It happens all the time. Someone will ask me “have you read _______?” Frequently, sadly, I have to say “no, I have not read that one.” It always makes me feel like an uneducated idiot. After all, I’m the book guy. If it is important to catch up fast, I make my call – to Bob Morris (our blogging colleague, book-reviewer extraordinaire), and ask, “have you read ____?” He almost never says “no,” and he tells me enough that I feel like I’ve got a start.
Other times, I say “Yes.” And it is the truth.
But the best answer I can give is this one (this is when I feel like it’s my lucky day): “Yes, I’ve read it and presented it at the First Friday Book Synopsis.”
Well, recently someone asked me if I had read Moneyball by Michael Lewis. That was one of the good days. It was a “Yes, I’ve read it and presented it at the First Friday Book Synopsis” day. I presented this book back in November, 2003.
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game is Michael Lewis’ account of the miracle of a very good baseball team, the Oakland Athletics (the A’s), who competed with the big boys with a whole lot less money at their disposal. It had to do with finding talent that others did not find, reading statistics in a whole new way, making do with what you could afford – and competing at the highest level. The lessons for all in business are significant.
I remembered plenty, but in revisiting my handout, I found this summary of a portion of the book’s contents. This is useful counsel.
Follow these principles:
• When you don’t have the resources, you have to go to plan B
• Find a plan B that works
• There is a plan B that works – if you look hard enough
• Chances are it is not known by the “long-timers’
• Chances are that you have to bring in true “outside help”
• Numbers are more reliable than intuition, tradition, emotion, or…
• or – “who cares how they look in jeans”
• Don’t forget that you are in a competition
• value surprise
• do what works, not what you “like”
• The aggregate is more important than the lone/the individual