March 24, 2009

News & Opinion: Why You Should Read Michael Lewis

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:30 PM – Filed under: Current Events & Public Affairs

There are a set of writers who we assign superpowers to in The 100 Best. To the Wall Street trader turned juggernaut writer Michael Lewis, we assigned interpretation. And that may not seem like much of a gift, but it is his ability to make apparent, to bring meaning and understanding to those hidden forces. Take his answer to the question asked by Fortune Magazine, "The stars of your books typically find ways to capitalize on market inefficiencies. Is contrariness necessary for greatness?" for example.

We chose Lewis' book Moneyball for The 100 Best because the story of Billy Beane and his management of the Oakland Athletics transcends baseball. It is the story of a man disrupting an institution. These are lessons for design engineers, HR managers, and corporate strategists.

There are two other sports stories that Lewis has written that capture the same disruptive effect. The first was his 8,787 word story that appeared in Play, the now-defunct sport magazine of The New York Times, about Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach and his game-changing view for how college football should be played (consider the effect in their run at the national championship this year). The second appeared just a few weeks ago in The New York Times Magazine. The 9,004 word story centered on Houston Rockets Shane Battier and his almost unmatched ability to make his team better when he is on the court (and not through offense). Both are brilliant and should be read.

I'll leave you with a few others if you find Lewis to your liking: