Tag Archives: Sports

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair GameMoneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

My Rating★★★☆☆

It was a better story before I knew the whole story.

Almost every book on randomness I have read had a reference to Moneyball and I had built up my own version about this story (I had even told a few people that version!) and it imagined everybody doing what Billy Beane was doing, and Billy Beane doing some sort of probability distribution among all players and randomly picking his team, winning emphatically, and thus proving that a truly random pick of players is the equivalent of a true-simulation of the market and just like how no considered selection of stock picks can ever outperform the market in the long run, a truly random representation of the baseball market cannot be outperformed by the interventionist methods of other teams over a long season. That is the story I wanted to hear. My apologies to anyone to whom I have spouted this story – it is not true. It is still probable though, when the next radical Billy Beane comes along in sports.

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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Book Reviews, Books, Thoughts


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Book Appreciation: Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel

Zen in the Art of ArcheryZen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel

My Rating★★★★★

Are we all such helpless and inexperienced beginners with not the slightest clue on how to correct our aims or on to draw our bowstrings right?

This supposedly uplifting book has depressed me amidst its poetry and beauty into a realization that I will probably never ‘correct my own stance’ or ‘let the arrow fall at the moment of highest tension’, effortlessly hit any goal or even realize what the real goal is…

Why is there no art in life anymore? Isn’t it all that should exist? Can we please ban money and all its accouterments and live by the High Arts; that might then bring some insipid meaning back to our lives?

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Posted by on June 6, 2012 in Book Reviews, Books, Thoughts


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The MAD & The BAD: Today’s Dose of Entertainment

In the previous Post, Sunday’s genre has been decided – War Movies and Thriller/Murder books. Monday unfortunately turned out to be an off day and will be decided next week.

All picks will be updated at the dedicated page. Let us go ahead with today’s picks, shall we?


Today’s MAD Recommendation


IMDb link: The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005) – IMDb

IMDb General Rating: 7.3/10

My IMDb Rating: 8/10

Genre: Sport, History, Drama

The Greatest Game Ever Played


Disney continues their string of sports films with The Greatest Game Ever Played directed by Bill Paxton. It tells the tale of Francis Ouimet, an amateur golfer in the early 1900’s. As a child he showed a love for the sport and even worked as a caddy at the local golf course. As an adult, despite his natural talent, he found himself held back by prejudice against the working class and his father who didn’t want him wasting his time with the game. Yet through luck and the help of a local golfing club member, Francis found himself given the opportunity to play as an amateur in the 1913 U.S. Open.

Up until that point the world of golf had been dominated by the British and Scots. Leading the British was Harry Vardon, aka The Stylist. Vardon had risen from lowly roots to become the best golfer in the world. Despite this, he found himself consistently excluded and looked down upon by “gentlemen” golfers. The 1913 U.S. Open was his chance to win acceptance into their exclusive society and overcome his self doubts about his class.

It was against this backdrop that Vardon and Ouimet, along with his pint-sized caddy Eddie Lowery, found themselves facing off in the greatest game of golf ever played…


“It’s by far the most inspirational sports movie to come along in many a month.”  — Seattle Post

“The technique is at the service of a game in which everything is at risk, and we like both players; our affection for them makes everything trickier, and certainly as the final rounds are played, the games themselves seem to have been scripted to create as much suspense as possible. I have no idea if the movie is based, stroke for stroke, on the actual competition at the 1913 U.S. Open. I guess I could find out, but I don’t want to know. I like it this way.” — Roger Ebert


“But that is beside the point. Like the best fairy tales, The Greatest Game Ever Played works precisely because it is so simply told, so devoid of irony and cynicism. In this I compare it with the Harry Potter or Pixar movies…”  —

Why You should Watch it:

  1. If you are in the mood for a good underdog triumph story
  2. If you are thinking of developing a liking for Golf, what with being in the corporate field and all 🙂
  3. If you are not in a particularly demanding mood today…

Why I loved it:

  1. For the simple fact that it made the impossible possible. I never expected golf would ever interest me in any way ever. The movie had me tense and on the edge of my seat by the last swing.
  2. Brilliant cinematography and some wonderfully shot effects and scenes
  3. A historically correct story that I have to admit was inspiring.



