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  • A Story Still Playing Out

    Posted by Dan from Madison on October 10th, 2007 (All posts by )

    A few weeks ago Carl wrote a post recommending the writings of Michael Lewis. I snooped around the web and found this wonderful essay by Lewis about a subject I am deeply interested in, the aftermath of hurricane Katrina and the human reactions to it. After reading that essay I was impressed not only by the content, but by the writing style.

    I am usually loathe to purchase more books, since I already have a pretty damned big stack that I haven’t read yet, just sitting in my basement waiting for me to dive in. But this time I decided to make an exception. Carl mentioned three books that Lewis wrote, one was about football, one about baseball, and the last about financial markets. Football interests me the most out of those three subjects, so I ordered The Blind Side in paperback.

    I guess I just cannot recommend this book enough, and now will have to read the others. The best part is that the book is still playing out, in real life. I will get back to that in a minute.

    The Blind Side is not just a story about a kid from the ‘hood in Memphis who was raised in what has to be one of the most dysfunctional environments a child could be raised in. It is a study in what every journalist should be, but isn’t. Michael Lewis actually studied football. He compared salaries, strategies, and spoke with the greatest football minds of our time – at length. He interviewed past and current players and coaches. In other words, he mastered the subject, as far as he wanted to take it.

    Along with that, he immersed himself in the story of the child, Michael Oher. You will receive the chilling details of his childhood and how the Memphis Public Schools simply was pushing him along rather than actually giving him an education. I really want you to read the book so I don’t want to give too much away.

    Here is the very best part – I get to see the ending of the book in real life. What I mean to say is that Michael Oher, if you followed the above link, is still playing for Ole Miss. Many of the people in The Blind Side are still his coaches at Ole Miss and at other places. In the next few years we will see where these people will end up. I wonder how much money Oher will get a contract for in the NFL – if he plays at all. It is a delicious drama.

    I have watched countless hours of football in my life, read countless columns about the sport and consider myself very learned on the subject. It is rare that I have a discussion with someone or read something and actually learn about the game. This book is a huge deviation. After reading it, I will never watch a game in the same way.

    If you like football and want a very enjoyable read, pick up The Blind Side – only $11 at Amazon. I literally could not put this book down. The only bad part is now I have to buy Liar’s Poker and Moneyball. Oh well, this is a welcome break from the usual military history books that I spend time reading.

    Cross posted at LITGM.

     

    4 Responses to “A Story Still Playing Out”

    1. ElGaboGringo Says:

      He’s famous for liar’s poker, but he also has another book “the money culture”? on financial markets and “The new new thing”? on Silicon Valley culture that are very good. Great writer, very insightful. Having worked in the Valley from 02-04 and been in the industry since 98, his latter book made me nostalgic when I read it last year.

    2. JP Says:

      Add me as another big Michael Lewis fan. I was introduced to him by Moneyball, as I had heard about its premise and very interested in the idea of applying statistical analysis and efficiency measures to the sports world. I read Liars Poker and Blind Side is on my list.

      I also read that Katrina article when it first came out. Its one of the best magazine/newspaper articles I’ve ever read. The best would have to be that one in the Washington Post about “The Great Zucchini” (see link):

      The Great Zucchini

    3. Kyle Says:

      Moneyball caused a minor scuffle in the baseball world because of its tone–one that rubbed a lot of the meathead former-players-turned-broadcasters/analysts the wrong way (intentionally).

      The highlight of the flare-up was when Joe Morgan said on the air during a broadcast that he thought the conclusions in the book Billy Beane wrote were wrong while admitting he’d never read it (and not knowing Lewis had written the book about Beane).

    4. Dan from Madison Says:

      Sounds like I need to get on Moneyball very soon.