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Summary

Moneyball is a quest for something as elusive as the Holy Grail, something that money apparently can't buy: the secret of success in baseball. The logical places to look would be the giant offices of major league teams and the dugouts. But the real jackpot is a cache of numbers collected over the years by a strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts: software engineers, statisticians, Wall Street analysts, lawyers, and physics professors.

In a narrative full of fabulous characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, Lewis shows us how and why the new baseball knowledge works. He also sets up a sly and hilarious morality tale: Big Money, like Goliath, is always supposed to win.... How can we not cheer for David?

©2004 Michael Lewis (P)2012 Audible Ltd

Critic reviews

"Lewis has hit another one out of the park... You need know absolutely nothing about baseball to appreciate the wit, snap, economy and incisiveness of [Lewis'] thoughts about it." (The New York Times)
"I understood about one in four words of Moneybal, and it's still the best and most engrossing sports book I've read for years. If you know anyting about baseball, you will enjoy it four times as much as I did, which means that you might explode." (Nick Hornby)
"Engaging, informative and deliciously contrarian." ( Washington Post)

What listeners say about Moneyball

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting book, overdramatic reader

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, if they were interested in baseball. Pretty dull if you're interested in sports/math.

What did you like best about this story?

It's about the statistical revolution in baseball which is basically synonymous with the title of the book and it's worked incredibly well. It's a great book about modern sport and has a great mix of underdog narratives (fat guys, weird pitchers, etc) and math.

Would you be willing to try another one of Scott Brick’s performances?

No... he's just too over dramatic. He does not fail to pronounce "any" as anything but "an-ny". Throwaway phrases like "there wasn't anything that anyone could do" become smug triumphs: "there wasn't AN-NY-THING that AN-NY-ONE could do." I made it through the endless Atlas Shrugged also read by him and the moment I started listening, I recognized his over dramatized style. Not every sentence needs to be a revelation.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It's non-fiction.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Recommended reading for all sports fans

This book has been much referenced in UK sports in recent years - especially football - and you can see why, even if the major Premier League teams show few signs of heeding the lessons. The sheer weight of baseball statistics can be a bit heavy at times for us Brits, but it's a fascinating story of applying intelligent and analytical thinking to the task of building a sports team. The descriptions of groupthink and received-wisdoms in the baseball management and scouting community are funny and insightful, and no doubt have parallels in our sports. If you're a sports fan, I recommend it, but if you don't like sport, don't spend your money on this - however much you liked Brad Pitt in the movie.

6 people found this helpful

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If you're not a baseball fanatic then it's not for you...

As a sports fan I thought I'd get the heads up before watching the film. But I couldn't manage all of the book as its too heavy on intricacies of Baseball, loads of stats and obviously written for the baseball fans. I thought it might have been tailored to a more mainstream market but it's really only written for proper baseball fans.

9 people found this helpful

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love a good stat I do.

loved it must read for anyone who love stats or baseball. made me rethink how to mesuer the value in my fields of interest.

2 people found this helpful

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Amazing read

I've read a lot of Lewis's work but this is by far the best. The perfect mix of stats, baseball and amazing characters.

I didn't want to listen to much as I was desperate for it not to end!!

1 person found this helpful

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Again, an excellent Lewis book

If you could sum up Moneyball in three words, what would they be?

Surprisingly-good, great-as-always, it-doesn't-matter-it's-baseball

Who was your favorite character and why?

The manager (can't remember his name Billy something)

Any additional comments?

I came to this as a Lewis fan with an interest in finance. Having listened to most of his work I had avoided this due to the fact that it's baseball. I finally listened after Seth Klarman recommended it (as a finance book but he is a big baseball fan). I still don't rate baseball but nonetheless the listen was great.

2 people found this helpful

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Best book i've listened to on audible (from 100's)

So, let me start by saying I'm not into sports, I don't watch sports apart from the odd world cup and certainly don't follow any particular sports or teams.
I was nervous given some of the other reviews stating a knowledge of baseball was required, and my exposure to baseball is a couple of films and watching a match in San Francisco once about 15 years ago.
I shouldn't have worried, as long as you have a general idea (man with bat, man with ball, bunch of fielders and 4 bases to run around) you will be fine. There is quite a lot of statistical talk but its easy to understand, just remember that "getting on base" which is the fundamental principle of the book means a batter getting to first base without getting out (and subsequently moving round one base a time as each of the batters does the same, each scoring a point).

