Sunday, April 22, 2012

The movie is better than the book?

April 2012 Book Review

Moneyball (The Book Review)
This may be a rare instance where the movie may have a slight edge over the book.  If you’re not into a lot of numbers, the history of baseball statistics, Bill James, or the process of player trades and acquisitions, I suggest watching the movie.  This doesn’t take away from the incredible story of how Billy Beane and his staff were able to reshape the tired old thinking behind building a successful baseball team.  It’s likely no coincidence that many of Beane’s actions and processes follow the premises outlined in the last book I read, Imagine.  He brings outside thinking into a traditionally insider’s business.  He also does a lot of borrowing from years of study and research (from guys like Bill James), but what really separates Beane is his willingness to put this data-driven method into practice.  Even after the book was published, Beane faced as much, if not more, criticism for his methods…but he still managed to prove them wrong.

Here are a few of the better quotes I came across:
“Baseball – of all things – was an example of how an unscientific culture responds, or fails to respond, to the scientific method.”
“What was threatening was cold, hard intelligence.”
“People in both fields operate with beliefs and biases.  To the extent you can eliminate both and replace them with data, you gain a clear advantage.”  (John Henry, Florida Marlins Owner, 1999)
“If you challenge the conventional wisdom, you will find ways to do things much better than they are currently done.”  (Bill James)
“No matter how successful you are, change is always good.  There can never be a status quo.”
“The day you say you have to do something, you’re screwed.”
“Intellectual courage was his contributor.  He’d had the nerve to seize upon ideas rejected, or at least not taken too seriously by his fellow Club members, and put them into practice.”

The Fightin' Analyst Book Rating:

out of five stars