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Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Spain, Germany, and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australiaand Even IraqAre Destined to Become the Kings of the Worlds Most Popular Sport Paperback – April 22, 2014
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This title will be released on April 24, 2018.
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Many explanations [of England's poor form] can be found in the book Soccernomics in a segment entitled Why England Loses.” (This is well worth a read for any English football fan; essentially, you overvalue your football heritage and undervalue the benefits of innovation.)”
Stephen J. Dubner, co-author Freakonomics on the Freakonomics blog
The authors take what everybody' knows about success and failure in soccer and subject it to rigorous empirical analysis embedded in good stories that carry the narrative along Highly recommended. All readers.”
Soccernomics [is] a sharply written and provocative examination of the world's game seen through the prism of economics and statistical data. It demolishes almost everything that most soccer fans believe about the game and how professional soccer teams should operate.”
Globe & Mail (Canada)
"Oh, Rooney's the best. [My son] Ben thinks that England might be in the top four, but that's it. He knows the starting line up of every European team. We're reading this very interesting book about football together, you know Soccernomics."
Lorrie Moore, author of A Gate at the Stairs and Birds of America
Zach Slaton, Forbes (online)
[Q]uite an entertaining read.”
Pro Soccer Talk (NBC Sports blog)
Soccernomics remains essential reading for anyone seeking an analytical take on the game.”
Keeping Score (TIME Soccer Blog)
Soccernomics is the most intelligent book ever written about soccer.”
San Francisco Chronicle
With Soccernomics, the FT's indispensable Simon Kuper and top-flight sports economist Stefan Szymanski bring scrupulous economic analysis and statistical rigor to a sport long dependent on hoary and, it seems, unfounded assumptions Gripping and essential.”
Slate.com, Best Books of 2009
[The book] is a sporting tale in the Freakonomics mode of inquiry, using statistics to come up with fascinating conclusions.”
Independent (UK), Best Books of 2009
[Szymanski and Kuper] entertainingly demolish soccer shibboleths Well argued and clear headed.”
Financial Times, Best Books of 2009
Using data analysis, history and psychology, [Soccernomics] punctures dozens of clichés about what it takes to win, and who makes money in soccer and in sports in general.”
[Kuper and Szymanksi] do for soccer what Moneyball did for baseballput the game under an analytical microscope using statistics, economics, psychology and intuition to try to transform a dogmatic sport.”
New York Times
[A] must read for any fan of the business of soccer ”
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It does have a few problems, and a number of the conclusions the authors reach have gaping logical flaws. Specifically, they spend considerable time (correctly) reminding readers that there is a difference between causation and correlation, yet they proceed to make the exact same mistake on multiple occassions, particularly as relates to salary vs. transfer investment, a core discussion point of the book. They also spend a quite exhaustive (and frankly nauseating) amount of time explicitly making the point that this book is the soccer version of "Moneyball". The entire first chapter is basically a ham-fisted advertisement for this claim.
But those are the complaints. There are many good reasons to read this--- it is engaging in its narrative, and educational even to those already familiar with many of the concepts. And the anecdotal evidence (often a weakness in books of this genre) is actually mouthwateringly good.... many tidbits that simply aren't part of the mainstream coverage of the sport, even for those who geek heavily on soccer blogs.
Probably, this is "must read" if you really study the global game. But you will take umbrage with some of the conclusions. Maybe that's normal-- we all have a unique passion for the beautiful game.
That being said, there are certain chapters of this book that draw conclusions that are either boring, or wrong. For instance, the chapter comparing the parity of the NFL and the EPL draws the conclusion that the NFL and EPL are relatively equal in parity(despite NFL having 12 champions since the EPLs conception and the EPL having 5 champions, and one team with more than half the titles). I had to really force myself through the chapter on which country is most crazed about soccer. I felt that the conclusion was only slightly interesting, and the methodology not interesting whatsoever.
This book is certainly unique, and you can get perspectives that aren't really available elsewhere. I'd reccomend this book if your a big fan of soccer, but if you are just a casual, this book probably doesn't have too much to offer you.