44 pages 1 hour read

Michael Lewis

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 2016

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Chapter 1Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 1 Summary: “Man Boobs”

The first chapter largely focuses on Darryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets professional basketball team, and how his decision-making approach represents a paradigm shift in the world of professional sports. Morey is portrayed as an outsider, not a former NBA player or coach himself, but a tenacious hard-worker in search of better decision-making mechanisms. After working for the Boston Celtics and incorporating algorithms into the organization’s decision making, Morey was invited to work for the Rockets as their new general manager. The Rockets “were looking for a Moneyball type” (30), Morey recalls. Fed up with imprecise decision making, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander wanted to hand over the reins of his team to someone who relied on a more analytical approach.

Basketball insiders, such as Charles Barkley, were skeptical, even infuriated over Morey’s hiring. Yet Morey persisted, confidently depositing hope in his own process for decision making. He may have been a basketball nerd, but his idea of nerd was simply “a person who knows his own mind well enough to mistrust it” (31). For any professional sports team, decisions about which players to draft, trade, or sign to multiyear, multimillion dollar contracts have serious consequences, and Morey was determined to make the right ones.