Read this book

Why should you read Michael Lewis’ Moneyball?

Because Lewis humanizes the sometimes dry subject of sabermetrics, the art and science of baseball statistical analysis?

Or maybe it’s because Lewis helps readers understand how the Oakland A’s have not only used sabermetrics to build a better baseball team, but have extended and innovated the field?

Or maybe you’d like to get a good behind the scenes view of how a major league ball club wheels and deals.

Maybe you’re just an Oakland A’s fan.

Possibly, you’re a less knowledgeable major league GM and you dislike Billy Beane and you figure this book will give you more ammo to ridicule him with.

All of these reasons are good reasons to read Moneyball.

But the real reason you should read Moneyball is it’s a damn good book. In the world of literary journalism, Moneyball must be considered one of the classics. It reads more like a collection of short stories than a non-fiction book on baseball. If this book doesn’t win a Pulitzer Prize this year, they should stop giving out the award because it will be meaningless.

What makes the book great is the stories Lewis weaves about the subjects of his book, from Billy Beane, the all-athlete, all-tools phenom without a clue of how to become a real big leaguer, to Scott Hatteberg and Chad Bradford — cases off from other organizations who play the game at a level of sophistication beyond the reach of 90 percent of other major leaguers.

There are two ways to become a great ballplayer — have great tools and the discipline to exploit those tools, or you play with your head. Hatteberg and Bradford play smart baseball, though Bradford’s head is also his biggest enemy, as Lewis brings out in deep and powerful prose. My favorite parts of the book dealt with Hatteberg and Bradford, especially the way Lewis weaved Bradford’s story around Oakland’s quest last season for 20-straight victories.

This is one of those books that I wanted to read non-stop. If I didn’t have adult responsibilities, I would have read it all within 24 hours of getting it — without sleeping. I haven’t done that with a book since college, and that’s why you should buy this book.

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