Michael Lewis

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Themes and Colors
Statistics and Rationality Theme Icon
Bias Theme Icon
Psychology and Talent Theme Icon
Money and Value Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Moneyball, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Statistics and Rationality

In Moneyball, Michael Lewis explores the history of sabermetrics—the practice of using math and statistical analysis to analyze the game of baseball. In the early 2000s, Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team, and his assistant, Paul DePodesta, came to the conclusion that professional baseball players were evaluated according to a system that often gave a misleading idea of their actual value to a baseball team. With the…

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When Paul DePodesta and Billy Beane apply statistics to the practice of acquiring professional baseball players, they’re greeted with widespread derision from baseball fans and from other general managers. Paul and Billy’s goal is simple: to win as many games for the Oakland A’s as possible by assembling the most valuable players at a cost they can afford. That they face so much criticism for trying to win games in the most rational, logical way…

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Psychology and Talent

In a way, Moneyball is about the hundreds of millions of dollars that professional sports franchises spend answering the question, “What is a good athlete?” Talent scouts traditionally measured ballplayers’ talents based on the simplest, most tangible criteria: speed, strength, reflexes, and agility. One of the book’s key insights, however, is that athletic talent isn’t just a matter of physique: often, the most talented players have a certain psychological profile that enables them to maintain…

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Money and Value

As its title would suggest, Moneyball studies the role of money in Major League Baseball in the late 20th and early 21st century. Baseball—no less than any other popular, sought-after form of entertainment—is a business, and Michael Lewis (a former Wall Street trader himself) shows how a group of savvy general managers and assistant general managers revolutionized baseball by applying business principles to it.

One of Moneyball’s most important insights into the role of…

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