MoneyBall by Michael Lewis

Rate: ***1/2

Read: Skipped some of the excruciating baseball stat details

Category:  Business

Tweet Review: An idea, some resources and an unwavering belief trumps money every time.

I like baseball but I’m not a fanatic.  I like Brad Pitt but I’m not a fanatic.  So, when MoneyBall the movie came out (I am a movie fanatic), I went to see it, thinking the same thing as everybody else, a nice little drama about an underdog that changed something.  In this case, how an entrenched but most beloved industry run by the old boys gets a kick in the ass.  Fantastic storyline.  I can see why Brad Pitt thought this book would make a great movie.  I saw the movie first and all I could see were the principles of great business thought leaders put into action.  For me this is a story about innovation, a disruptive idea and leadership.  It has a little Jim Collins (Good to Great) – “get the right people on the bus, get the wrong people off the bus, and then drive the bus”.  It has a little Seth Godin (Poke the Box) to start something; Luke Wilson (Disrupt) take an old idea in an entrenched industry and make it new;  it has a sprinkle of Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry (the Method Method) challenge the bigger, richer guys with a leaner, meaner organization, a smattering of Jason Fried (Rework) don’t follow the rules – all told in the story telling format that Peter Gruber (Tell to Win) encourages you to do so that you remember it.  The book was really written about a manager that didn’t have enough money, would never get more and how he created a competitive edge by thinking differently – challenging the status quo – which is what we are all trying to do in business.  Do more with less.  Make something great, not by throwing money at it, but by looking outside the box.  Billy Beane, in embracing a new model for choosing players looked objectively at the stats, got the old guys off the bus, brought the new guys on the bus and then drove the bus (if you only get one concept from Jim Collins – this has really got to be it).  It’s not very often that you get to sit back and watch a business story come to life – so if you don’t want to read the book, at least rent the DVD.

My Takeaway

To make the movie/book meaningful, it would be helpful if you knew the concepts I am taking about from the above named authors.  At the very least, in the movie the is a certain schadenfreude (pleasure derived from others misfortune) that comes when the old know-it-all scouts get a comeup’in.

Elaine Joli


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