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Blind Side

Just finished (in half a day) Michael Lewis’s Blind Side, the story of…lots of things—the hidden side of football, race and class in the South, an inner-city kid’s journey, how market forces move things in unexpected ways. It is not as analytical as Moneyball but the underlying story is more dramatic and it’s very well told by Lewis. Along with all of the above, the book captures the poetry of athletic excellence, the sheer magnificence of the outlier—the man playing a boy’s game. It reminds me a bit of The Courting of Marcus Dupree, an under-appreciated gem and the movie The Scout, Albert Brooks’s offbeat portrait of the baseball scout who finds a player too good to be true.

Fans of economics will love the way Lewis talks about the evolution of football and how what fans see and often respect is only part of what is really going on. You’ll also like how Lewis understands and explains how competition in the free agent market makes left tackles on the offensive line the second most highly-paid players in football. Who knew? These themes are the framework for the human drama that Lewis portrays and that makes up most of the book—the tale of an inner-city black kid who finds himself taken under the wing of a rich, white, emphatically Christian, driven, sports-loving family. If you like football at all, you will not be able to put this book down.