Built To Win (John Schuerholz)
I just finished reading the book “Built To Win” by Atlanta Braves GM John Schuerholz and wanted to share the review of it that I wrote for Amazon.com. Unfortunately, much like my earlier review of Kent Hrbek’s book, this one was also a dud:
“Too Much Philosophy, Too Little Baseball”
As I began reading this book, I figured that it would explain the inside stories of how the Atlanta Braves were so successful from 1991-2005. The book tries to do this, but does so in completely the wrong fashion, making it an incredibly boring read.
Instead of describing the interesting deals/performances/stories that likely characterized those classic Braves teams, John Schuerholz instead spews out little more than inspirational quotes and philosophical points of view that, though they may contribute to his success, are unique to him and thus not inherently interesting. Schuerholz is trying to lay out the “basic mindset” of a winning GM, but what he doesn’t realize is that each GM/organization (even the winning ones) goes through different methods of building a good team.
The book begins with a little story about how Barry Bonds nearly became an Atlanta Brave, then trails off into an unnecessarily harsh criticism of Oakland GM Billy Beane’s “Moneyball” philosophy (stupid due to the fact that Beane has had just as much success with the model as Schuerholz) and finally descends into little more than Schuerholz spouting quotes about “winning” for the next 100-200 pages. There is no context to the stories told in the book. In fact, I found the only interesting part of the entire book to be the last 10 or so pages, where each Braves team (from 1991-2005) is given a quick summary. Had the entire book been about that, I would be giving it a much better review!
Thus, please DO NOT begin reading this book if you are expecting great Braves baseball stories. You will likely enjoy this book much more than I if you are into inspirational memoirs, but otherwise stay away.