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Book Review: Management by Baseball – The Official Rules for Winning Management in Any Field by Jeff Angus

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Start the new baseball season with a great business management book. Management by Baseball: The Official Rules for Winning Management in Any Field, penned by Jeff Angus, is the perfect, post-opening day primer for managers and business executives with a pension for America's Game.

The result of the author's thorough effort and unique perspective is a quick and enjoyable read that features management tips with stories from baseball legends like Earl Weaver. What's not to love?

Angus uses game-winning and game-losing strategies from some of the greatest MLB rivalries of all time to illustrate his considerable grasp of the principles and practices of good management. He points to individual, game-changing decisions and parses the logic and context of success.

In Management by Baseball, Jeff makes a convincing case that baseball skippers like Joe Torre and Dusty Baker are better role models for managers than respected corporate giants like Jack Welch and Bill Gates. And he's got perfect examples to back up his claims. The book's chapters look at: managing the mechanics of the team and game; managing talent; managing change; managing yourself, and ultimately, mastering the game.

Angus correctly observes that baseball managers spend hours studying research, dissecting competitive challenges and devising micro-strategies. Team skippers are called upon to manage abstract concepts, like time-management and human resource development (training) and recruiting. They make high-pressure decisions, like calling for a steal or pitch-out, and a bevy of more mundane choices like picking a lineup.

Angus draws real-world lessons from this fascinating fodder, then presents it in language that is spot-on while easy to understand. The book is just fun to read. Thus, the text is an excellent choice for a first venture into the vast world of management theory and practice, as well as a refreshing exclamation point for those veteran execs who have already plumbed the depths of the literature.

A veteran blogger, Angus has been online and posting since 2003 – which isn't surprising as he is also an uber-geek. What else could you call the guy who started the original Infoworld Test Center? Still a regular columnist for weekly computing publications, Jeff also has regular columns with CIO and the Seattle Times – where he mines platinum from mountains of baseball statistics.

It's one thing to pontificate from on-high about the principles of business management. There is no shortage of tomes heavy with slogans or alternatively, weighty technical disambiguations. I am more inclined to value an analysis of winning management techniques when accompanied by relevant, understandable, real-world examples and anecdotal evidence.

It's even better when those examples are stories about some of the greatest moments in baseball. Management by Baseball takes the reader from first-base all the way home.

 

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