The best thing about the book however, is the human stories, its about Billy Beane and Paul Depodesta's approach, taking baseball's "we've always done it this way" and completely reinventing the game, but it tells the stories of the players, who overlooked because of how they looked, how much they weighed or how they threw a ball, and these stories are fascinating and mean you can barely put the book down.

The narration is perfect, the story perfectly paced, surprisingly emotional. This is the first time in a long time ive sat up until the small hours with a book because i just cant put it down. Its perfectly summarised by the epilogue of the journey of Jeremy Brown.

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Really interesting (& I'm not a baseball fan)

Really interesting, although there were a few bits I didn't understand as I don't watch baseball, but it's pretty easy to guess the meaning.

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Moneyball:More than Numbers but more than Baseball

Moneyball is a thrilling story that on the surface shouldn't be that thrilling at all. It's a book that seems to be primarily about statistics. And it is. But it also tells the tale of the Billy Beanie, Paul DiPodesta and the 2002 Oakland A's wonderfully.

I'm a casual baseball fan and came to the book after watching the excellent movie first and I'm sure it would have worked just as well the other way around.

Scott Brick does a tremendous job of breathing life through the story and the numbers and it has quickly become a firm favourite among my audiobook collection and I fully expect I'll listen to it again very soon and then again and again and again....

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Underdog story of Oakland A's

I came to this from Aaron Sorkin's other works, the film Moneyball and finally discovering Michael Lewis. Past this I've found the Undoing Project (also by Lewis) and Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow. Lewis himself wrote afterwards about a review that Moneyball is just an example of Prospect Theory, but it's great example, especially for those who are interested in baseball, or statistics in general.

The role of luck is ever present, showing busted draft picks, Billy Beane himself, and even found beyond the book (Beane picks Eric Chavez as one of the best hitters in baseball, projecting him on the path of Barry Bonds and other greats). The Oakland A's not winning a world series is an example of not having the luck (or perhaps the money) to do so.

The use of stats as language rather than just numbers is also ubiquitous. Having statistics like Runs Batted In so prominently when a lot of it depends on your teammates rather than your own performance or Errors which are subjective are demonstrated to be not as informative at On Base Percentage or Slugging Percentage.

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Profile Image for A Kirk
  • A Kirk
  • 24-09-18

So you aren't a baseball fan?

It's OK, neither am I. I wouldn't know a shortstop from a triple play. Actually that's not quite true, I do now courtesy of this book, but it doesn't matter because Michael Lewis is a (perhaps THE) master of telling a story on a specific subject and making it about a whole range of issues related to that subject. You won't even notice that you've left the main road for a scenic detour through (for example) one player's formative years, his thoughts and hopes and aspirations and experiences, until you're suddenly back on topic and cruising through the main story again. You never lose sight of the main road, but the detours let you see it in context.

As is often the case he looks into the technology of his subject (without ever making it dry), the schools of thought surrounding it, both the conventional ones and the heretical ones... and most of all the people. Just as you don't need to be a finance expert (or even be particularly interested in finance as such) to appreciate The Big Short, you don't need to be a baseball fan to appreciate this story.

The story is about overcoming odds. About developing new ways of thinking to achieve something when conventional wisdom says you can't. About finding value in skills and people where the world says that the value doesn't exist. And, of course, about the people who come up with those ideas, the people who are affected by the ideas, and the people who push back against them.

As with many of Lewis' books you'll meet an interesting array of diverse characters who come to life through the words Lewis uses, and the stories he tells about them.

Scott Brick does an excellent job of bringing the story to life; he has a good voice, is easy to listen to, and adopts just the right pace to keep the listener engaged.

I really couldn't tell you how many times I've listened to this book since I bought it, save to say that I know the last time I listened to it won't be the last time that I listen to it.