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Brad Pitt … and John Grinder – Moneyball and NLP!

June 13, 2012

Truly, incredibly, thanks to the UK monsoon, I spent the weekend reading Moneyball by Michael Lewis.

Incredibly, because what I know, understand and care about baseball is zero. Even saying that doesn’t quite convey the deep chasms of my ignorance and lack of concern, like, as the young folks say….whatever.

According to  Gary Trudeau  (Doonsbury), “You win by not getting out.” Hmmm.

I picked it up because I had enjoyed the author’s brilliant The Big Short about the money markets and the great collapse of our world economy. Oh and it has a nice picture of Brad Pitt on the cover.

Anyway, it turns out that baseball is a world of passions running high, of insanely committed fans, huge money, players traded like serfs and, until recently, a secret world of nerds and geeks crunching the stats and disputing the received wisdom about what creates success in the game.

So although on one level I learnt nothing, I was completely intrigued by this story of Billy Beane and his quest to take on the big league, superstar teams who can massively outspend him in getting the ‘top’ players.

It’s all about patterning and bias and actually looking to see what’s effective, what works…   compiling data sets to prove it and then, most thrillingly, acting on your new knowledge.

This means Mr Beane, in defiance of conventional ideas,  picked up excellent and underrated players at rock bottom prices and took his team up through the ranks to some big game thing – ‘the playoffs'(?) and after that it’s all about luck.

Don’t ask.  It’s a good thing and means you’ve outsmarted the most mega-expensive players in the baseball  universe.

NLP is fundamentally about patterning and being able to uncrinkle our perceptual biases and fetid old habits of mind which lead us down the same old garden path again and again.

We say ‘the map is not the territory’ and then create tools and deepen our skills to attempt to counter the deeply acquired deletions, distortions and generalisations which generate and dominate our sense of reality.

A lot of the moves are unconventional and counterintuitive… patterning and correcting biases and blind spots, looking to actual feedback in the live, sensory world of experience.

On a recent programme  there was  a young man with a fear of heights and after fifteen minutes he was ready to book a flight on the London Eye… I’ll let you know.

Change is not always as quick as that but sometimes it is.. if you know how the pattern is working.

Anyhow, I was so reminded of the fantastic, original R & D by Bandler and Grinder and pals, along with the unique integration of ideas of their times – the excitement of seeing and testing the patterns and then creating the tools.

And, like what happened to Billy Beane in baseball, in the NLP world we are still waiting for recognition of our patterning skills.

And wanting to make our essential contribution in the bigger game.

However,  it’s still all to play for…


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  1. I’ve just read “Why England Lose” which is the football equivalent. Its brilliant stuff.

    • I’ve just mentioned this to my Charlton supporter chum.. sounds good .. he’s just borrowed Moneyball from me.

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