Monthly Archives: July 2016

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

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Is a winning professional team the team that spend the most money? Can you measure something objectively when it has been measured subjectively over many decades?

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis

Two reasons I read this book:

  1. This book was adapted to a movie, and it was so good.
  2. It was part of the free book lending program for Kindle and Amazon Prime customer.

In the movie, the story focused on Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane. The book is more than that, it has stories of different people surrounding Beane.

When I started reading this book, I felt it was dull because the pace of the story did not go as fast as the movie. However, it really got me reading it every night very quickly. The explanation of how moneyball works, the obstacles that Billy Beane had to go through to make moneyball works, and the stories of people involved during the moneyball process were all fascinating.

The stories of people I was talking about were Paul DePodesta, Scott Hatteberg, and Chad Bradford. They all had really good stories behind them during the historical 20 winning streak of the Oakland A’s. The movie did not put many minutes on them, but if you read the book, you will find their stories very interesting.

Since the moneyball book published, more professional team, including the NBA and the NFL runs as a business more than a club house. A decade old habit take time to change, but it is changing. It’s no more just looking at sport player by their body appearance, but also their psychological mind set and their “work” in statistic.

A winning team in professional sports are no longer the team that spent the most, the people running a professional team front office are not just retired players.

It’s always inspiring to read about the people who disrupt their industry, especially when they were the under dog. (In Billy Beane’s case, he ran the team with the lowest budget) It’s great to root for the under dog, I guess it’s part of the fun to watch sports.

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Mindset

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Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Is there a genius? A natural born athlete? One is born with certain talent and they were destined to do this in their life?

This year I have been lucky enough to read a really good book on productivity and listen to a really good podcast on taking back control on my digital life.  I got lucky again when I got a copy of Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

In Mindset, Dr. Dweck debunked the myth of genius, born athlete, or born talent. Dr. Dweck discourage putting these label to anyone because it limits their ability to grow.

There are two types of mindset we can practice in. A fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

A fixed mindset person believes in genius, born athlete, or born talent. It is dangerous to have a fixed mindset because one will think that their ability to learn is born with. It will go well if a fixed mindset person continues to succeed in their work, but once they faced obstacle, they might stop taking the challenge. It is because they think it’s not meant to be their work to find a solution since their “born” genius cannot find a solution, therefore, someone else with such “born” genius will find a solution.

In a growth mindset, there is no “born” ability. It’s just practice and learning. By knowing that succeeding at one stage of life does not mean future success is guaranteed. A growth mindset person will continue to learn new things and continue to find a solution to a problem or challenge they receive.

As a parent, we can guide our children to have a growth mindset when they grow. The following are some of the points that I thought are important.

  • Encourage a child’s effort, not their ability.
  • Prepare them to be able to take criticism.
  • When a child succeed in a task, praise their process on taking on the challenge, not praise that they are smart.

In Mindset, it also discuss on how to be a better leader at work, a better athlete, and a better teacher at school. I am really glad that I picked up this book and I highly recommend anyone to read it.