Moneyball | Study Guide

Michael Lewis

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In text

(Course Hero, 2019)



Course Hero. "Moneyball Study Guide." August 23, 2019. Accessed January 17, 2021.


Course Hero, "Moneyball Study Guide," August 23, 2019, accessed January 17, 2021,



Michael Lewis

Years Published





Economics, Nonfiction

At a Glance

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game sets out to answer a simple question: why does the Oakland Athletics (The Oakland A's) baseball team win so many games with such a small budget? Answering this question leads author Michael Lewis to examine the revolutionary methods used by its general manager—Billy Beane—and his staff to achieve their extraordinary results. These methods are based on a reliance on statistical analysis of baseball and dispensing with long-standing tradition. Along the way, Lewis describes how the modern statistical analysis of baseball, sabermetrics, was developed and why most teams, except the Oakland Athletics, have resisted adopting this methodology. When published, Moneyball was highly controversial because it directly challenged conventional wisdom about baseball. However, the book was also widely read, and the success of the Oakland Athletics gradually led more teams to incorporate statistical methods into their own strategies for managing and recruiting baseball players. Moneyball was made into a successful film in 2011, starring actor Brad Pitt (b. 1963) as Beane.

About the Title

Baseball is not only a sport; it is an industry. Each team is a company, an organization, a brand, and a business. In most industries, companies with more resources have more power; in baseball, the teams with more resources have more power. The author, Michael Lewis, views modern baseball as an unfair playing field in which some teams have a significant revenue, and others, such as the Oakland Athletics (the Oakland A's), have limited budgets. The team does not have the financial resources to compete with wealthier teams. Instead, its managers achieve success by using statistical analysis to find inexpensive players who will deliver solid performance results. The approach of the Oakland A's is to ruthlessly "trade," or exchange, players with other baseball teams. As a result, the team finds hidden talents who are ignored by conventional scouts and then increases the value of its mediocre players. The approach of the Oakland A's breaks much of the established conventional wisdom about identifying and recruiting talented baseball players. Moneyball is a humorous term to describe the strategic approach that the Oakland A's take to addressing the income disparity between teams in their sport. In other words, the Oakland A's are playing moneyball as much as baseball.


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