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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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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
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
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 ”
Soccernomics tackles the soccer world’s most probing questions with a dispassionate analysis based on economic formulas, which separate fact from accepted-as-fact myths perpetuated by legions of fans.”
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Highlights include memorable tidbits about key personalities -- you'll get your fill of anecdotes about Johan Cruijff (though if Dutch football is your passion, there are other, better books). But if you're a U.S. fan of Major League Soccer, you will find little about that league's financial shell games. The authors dismiss MLS as boring, allegedly because the teams are too balanced, possibly because the transactions tend to involve numbers that are orders of magnitude lower than those of European and EPL teams, and maybe because they're Eurosnobs. That's ok. They aren't very kind to MLS, but they don't devote much space to insulting it either.
Summary: if you're at all interested in the economics of soccer, you'll find some captivating material in this book. Once it starts to drag, you can begin skimming. You'll still walk away with some stats with which you can regale your soccer-loving friends over a beer as you commiserate about your cheapskate (MLS) club's fifth consecutive loss.
This book walked a right balance between funny description of soccer history (mainly European side) and data-driver conclusion on several myths, although most league-related data are from English Premier League. The conclusions on transfer market, profit of hosting a World Cup, even fan psychology (esp. related to suicide) are worth reading, but being a data analyst myself, I would like to caution the certainty of any form of regression analysis. It also gave a good history on how data mindset is slowly getting into the soccer field - much like MoneyBall in MLB.
The most useful and solid country-related conclusion: England should never lament itself as "underachiever" - which is actually some residual of the "imperial manifest destiny" complex. Instead, it should go into any tournament understanding it is a second-tier team, if not 3rd-tier. The recent EURO 2016 also testified this conclusion: England was beaten by Iceland in the Round of 16.
Highly recommend for readers who would like to know more about soccer, fans and countries, esp. those with basic literacy of advanced mathematics. I did check FIFA and UEFA websites while reading to see if they have data analysts vacancy open :-)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Had to read it for a class, but loved it! I'm not too into soccer, but the economic side of it is fascinatingPublished 1 day ago by M-Swagger
Kuper and Szymanski subject football to rigorous economic and statistical analysis. The book is really eye-opening and entertaining at the same time. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Grouchy Smurf
In Soccernomics Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski (“K&S”) analyze the business of soccer using statistics. Read morePublished 5 months ago by David Lindsay
The book was for my college economics major, soccer playing daughter. She loves it! I accidentally ordered 2. The problem was resolved immediately.Published 6 months ago by Jeanne Meyer