Have you read Moneyball by Michael Lewis? Are you looking for discussion questions to further your understanding of the book?
Baseball’s old guard—a consortium of coaches, scouts, general managers, owners, former players, and sports journalists—have rigid conceptions of what a good player is and how teams are supposed to win games. But the success of the 2002 Oakland A’s proves that much of it is hopelessly wrong.
Here are some Moneyball discussion questions to consider.
Moneyball Discussion Questions
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game is the story of the 2002 Oakland Athletics and their general manager, Billy Beane. Beane assembles a winning team on a shoestring budget, by using an analytical and scientific approach to evaluate each player’s contributions. Although the A’s have many players with atypical physical attributes and unusual hitting or pitching styles, they excel in overlooked statistical categories, like on-base percentage, that were typically dismissed by baseball traditionalists. This enables Beane to get maximum efficiency from his team, earning wins at a fraction of the price paid by the rest of the league.
Here are some Moneyball discussion questions about the book.
Exercise: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom
Think about how doing things the way they’ve always been done can lead to poor results.
- Have you ever been part of an organization whose accepted way of doing things was inefficient or broken? Describe the situation in a few sentences.
- What sorts of conventional wisdom did they espouse? How did you respond to what you believed were bad ideas?
- What can you do in the future to challenge tired or outdated conventional wisdom?
Exercise: Discovering Your True Value
Examine your attributes or qualities that might go unnoticed by others.
- What are some of your best attributes, skills, or qualities that you believe are relatively unnoticed or undervalued? Describe them briefly.
- In a few sentences, why do you think others are unable to see these hidden talents?
- Going forward, how can you better highlight these undervalued skills?
Exercise: Final Thoughts on Moneyball
Think about the main lessons from Moneyball.
- Why do you think that baseball traditionalists were so opposed to the way in which Billy Beane ran the Oakland A’s?
- Why do you think that players who excelled at flashy plays like stolen bases were so heavily overpriced relative to their actual contributions to team success?
- Why did old-fashioned baseball statistics like RBIs and batting averages inaccurately measure player performance?
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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of Michael Lewis's "Moneyball" at Shortform .
Here's what you'll find in our full Moneyball summary :
- How Billy Beane first flamed out as a baseball player before becoming a general manager
- The unconventional methods the Athletics used to recruit undervalued players
- How Sabermetrics influences American baseball today