I'm from Cleveland so don't hate me for hating baseball for most of my life. I don't much like statistics either, because they are so hard to explain to a neighbor, even those stats whose discovery is so rewarding. But MONEYBALL gave me the best view ever of those hypocrites that cite "the stats" over the radio and TV as if they really knew what they were talking about. How refreshing to learn that the game is not only rigged, but poorly rigged and that the owners have been the greatest fools. Shame on the business (as sport) that often would rather not hear the truth! If I laud the exposé it may also be because the taxpayers of Cleveland and other towns today are often asked to foot the bill for the owner's ignorance. If there is a petition available for signing that would draft author Mike Lewis into the football front offices of America, I'd sign it.
The best part of the book is the postscript, but don't read that first or you'll deprive yourself of a dessert worthy of the several-course steak dinner. For me Lewis is reminiscent of personal detail found in David Halberstam (The Reckoning, The Powers That Be) while sparing us the epic length of his findings.
I like to study businesses and this book is probably the best case study of an attempt to attach accurate metrics to performance in baseball. Now what most people want to see in baseball is all "Hollywood." Fancy double plays, base stealing, baseline bunts, basket catches and backhand nabs, brief, things that count for little in the scheme of winning. If that's what you want to read about, I'd suggest you buy another ticket to the game in your town. If you run a business though or would like to invest in one, this might not be the first book you should read about business analysis, but it is one that will add the most to your vocabulary as you seek to describe your vision of success while remaining objective about the metrics to follow within the enterprise budget.
Again, excellent journalistic kudos to Michael Lewis. The close-in discovery that confirms the desk research behind this book is hard to match. (It is often said that difficulty in scientific investigation is made more so because the effect of measurement changes the outcome. That certainly happened here, but I sincerely hope that it was at the expense of "The Club" and its "Women's Auxiliary." Again, read the postscript and enjoy...