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Lewis wins again!

Finished Moneyball last night. After reading and enjoying two of Michael Lewis' other books, Liar's Poker and The New New Thing, I had high hopes.

I was not disappointed.

The book explains how Billy Beane, the General Manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team, turned his low-payroll team into a perennial winner by asking whether assumptions about how to determine the value of a baseball player should, in fact, be taken as gospel. Beane uses sabermetrics to look at how baseball players should be valued, and then exploits inefficiencies in that market to build a contending team for a fraction of, say, the New York Yankees' payroll.

The book makes some interesting points about what tradition means within the context of an organization, and the value that bringing an objective mindset to a situation can have. It also points out that challenging traditionally-held assumptions within an organization can have a jarring impact on the organization's employees. At the same time, the same fresh outlook can uncover opportunities to improve an organization's product.

In many ways, this reminds me of two books I read last year: Weird Ideas That Work: 11 1/2 Practices for Promoting, Managing, and Sustaining Innovation, and Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.

All three books emphasize constant organizational introspection, leaving no sacred cows, and trying lots and keeping what works.

Beane is maniacal in his approach, but the A's on-field record, the slim profit that they turned last year, and their low payroll are all testament to his methods... which Lewis captures wonderfully in Moneyball.

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Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

Opinions stated here are mine alone.

Contact: blog -at- reemer


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