“Give the game a chance to come to you and often enough it will.”
The #1 National Bestseller is what it says on the first page, followed by three pages of praises for this novel, Moneyball. I wasn’t sold on this book until I read the very last pages. That is when I understood why worlds leading magazines would say things like “The best book of the year” and “you need to know absolutely nothing about baseball to appreciate the wit, snap, economy, and incisiveness of Lewis’s thoughts about it.” In my own words, I would like to describe the book as:
“Moneyball is one of the best influential sports business books I have read so far, being a non-baseball fanatic. This book made me appreciate the business behind a professional baseball club, understand people, and how trading players without emotions and compassion benefited the clubs’ success.”
Did it keep me interested and hungry for reading?
Absolutely, but some chapters were tough to get through. Besides, with all the people involved in it, I cannot imagine how it was for Lewis to write this book. However, Lewis did a fantastic job, and someone once told me, “if they aren’t hating what you are doing, criticizing your work or even you, then you are on to something. You are doing great things.”
Hence, when I read that people criticize, I often am curious why? Why so much controversy or why so much praise? Let’s begin by saying that Moneyball isn’t my typical kind of read for sport psychology research, but it caught my attention with the following takeaways:
understanding Uprightness and reality
page 17 “We take fifty guys and we celebrate if two of them make it. In what other business is two for fifty a success? If you did that in the stock market, you’d go broke.” – Billy Bean
page 53 “Take it slow so his failure is not public exposure and humiliation. Teach him perspective that baseball matters but it doesn’t matter too much […] what matters is that I behave impeccably when I compete.” – Dorfman
page 292 “… the way to win games cheaply is to buy the qualities in a baseball player that the market undervalues, and sell the ones that the market overvalues.” – Lewis
Using Intelligence to succeed
page 76 “… he could only fix what he had the tools to fix.” – Lewis
page 115 “The inability to envision a certain kind of person doing a certain kind of thing because you’ve never seen someone who looks like him or do it before is not just a vice. It’s a luxury. What begins as a failure of the imagination ends as a market inefficiency: when you rule out an entire class of people from doing a job simply by their appearance, you are less likely to dins the best person for the job.” – Lewis
page 252 “If you have twelve different pitchers, you’ve got to speak twelve different languages.” – Peterson
page 285 “Give the game a chance to come to you and often enough it will.” – Jeremy Brown
Separating from the “normal” and “USUAL”
page 123 “… maybe they knew something other people didn’t. Maybe they were, as they privately thought, becoming more efficient.” – Lewis
page 212 “…the market for stock and bonds, is always changing. To trade well you need to be adaptable.” – Lewis
page 271 “They were trying to manipulate the game instead of letting the game come to them.” – Billy
One of my favorite conversations in the book, coach to player on page 253 reads:
Rick Peterson (coach) had made Chad (player) sit down and watch tape of himself slicing and dicing big league hitters for the first five months of the season. As Chad watched the tape of his old self, Peterson made his point:
Peterson: You’re a Christian, right, Chad?
Peterson: You believe in Jesus?
Peterson: Have you ever seen him?
Chad: No, I’ve never seen him.
Peterson: Ever seen yourself get hitters out?
Peterson: So why the fuck do you have faith in Jesus when you never seen him, but you don’t have faith in your ability to get hitters out when you get hitters out all the time?
This is the kind of coaches that we need on every team when doubts and mental blocks creep up on players. A simple video, a direct chat addressing the problem specifically and solving it.
Until next week, think about what coach you have. Is she/he a Peterson or not?