Stumbling on Wins (Bonus Content Edition) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Stumbling On Wins: Two Economists Expose the Pitfalls on the Road to Victory in Professional Sports Hardcover – March 18, 2010


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$9.95 $4.92

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (March 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 013235778X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132357784
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #634,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

As seen on The New York Times' Freakonomics blog, ESPN.com's True Hoop, and Slate.com.

 

"In Stumbling on Wins, sports economists Berri (Southern Utah Univ.) and Schmidt (College of William and Mary) follow up their The Wages of Wins (with Stacey Brook, CH, Jan'07, 44-2764) with more modeling and number-crunching applications. The holy grail remains the same: understanding and improving decision making on the court, field, and ice and in the front offices of North American professional team sports. Summing Up: Recommended. Sports and sports economics collections at all levels. Reprinted with permission from CHOICE, copyright by the American Library Association.

About the Author

David J. Berri is associate professor of economics at Southern Utah University. He has written extensively on sports economics for academic journals, newspapers, and magazines, including The New York Times.

Martin B. Schmidt, professor of economics at the College of William and Mary, specializes in sports economics and macroeconomics. His writing has appeared in the field’s leading academic and general interest journals, including The New York Times.

Berri and Schmidt coauthored The Wages of Wins and maintain a popular blog, The Wages of Wins Journal, which discusses the economics of sports decision-making (dberri.wordpress.com).


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Overall, this book is a fascinating read for any thinking sports fan.
Howard Goldowsky
The first extended example claims to prove that shooting percentage in basketball is a better indication of player talent than points scored.
Aaron C. Brown
It's not that it's hard to read; in fact, the authors are very good at making statistical analysis accessible to the layman.
L. F. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is disappointing and I don't recommend it, either for sports fans or anyone with an interest in the growing and substantial research on fallibilities in human judgment, decision making and use of information. Its basic point is one that is well established, that conventional measures of performance in professional sports are misleading predictors of future performance; examples are pitchers' ERAs and NBA points per game. It repeats the many-times made observations about how often NFL first round quarterback draft picks are bombs. That's well presented and thoroughly documented but in more detail than the use of the findings warrants. Its main point is that overreliance on the wrong data leads to bad economic decisions by managers who should know better. I don't recall any item in the analysis that has not been covered elsewhere. Examples here are: (1) Field managers and coaches in baseball, football and basketball have little impact on team performance, (2) Statistically, it makes sense to go for it on fourth down, (3) Trading up to get a high draft pick is generally a bad deal, economically and in terms of finding the best talent, (4) NBA draft position is a poor predictor of career performance, (5) The NBA "hot hands" streaks are a myth and (6) Isiah Thomas was a truly, truly lousy general manager of the Knicks. Agreed. Agreed.
The main weakness of the book seems to me that it largely relies on data about individual performance for its core evidence and though it alludes to the context of teams, it is very univariate in its analysis. The authors emphasize this but only in a single footnote. (The regression-based methodology examines only the strength of the linear relationship between two independent variables.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bottomofthe9th on December 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting in parts, but this is obviously a blog converted into a book, rather than content so substantive that it was suited to a book. Most of the inefficiencies discussed are relatively common knowledge by now among statistics-savvy fans, although I did think the analysis on how kickers' value comes more from their kickoffs than field goals was interesting and new.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By yliebermann on December 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book struggles to find its depth. One paragraph presumes you've got a well-rounded understanding of statistics, then the next gets completely hand-wavey with the numbers and equations. For example, there are multiple "tables" of which factors are relevant to success in a particular field, but they're merely divided into "significant" and "insignificant"--no figures to speak of, excepting the one or two that inadvertently sneak into the surrounding text.

The major points of the book are superficial. They spend a chapter regurgitating the Moneyball thesis. Then they argue that in basketball shooting efficiency is more important than points scored, even though the latter tends to get guys paid. Well-trod ground. The authors spill a lot of ink pretending their thesis is whether or not the people running sports franchises make good decisions or not, but apart from Moneyball (which no longer works because the inefficiency has been eliminated) and Isaiah Thomas (nuff said) they fail to even attempt an argument either way.

There's an appendix devoted to explaining why the NFL Quarterback Rating is a flawed measure of a quarterback, because it only measures passing. Yeah, that's because it's actually called the PASSER RATING. Understanding things like this should be a requirement for calling into a talk radio program, let alone writing a book about sports analysis.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Greenbaum VINE VOICE on August 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Stumbling On Wins" is a very entertaining book - it essentially takes a statistical, economic approach to sports in an attempt to answer common barroom debates such as which coaches are the best and do things like streaks and hot hands really exist.

This approach to sports isn't new - baseball has been stat-crazy for years, and "Moneyball" took it to the next level by providing (sometimes surprising) statistical value to various aspects of the sport. "Stumbling On Wins" expands the formula to other sports, such as pro basketball and football to answer questions about the real value of coaches and players.

The book is filled with nuggets of interesting data that have the potential to change how you look at sports. For example, in professional football, kickers really do matter (not terribly surprising) but what is surprising is that their skill on kickoffs is actually more valuable to a team then their field goal accuracy. Sound crazy? Well, there's stats to back it up.

Other areas of interest in the book cover things like the relative value of various pro athletes (underpaid and overpaid) which are always fun to debate, and especially for basketball fans, a baseball-level-geekery of analysis which is eye-opening to say the least (hint: rebounds are more important then you think.)

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in pro sports, from the casual fan to the fanatic. It is an enjoyable, fairly quick read and like the best books, it challenges how you think.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In their book Stumbling On Wins, economists David J. Berri and Martin B. Schmidt show their readers how statistics might be used to help make decisions in professional sports. They highlight situations where an in depth look at the numbers challenges conventional wisdom and show how commonly quoted statistics, such as batting averages and earned run averages, have little to do with a player or team's success. Overall, they do a good job of bringing to light how 'conventional wisdom' in sports leads to bad decision making and are able to do this in layman's terms. They also suggest new metrics that have more validity to replace the old ones. At times, however, they seem to dumb things down just a little too much and simply present series after series of conclusions without much in the way of explanation. But more often than not their conclusions still fly in the face of our expectations and--at least for someone like me who is new to this way of thinking--makes for an interesting read.

Before I begin, let me just say that this is my kind of book about sports. Having a 'deletion in the sports gene,' I have little patience for sitting through a game of football, baseball, or basketball and have never regularly follow any teams. Having a son, however, changed all of this for me. He grew up loving to play anything that involved a ball or a puck and at the age of 5 would even sit rapt attention watching a golf match on TV. Sports fascinated him. They were part of his inner fabric and as a father I had to adjust and become part of something alien to me. So I tried to latch on to some aspect of the game that seemed to make sense--the numbers. I would look at the stats and try to predict what a player or a team might do or guess at how coaching decisions should be made.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search