Book Review: The Extra 2% By Jonah Keri

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIMay 17, 2011

I know I am probably the last person to read The Extra 2% by Jonah Keri, but with a job where I usually don’t leave until seven at night, trying to watch as many baseball games as I can during the week, and then trying to update this site as often as possible, I really don’t have much time for reading. The only time I usually get to read a book is either on a plane or when I am sitting by the pool.

Luckily for me, last week brought both scenarios.

Flying cross-country to Los Angeles and then sitting pool side at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel offered me the perfect opportunity to read The Extra 2%. The Extra 2% is about how three Wall Street executives transformed the Tampa Bay organization from one of the worst run organizations in not only baseball, but in sports, to one of the most fan friendly and successful teams in baseball.

The Extra 2% takes you back to when the Chicago White Sox almost moved to St. Petersburg back in the 90′s, to the disaster that was the Vince Naimoli era (he believed the internet was a fad and had ushers bully fans who brought in food from the outside), to the process of how and why Joe Maddon was hired, and how Stuart Sternberg, Matthew Silverman, and Andrew Friedman did everything they could to be the complete opposite of Naimoli and how they turned the Tampa Bay Devil Rays into the Tampa Bay Rays.

This book is the Moneyball of this decade. However, there is one big difference for me.

Moneyball portrayed Billy Beane and his group as the smartest guys in the room and at times, you thought Beane invented the game of baseball as we see it today. The Extra 2% does reference Moneyball at times (very much like how Boiler Room references Wallstreet), but the tone of the book is much different.

The Extra 2% is half business book and half baseball book. Keri doesn’t portray Sternberg and his group as the smartest guys in the room even if they usually are. He simply explains that if you use sound business fundamentals that are applicable to any business, they can work in building a baseball organization from top to bottom.

That’s why for me at least, I enjoyed this book a little bit more than Moneyball. The reason being I could relate to it. As someone who is in a management position and is partially responsible for shaping an organization, I could take things from this book that I could apply to my profession.

The Extra 2% is a good read for any baseball fan. But if you are a business professional and baseball fan like I am, then it’s a great read.