The Blind Side

After hearing the Russ Robert's interview with Micheal Lewis, I just had to read his recent book, The Blind Side. Liar's Poker, The New New Thing and Moneyball were all great reads. The Blindside is as good as my favorite (Moneyball), and similar in its focus on the business of sports.

The Blind Side serves up the parallel stories of Michael Oher, the present left tackle at Ole Miss and the evolution of that position as the second highest paid role on a professional football team. Intertwined between the two stories is an explanation of how players emerge from some of the most impoverished families in the US to attain massive wealth, and the system used by the NCAA and Pro Football to get them there (or not).

In Michael Oher's case, he was shepherded through the process by the Touey's, an evangelical Christian family who literally adopted him off the streets of Memphis. One sees the power of "the white world" in Memphis and how it can pull a black kid, from the most dysfunctional family imaginable, out of poverty and ignorance to attain what will surely be a $100 million dollar net worth (let alone his share of the Touey family fortune). One also sees what looks (particularly to the NCAA) like boosters going to great lengths to channel star players to their favored schools.

The reader will be tempted to see what they want in this story. I chose to see a Memphis family at the top of the economic pile taking a personal interest in a child in a way that fit their ability to offer help. Others may see something more nefarious.

I also chose to see the destruction that government and American social services policy have wrought on a large swath of the black population. After the chapters describing life in the Memphis projects, my question to anyone is: How could it be any worse if the government had never done anything? There is no question in my mind that it couldn't be.

Anyway, read the The Blind Side if you get a chance. It is a good book, if for nothing more than the interesting economics of pro football post free agency, and a close look at the culture of upper middle class America in the South.

(For anyone who regularly comments here and wants my copy, send me your address and I'll FedEx it to you.)

I also read this book over the weekend. I can't recommend it, even though I liked it. It's advertised as an "economic romance". I assumed there would be more story than economics (as is the case in better "economics novels"), but this one was basically an high school level lesson in economics.

That said, I know a couple of presidential candidates who should read it.

2 comments:

JP

4:16 PM

NPR did a review and story on this book last year that was interesting, but you have to put up with the NPR voices. It might be on their web site... (after a quick search, here it is: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6241687

Yarch,

JP

Jake

4:53 PM

Thanks JP. Just listened to it. Man I'd forgotten how painful it is to listen to Robert Seigal. What a pompous ass. Thank the Lord for ipods and the interweb.