Why did I choose to read the book?
First off, I know next to nothing about baseball. I played some in High-School, during my time in the US, but aside from some basic understanding of it’s rules, I know next to nothing. Why then did I choose to read this book? To my understanding, this book is not solely about baseball and I felt it outside my comfort zone, which made me bump it up my reading list, as I hate missing out on great stuff and knowledge simply because its outside my comfort zone.
What is it about?
The book provides an inside look on how the Oakland Athletics (short: Oakland As), a relatively poor US baseball club achieved success, while being one of the least funded clubs in pro baseball at the time. It describes how it’s general manager and former pro baseball player Billy Beane together with his assistant Paul DePodesta, used statistics and market inefficiencies to assemble the best possible team he could afford with what little money he had, making his club’s ratio of money spent vs. games won by far the highest in pro baseball at the time.
How did I like the book?
I liked the story of an underdog rising to prominence via outsmarting the competition. I also liked the authors approach of telling his findings in little personal stories of people involved. Most of the book and stories were very interesting, especially all parts covering the personal stories of Billy Beane and Paul DePodesta and how they proceeded in their endeavour. As stated at the very beginning, I know next to nothing about baseball. Which brings us to what I did not like about this book, it is written with a certain type of reader in mind: baseball fans. While most stories are interesting, the name dropping, baseball stats and insider intel presented mean nothing to me. Often times, names were dropped where I had the feeling, the author expects you to know who this person is and be in awe, which….I don’t and I’m not….. Had I been a baseball nut, I probably would have liked the book better, as it stands it was okay. Overall, when the book was about how David used his cunning to fool and outsmart Goliath, I loved it and it inspired me to question conventional wisdom and to search for inefficiencies to exploit. Whenever it was about baseball players, their stats and play styles, I was bored.