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Beautiful Game Theory: How Soccer Can Help Economics Hardcover – May 25, 2014


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Beautiful Game Theory: How Soccer Can Help Economics + The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Soccer Is Wrong + Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Spain, Germany, and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia—and Even Iraq—Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World’s Most Popular Sport
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (May 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691144028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691144023
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[E]njoyably accessible to nonspecialists, especially sports enthusiasts, who will learn a great deal about soccer, economics, and human behavior more generally."--Foreign Affairs

"Beautiful Game Theory shows what it is like to think deeply about a sport and to test your ideas with data. . . . [I]t is a book I recommend unconditionally to those economists with even a passing sport."--John Considine, Sportseconomics.org

From the Back Cover

"This stimulating book shows that an understanding of economic ideas gives deep insights into soccer play, and that soccer provides important evidence to test various theories of economic behavior, such as efficient markets and social influences on behavior. You do not have to be a soccer fan to learn from and enjoy this engaging book."--Gary S. Becker, University of Chicago and Nobel Laureate in Economics

"This is an excellent book by an author who has made innovative and powerful contributions to our understanding of soccer and economics."--Stefan Szymanski, coauthor of Soccernomics

"Palacios-Huerta is perhaps the preeminent economist using sports applications to help us learn about economics."--J. James Reade, University of Reading

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Crew96 on June 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover
There are different classes of soccer titles. At the peak is the scholarly research devoted to the beautiful game. Beautiful Game Theory: How Soccer Can Help Economics by Ignacio Palacios-Huerta represents the best that of the group, being the "Ivy League" title (both literally and symbolically) coming out in time for the World Cup.

Enjoying the game of soccer is all about perspectives and this is certainly a different, but intelligent perspective. Applying economic principles to soccer and vice versa is an interesting choice, particularly involving a game that is so fluid and unpredictable. The author takes this to an approachable level, allowing fans and supporters to engage in an intellectual discussion.

Those that want a Soccernomics-like experience in 2014 should read this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Julio1fer on August 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is a collection of articles, applying statistics and economic theory to analyze results and situations in series of soccer games (practically all of them in the Spanish Liga). Somehow I have the impression that each chapter was written as a stand-alone paper, and the book was made putting the individual papers together under some kind of structure.

The phenomena analyzed cover most phases of the game: penalty shots, attendance, behavior of referees under pressure. But be warned: this is not a book about soccer - it is a book about natural experiments (very well identified and isolated) on economic theory and game theory, analyzed with rigorous statistical tools.

Scientifically, it is an excellent contribution. It would make an excellent text to use in an advanced course about experiment analysis or applied statistics (and of course, game theory). I found the book original and very readable.

Why not more stars? The claims on the originality of the approach, the value of using the soccer model, and the value of the contribution are featured extensively in each of the chapters, often through several pages. It becomes a bit tiresome, after you read it for the Nth time. These claims would be understandable if you consider each chapter in isolation, as a typical paper in a journal, but the repetition is not really needed in a book.

Maybe in a second edition the author will be able to trim these sections, or dedicate a chapter just to these claims.

I hope more economists turn to sports as a model!
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Format: Hardcover
Perfectly balanced - Well written - Amazing book - Connecting Theoretical Game Theory by applying it on real world examples&....
it is proved to be right.

It ends up to be impressive -(For any game-theory-field lover, or even for any lover of soccer that wants to see a more 'mathematised' reality that proves to be THE CORRECT one, behind the general chit-chat and unconscious probabilistic expectations as a fan)- compared to you possible expectation/what you actually may be thinking before buying it.

Do recommend it.
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By Sylvester on December 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was disappointed in this book. It focuses on just a few aspects of the beautiful game: penalty kicks, yellow cards, shoot outs. There is little about the flow of play which makes soccer such a beautiful game.
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By Charles Saunders on September 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful book - unbelievably insightful way to look at game theory.
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