I’ve had this book on my list for awhile, and I have to say that it really didn’t disappoint. Word of warning though, this isn’t at all like the movie. Yes, it tells the story of Billy Beane, Paul DePodesta, and the Oakland A’s. But in no means is this book really a story; the movie is a story with characters and dialogue. The book goes into Billy as a player, and how that affected Billy as a GM. The book goes into how baseball scouting has traditionally worked, and how Billy and Paul completely changed how many teams now value players. Like the book (and movie) 21: Bringing Down the House, it simplifies something with seemingly unpredictable odds using basic mathematics. (I’m all about simplifying and making things easier!!)
Like I said though, this isn’t a story. It teaches, it is an explanation and analysis of what they did. It showcases a few players that their system worked, like Scott Hatteburg, and a few that it didn’t so much, like Jeremy Giambi. (Something comparable would be Jeff Pearlman’s Boys Will Be Boys, which I also loved!) It was a technical book, and one that I did very much enjoy, but isn’t one I’d take with me to the beach or read poolside when I want something lighthearted and fun. (Yes, I do occasionally venture out to beaches and pools despite what my skin coloring says. I just do so with my handy-dandy SPF 100 and yes, they do make SPF that high.)
Admittedly, I’m a sports nut and admittedly I like learning and reading about sports. I think the average person who has a very basic knowledge of baseball can read this book, but I’m not sure they’d enjoy it. Again, at the heart of this is math and statistics. Outside of Freakonomics, I’m not sure of how books about math and numbers entertain the masses. If you like baseball and you like a side of sports theory and strategy, pick up this book.
Next Up:: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (I’ve already read the first 2 books in that series) by Stieg Larsson