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Tutte le letture del mese.

I miei libri preferiti.


Moneyball — The art of winning an unfair game
Michael Lewis

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He couldn’t help but notice that his scouting department was the one part of his organization that most resembled the rest of baseball. From that it followed that it was most in need of change.

He was fascinated by irrationality, and the opportunities it created in human affairs for anyone who resisted it.

There was, for starters, the tendency of everyone who actually played the game to generalize wildly from his own experience.

If professional baseball players could be over-or undervalued, who couldn’t? Bad as they may have been, the statistics used to evaluate baseball players were probably far more accurate than anything used to measure the value of people who didn’t play baseball for a living.

If we do what the Yankees do, we lose everytime, because they’re doing it with three times more money than we are.

“We don’t get the guys who are perfect”, said Paul. “There has to be something wrong with them for them to get to us.”

“No matter how successful you are, change is always good. There can never be a status quo. When you have no money you can’t afford long-term solutions, only short term ones. You have to always be upgrading. Otherwise you’re fucked.”

To do this well, you have to ignore the newspapers.

He found that the only way he could get himself out of bed in the morning and to the ballpark was to remind himself that he wasn’t pitching only for the White Sox. “By the middle of the 1999 season I was pitching for every other big league team that might be watching”, he said. “I’m just sitting there hoping someone’s watching.”

Come vincere con meno risorse? Moneyball è una delle risposte a questa domanda. In apparenza un libro sul baseball, in pratica tutt’altro: è diventato uno dei miei libri preferiti di sempre e io non conosco nemmeno le regole del baseball… Consigliatissimo.


Paper Lion: Confessions of a last-string quarterback
George Plimpton

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I asked, “How do you prepare for a game?(…)”
“(…) I think to myself, how would play the play if I was the receiver. Now I’m working on him, I’m setting him up.”

“You can’t have anything on your mind but positive thoughts,” said Cogdill. “All week long I run  patterns over in my mind. In each one I beat my man, every time.”

“It’s possible to come out of college and be a good linebacker, but three years later you look back and remember how bad you were”

“It’s got to be almost second nature. There’s too much to consider consciously”

Non conosco nemmeno le regole del football, ma non mi è servito per godermi appieno Paper Lion, uno dei tanti gioielli dell’era del New Journalism.

Immagina di allenarti, vivere, conoscere e scendere in campo al fianco di Messi e Neymar.
Plimpton ha fatto questo nei Detroit Lions (squadra di baseball americana) negli anni ’60, e ci ha scritto sopra uno dei libri più belli che abbia mai letto. Se ti interessa sapere com’è stare al top, questo è uno dei libri che consiglio di più.

Purtroppo non è più in stampa e non esiste come ebook: l’unica è cercarlo usato.

Gay Talese, uno dei miei scrittori preferiti, ha scritto un pezzo molto bello su George Plimpton: Looking for Hemingway.


On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
Dave Grossman

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On Killing is a humble attempt to rectify this. And in doing so, it draws a novel and reassuring conclusion about the nature of man: despite and unbroken tradition of violence and war, man is not by nature a killer.

The vast majority of combatants throughout history, at the moment of truth when they could and should kill the enemy, have found themselves to be “conscientious objectors”.

“From a distance, I can deny your humanity; and from a distance, I cannot hear your screams.”

“Tranquilizers do not deal with psychological stressors; they merely do what insulin does for a diabetic: they treat the symptoms, but the disease is still there.”

Un libro che parla di cosa si prova uccidendo altri uomini in guerra. Più o meno una delle cose più lontane da me che ogni giorno festeggio di essere nato in un periodo senza la leva obbligatoria per i diciottenni, ma comunque interessante.

Da notare che l’autore non ha mai ucciso in battaglia, pur essendo un fervente militarista e a volte moralista.


The Animals
Garry Winogrand

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Con Winogrand non sbagli mai. The Animals raccoglie alcuni suoi scatti grotteschi dello zoo di New York, ed è un piacere da sfogliare.


Matteo

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