Moneyball: the Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Lewis, Michael. Moneyball: the Art of Winning an Unfair Game. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2004.

Reason read: the World Series is held in October every year. Read in honor of baseball’s biggest moment.

On the surface, Moneyball is about the Oakland Athletics baseball team. They don’t have enough money to buy the big name players and yet they keep winning. Their manager, Billy Beane, is working some kind of statistical magic. What is his secret to success? As Lewis takes his readers on a strange journey into the world of armchair pitchers and amateur baseball theorists I couldn’t help but think of a Dungeons and Dragons meets sports enthusiast group of geeks. This is truly a book with a dual audience. Moneyball, for obvious reasons, appeals to the sports fanatic, but the nerd with a mathematical slant can geek out as well. To win one must understand sabermetrics.

Author fact: Speaking of geeking out. I had a moment when I found out Lewis is married to Tabitha Soren.

Book trivia: Moneyball was made into a movie in 2011 starring Brad Pitt. You guessed it. I haven’t seen it.

Nancy said: Pearl said Moneyball turned her into an Oakland A’s fan.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Dewey Deconstructed: 700s” (p 71).

Liar’s Poker

Lewis, Michael. Liar’s Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street. New York: Penguin Books, 1989.

For some reason people can’t bring up Liar’s Poker without mentioning Bonfire of the Vanities as well. It’s almost as if Liar’s Poker is the nonfiction counterpart to the fictional Bonfire of the Vanities. Yes, they are both about the innards of life on Wall Street in the mid 80s, but one could stand without the attachment of the other and still be entertaining.
Michael Lewis retraces his beginnings with Salomon Brothers, first as a bright eyed trainee, then as a bond salesman. It is his knack for writing that makes Liar’s Poker such a treat to read. It is bitingly funny, wicked and fun. My favorite part is about the new guy, so nervous about his first day on the job that he does nothing but ride the elevator up and down until he has the courage to finally get off, exit the building and disappear forever.

Line I liked, “In the midst of the hysteria I was suitably hysterical” (p 25).

Reason read: July is job fair month. What better way to honor it than with one of the best business books out there?

Author fact: I find this really interesting. According to the author page of Liar’s Poker Lewis was at one time “a tour guide for teen-aged girls in Europe.” Hmmm…interesting. How does that work?

Book trivia: Liar’s Poker was a best seller and was made into a movie in which Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers had a part.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “BBB: Better Business Books” (p 33).