

James writes about aspects of life he thinks are interesting, indeed some of them are or could be, however he never gets into enough depth to stimulate the reader. On most of these I was left thinking there is so much more to this issue that he never considers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom
Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom by Bill James (Paperback - March 15, 2011)
$14.95 $13.18
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.