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One of the few positive things about the current state of financial inequality among major-league baseball teams is the fact that it forces general managers to rely on innovative thinking. No longer can teams afford to throw a bunch of recruits at the roster and see what sticks. The Oakland A’s have been one of the more successful regular-season teams in recent yearseven if their salaries are eclipsed by the exorbitant payrolls of teams such as the Yankees and the Braves. In The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story, Michael Lewis wrote about Jim Clark, co-founder of Silicon Graphics and Netscape. In his newest book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, the author again paints the big picture of a business culture through a portrait of a singular manthis time it’s A’s GM Billy Beane. One of the main reasons for Beane’s (and the team’s) accomplishments has been a renunciation of the traditional methods of talent appraisal and the good-ol’-boy network of scouts; instead, he has found success through analysis of left-field baseball statistics. Lewis speaks at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1200 F St. NW. Free. (202) 347-3686. (DD)