- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Bold Type Books; 3 edition (April 22, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1568584814
- ISBN-13: 978-1568584812
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews: 217 customer ratings
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #426,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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 Worlds Most Popular Sport Paperback – April 22, 2014
There is a newer edition of this item:
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
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 ”
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
About the Author
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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.
Top international reviews
However this book is a cut above the rest, recommended by a chap who wrote an excellent piece about a Moneyball themed Football Manager career. Inspired by this book he wrote the column. And what a recommendation it was!
This will lay down your previous conceptions about football, the myths that football is big business (its not), and lots more interesting things that you weren't aware of - or hadn't looked into.
I cant rate this more highly as the scoring system only goes upto five stars....really a six or ten would justify this.
The authors have used statistical analysis in many areas related to football, such as penalty shots, manager impact, fan loyalty, most football-crazy country and the transfer market. It could have been a rather dry book, but it is not. There are so many interesting observations and conclusions in the chapters, and the writing is top-notch.
I particularly liked the chapter on which city teams have been successful in the European Cup. In it, the authors point out that teams that have been dominating are all from provincial cities, like Manchester, Barcelona, Munich, Marseille and Milan. For the most parts, the capitals have not done so well. As they write: the town of Nottingham still has more trophies – two – than London, Paris, Istanbul, Berlin and Moscow combined. The explanation they offer is that a lot of people moved to industrial towns a century ago, and one thing that united them was football. The capitals on the other hand had many other things to unite them, and did not need football in the same way. This pattern of which cities have the most successful football teams is rather obvious to me once it has been pointed out, yet I never made the connection myself before I read Soccernomics.
I also really liked the chapter on penalty taking. They write about the 2008 Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester United that was decided on penalties. Chelsea had access to research about which side Van der Sar usually was diving to, depending on if the penalty taker was right-footed or left-footed. In the end, Van der Sar figured out the system Chelsea was using, and saved the last penalty to win the game for Manchester United. There are many more examples in this chapter on the use of statistics for penalty taking, and it is fascinating reading.
The chapter towards the end of the book on the rise of Spanish football was also very interesting. The authors’ thesis on why some countries are more successful in football than others is that the connected-ness and exchange of ideas between countries is the most important factor. Spain is an interesting example. In the 1970s, when Spain became more open, there was a heavy Dutch influence (Johan Cruijff, Rinus Michels) that proved very beneficial for Spanish football. The chapter does a very good tracing and analysing this development.
These were three chapters that stood out for me, but that doesn’t mean the others were bad. I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. My only little quibble is that when analysing the importance of the manager for a team, they concluded that it is quite rare that they have a big impact – team results are mostly determined by the quality of the players, with a few notable exceptions such as Alex Ferguson. But in the chapter on the English national team, they conclude that they have performed better with a foreign manager than with local manager. This seems a bit contradictory to me, but perhaps I misunderstood.
All in all though, a really great book. I have recommended it to everybody I know that is interested in football.
The start of the book was very engrossing, especially for someone like myself who is not a soccer fan. It coupled fact-based presentation with insight and analysis using an economist's viewpoint. (e.g. why clubs cannot make a profit etc.).
Unfortunately, they ran out of steam and in the second half the analysis disappeared completely and was replaced with simple presentation of facts and statistics.... I found myself paging on faster and faster and then didn't bother with the last few chapters.
One of this book's biggest achievements must be FIFA's new penalty system of ABBA - as this book showed that the current ABAB system is rigged 60% in favour of the team that takes the first penalty.
The book is hugely informative, yet synthesised in such a way that keeps the reader interested and wanting more.
Some great anecdotes within the book, and as a Chelsea fan, the chapter on penalties and game theory was a treat.
A must read for any well-informed football fan, and highly recommended.