June 10, 2006

News & Opinion: Malcolm on "The Answer"

By: Jack @ 4:08 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

In the May 29, 2006 The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell reviews a new book from Stanford University Press called "The Wages of Wins." The subtitle will give you a hint of the content "Taking Measure of the Many Myths of Modern Sport." I have not seen the book but will get a copy shortly and do a review on it. Malcolm points out the similarity to Michael Lewis's brilliant "Moneyball." The last paragraph of the review is great.
"It's hard not to wonder, after reading "The Wages of Wins," about other instances in which we defer to the evaluations of experts. Boards of directors vote to pay CEOs tens of millions of dollars, ostensibly because we believe--on the basis of what they have learned over the years watching other C.E.O.s--that they are worth is. But so what? We see Allen Iverson, over and over again, charge toward the basket, twisting and turning and writhing through a thicket of arms and legs of much taller and heavier men--and all we learn is to appreciate twisting turning and writhing. We become dance critics, blind to Iverson's dismal shooting percentage and his excessive turnovers, blind to the reality that the Philadelphia 76ers would be better off without him. "One can play basketball," the authors conclude. "One can watch basketball. One can watch basketball for a thousand years. If you do not systematically track what players do, then uncover that statistcal relationship between these actions and wins, you will never know why teams win and why they lose."
Sounds like fun. BTW, other athletes mentioned are: Michael, Brett and Steinbrenner.