Michael Lewis's book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game is about baseball, but it is also about winning when all the statistics say a team should be losing. Lewis examines what makes the Oakland A's a successful team despite their having the worst players in the league, statistically, at least.
When the A's are about to make a draft selection that no one else would make, Lewis explains the lesson the other league managers have not yet learned:
The inability to envision a certain kind of person doing a certain kind of thing because you've never seen someone who looks like him do it before is not just a vice. It's a luxury. What begins as a failure of the imagination ends as a market inefficiency: when you rule out an entire class of people from doing a job simply by their appearance, you are less likely to find the best person for the job.
While this quote is perfectly suited to both business and baseball, it is also an essential lesson in life. When we prejudge people, we limit every possibility. For example, people who do not believe certain things can be done by young people might be missing out on the enthusiasm, creativity, and energy which older people may not have. Those who disqualify people based on race or gender are not only being small-minded but they are losing out on some amazing people.
I wonder how many grand inventions, life-saving medicines, works or art and music, or humanitarian efforts have been lost because people who could have helped make these things happen had just never seen them done by those who wanted to do them.
This is true in baseball, as documented by this book, but it is also true on a much smaller scale in all of our lives.