This is the story of the Oakland Athletics‘ manager Billy Beane, and how by using certain statistics ignored by Major League Baseball he was able to take one of the cheapest teams in baseball to the playoffs consistently. His approach to using these statistics to manage players points out the deficiency in management of major league teams, and snubs the “old school” thinking of baseball scouts.
This book was given to my entire team by our product unit manager, Hillel. Oddly enough, though none of us are baseball fans, Billy Beane’s actions epitomize some of the goals of my team – to constantly re-evaluate the metrics on which we measure our success, and work to improve the metrics to improve our performance.
Michael Lewis writes casually (at times too casually for my taste) but keeps the story lively and entertaining. He does not require the reader to know about baseball, as he himself writes mostly as a novice. The book has a couple chapters about the history of baseball statistics that are somewhat dull, but they provide the context for the rest of the book.
Overall this book was entertaining (even for someone like me who finds baseball in all forms to be boring) and insightful on how every organization can take a lesson is improving its metrics for evaluating success. You can buy it or read more about it from Amazon.