Everyone in baseball is reading this book. Here’s what you need to know

With spring training beginning earlier this month, another baseball season is upon us. The annual warmup in humid climates is a cruel reminder for those currently freezing in typical winter weather, but with the beginning of baseball comes warmer weather, and perhaps some semblance of normalcy.

Most stadiums around the country will allow fans to come back to the ball park — at least at a limited capacity — during the ongoing pandemic, a welcoming addition to just about everyone that’s been cooped up inside since last March. It’s been nearly a year since fans were allowed in any stadiums in New York and getting some people back in the seats will be a nice change from the artificial noise pumped into stadiums.

Whether you’re itching to get to the ballpark or remain cautious about returning to events with large groups, perhaps there’s a remedy for both parties: a book that everyone in baseball is reading right now.

The New York Times reported that many baseball front office executives and coaching staffs have adopted “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman as the unofficial book of book club this spring.

From the front offices of the Oakland Athletics to the Houston Astros, and others, the book has had a profound impact on decision making and explaining why we think the way we think. In “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” Kahneman, a professor at Princeton University and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2012, explores the two systems that ultimately decide the way we think: System 1 — fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 — slower, more deliberative, and more logical). The books blurb touts that “Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking,” offering practical and enlightening insights into decision making in both business and our personal lives.

A few executives and coaches shared their experience reading “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” which includes fans like Andrew Friedman, the brains behind the World Series-winning Los Angeles Dodgers, and Sig Mejdal, who worked at NASA before taking a job in baseball, where he now works as an assistant general manager for the Baltimore Orioles.

Here’s a snippet:

John Mozeliak, the president of baseball operations for the St. Louis Cardinals, sees the book as illustrative.

“As the decision tree in baseball has changed over time, this helps all of us better understand why it needed to change,” Mozeliak wrote in an email. He said that was especially true when “working in a business that many decisions are based on what we see, what we remember, and what is intuitive to our thinking.”

Sam Fuld, the new Philadelphia Phillies general manager, said reading “Thinking, Fast and Slow” was a good reminder to be aware of one’s own basic human flaws. He plans to start a front office book club in Philadelphia that could feature Kahneman’s work, as well as titles by Adam Grant, Carol Dweck and others.

It’s an interesting piece that dives into the inner-thinkings of some executives that spoke about in-depth about their decision-making when evaluating baseball players. The book has previously been recommended by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and former United States President Barack Obama.