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Moneyball - Lessons on Value?

I asked #teamNRG to look at writing some blogs for the website. I was a bit unfair, I gave them a very wide brief…write about what ever you want!

Lewis is up first with this interesting take on value. As you know one of our principles at #teamNRG is “adding value” to every person, project or conversation we are involved with.

Thanks Lewis.


It’s Saturday morning and one of the first weekends in a while that feel half normal. Restrictions have been lifted, and so the ordinary things excite me. I can’t wait to walk to the shops, get some exercise in at the gym, and then waste these efforts by being in a beer garden with my friends for the rest of the day.

Despite these plans, the bore in me that is still stuck in ‘lockdown mode’ decides to put on one of his favourite films first – Moneyball.

Moneyball (starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill) depicts the real-life story of Billy Beane, the general manager of the 2002 Oakland Athletics baseball team. Even though the team has the lowest payroll within the major leagues, Billy and his assistant Peter Brand take Oakland on a 20-game winning streak, using economics as their main weapon to battle against many of the game’s outdated traditions.

Spamming through interviews of the film’s creators after watching it (I repeat, I am a bore), I found that the overriding question that they were interested in asking was how we value things. In the context of Moneyball, it’s how we value baseball players. But this question can really be applied to anything. My dissertation asked this question with regard to the cultural and creative industries, and only now have I realised that the decision to write about this topic was probably influenced by this movie!

The success of Moneyball has also encouraged people to look at this question in a business context. One of the more obvious examples is in the recruitment process: can the person you’re hiring do the job you want them to do and hence provide value? This seems too patronising of a question, but when you look back on your own past job searches, how many times have you seen a job description that basically asks for every single skill and trait that one can think of? Has the employer themselves identified what the job actually is?

The question of how we value things can be asked about all areas of life, such as our work, our relationships, and most obviously what we buy. I don’t have the ability to tell anyone that they over or undervalue any of these things, but it’s definitely worth considering why we value them the way we do. Having not seen some of my friends for months, it’s probably easier to understand now why I valued finally seeing them again so much.

If you haven’t seen Moneyball yet, please do. I hope you find value in it the way I did.



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