Today’s BAD Recommendation


GoodReads link: Kafka on the Shore

GoodReads General Rating: 4.04/5

My GoodReads Rating: 5/5

Genre: Suspense, HumorMagical Realism, Novel

Kafka On the Shore


Comprising two distinct but interrelated plots, the narrative runs back and forth between the two, taking up each plotline in alternating chapters.

The odd chapters tell the 15-year-old Kafka’s story as he runs away from his father’s house to escape an Oedipal curse and to embark upon a quest to find his mother and sister. After a series of adventures, he finds shelter in a quiet, private library in Takamatsu, run by the distant and aloof Miss Saeki and the intelligent and more welcoming Oshima. There he spends his days reading the unabridged translation of A Thousand and One Nights and the collected works of Natsume Sōseki until the police begin inquiring after him in connection with a brutal murder.

The even chapters tell Nakata’s story. Due to his uncanny abilities, he has found part-time work in his old age as a finder of lost cats (a clear reference to The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle). The case of one particular lost cat puts him on a path that ultimately takes him far away from his home, ending up on the road for the first time in his life. He befriends a truck-driver named Hoshino. Hoshino takes him on as a passenger in his truck and soon becomes very attached to the old man.

Nakata and Kafka are on a collision course throughout the novel, but their convergence takes place as much on a metaphysical plane as it does in reality and, in fact, that can be said of the novel itself. Due to the Oedipal theme running through much of the novel, Kafka on the Shore has been called a modern Greek tragedy.


“A real page-turner, as well as an insistently metaphysical mind-bender”  — John Updike

“I’ve never read a novel that I found so compelling because of its narrative inventiveness and love of storytelling…great entertainment”– Guardian review


Murakami is like a magician who explains what he’s doing as he performs the trick and still makes you believe he has supernatural powers. So great is the force of the author’s imagination, and of his conviction in the archaic power of the story he is telling, that all this junk is made genuine.” — New York Times


“Murakami’s prose style is addictive, and the depth and scope of his work is astounding. Not since Steinbeck has any writer managed to lift so much of the human psyche and deposit it in one novel. Readers will come away from this book shattered, but reawakened to the limitless possibilities in themselves and in the cold world in which we live.” — Post Gazette

Why You should Read it:

  1. If you are a classical music lover, you will enjoy the role of music in driving the narrative.
  2. If you are not a classical music lover, the book will probably make you one – just take the trouble to search in YouTube for the Beethoven and Schubert music alluded to and you will find yourself loving them.
  3. The quirky characters, the half fantasy-half reality, half japanese-half western settings everything will give you an atmosphere rarely found in books.
  4. While Murakami was writing this, he was also working on a Japanese Translation of Catcher in the Rye. And you can see bits of Holden Caulfield in Kafka, So if you loved Catcher in the Rye…

Why I loved it:

  1. For the simple fact that Murakami did not disappoint after The Wind-Up bird Chronicle. Every author peaks with some work and I honestly thought it had to be Wind-Up Bird, I couldn’t see him topping that. Well, he equalled it at least.
  2. The open-ended riddles gives the reader the feeling of solving some internal puzzle as the story unfolds, I loved that feeling of being allowed to write my own meaning into the larger than life events being played out.
  3. It introduced me to the haunting melody of Beethoven – The Archduke Trio. I never grow tired of listening to that.
  4. “In some way the spirit of the book is a throwback to that music, as it invites the reader to relax and dream and drift along with the flow of time. Water is everywhere: Mr. Murakami often invokes imagery of streams and spring rain, of a river that follows an unexpected path. ”Kafka on the Shore” artfully sets such currents in motion.”

That is it for today folks! See you tomorrow! Hope you enjoy the picks!

PS. For readers from inside campus, a small bonus package is provided! The movie and the book can be lent from me personally from my username at DC++, please understand that I am only lending you the copy and you are advised to delete the copy of the movie/book after usage. The details will be updated along with the posts.

Disclaimer: This blog does not support the propagation of pirated material in any way and the books and movies are to be lent on a personal basis only. [ Just in case 🙂 ]

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Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Books, Movie Discussions, Movies


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