Sports movies rock. I even think the reason I like Babe so much is because it’s essentially a sports movie. An under-dog winning against the odds? A charismatic sportsman following his dream despite disappointments and nay-sayers? Bring it on. So I was mad about the movie Moneyball, it delivers on every level. And then I read the book, and was totally blown away. Wow. It’s so great.
The received wisdom in baseball is that money will buy success, and that without money any success you have is a fluke. Moneyball tells the story of the cash-strapped Oakland A’s and their General Manager Billy Beane, who clearly didn’t get that email. In 2002 they broke an American League record when they won 20 games in a row on their way to the playoffs. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The book is a fascinating thesis on a new way to look at baseball, a way to read stats and challenge convention that has lead Beane and his team to success the rulebook says should be impossible. I’m not a baseball fan, in fact before reading The Art of Fielding I had next to no idea of the rules of the game. When you’re in the grips of Moneyball though, that doesn’t matter. The psychology of players, the unexpected things that add up to success, the passion and vision of Billy Beane are utterly engrossing, whether you’re a sports fan or not. Read this book!