You may well have seen the posters for the upcoming film Moneyball and wondered, “What on earth is Brad Pitt doing in a movie about baseball?” But don’t be too quick to judge — because, while we can’t comment on the merits of the film as yet, we can definitely vouch for the book on which it’s based. It’s that rarest of beasts — a sports book that’s worth reading. But still, despite the market being dominated by tedious, ghostwritten autobiographies and badly written, stats-heavy snoozefests, Moneyball isn’t the only great sports book out there — if you’re willing to dig deep, there’s a decent amount of goodness to be had. So here’s Flavorpill’s choice of 10 sports-related books that are worth a look whether or not you’re interested in the sport concerned. Are there any on your bookshelf we’ve missed?
Moneyball by Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis’s tome is ostensibly about the unlikely success of the Oakland A’s under the leadership of general manager Billy Beane, but it’s really about how people view and evaluate talent, and how players (or workers, or whoever) who don’t fit small, predefined boxes tend to be discarded and forgotten. Beane’s genius, as Lewis describes it, is to throw out accepted wisdom and subjectivism to evaluate players entirely on quantifiable, objective criteria. As such, like all good sports books, Moneyball is absorbing reading even for those who (like this particular writer) have little interest in baseball.