- Series: Stanford Business Books
- Paperback: 310 pages
- Publisher: Stanford Business Books; 1 edition (September 7, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0804758441
- ISBN-13: 978-0804758444
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,049,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Wages of Wins: Taking Measure of the Many Myths in Modern Sport. Updated Edition (Stanford Business Books) Paperback – September 4, 2007
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From the Inside Flap
In this updated version of their book, these authors explain why Allen Iverson leaving Philadelphia made the 76ers a better team, why the Yankees find it so hard to repeat their success from the late 1990s, and why even great quarterbacks like Brett Favre are consistently inconsistent. The book names names, and makes it abundantly clear that much of the decision making of coaches and general managers does not hold up to an analysis of the numbers. Whether you are a fantasy league fanatic or a casual weekend fan, much of what you believe about sports will change after reading this book.
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Yet, these authors take a start at answering the myths and bombastic statements that surround sports and people's love and affinities for teams and athletes.
Like "Moneyball" proved, people tend to form their opinions from their own experiences in life, and they refuse to look at statistical evidence to support their theories. Yet, these authors utilize stats to show the holes in the myths such as why payroll and wins are highly coorelated, why quarterbacks should be judged by their Super Bowl rings, or why you can't give a true statistical value to basketball players and teams. The authors give solid evidence to support theories such as when the law of diminishing returns really does enter the picture in terms of productivity, why points are overvalued and why Kevin Garnett is the best player in the NBA, and just how valuable a NFL QB really is.
I still believe in the heart of an athlete and the role that a person has within a team. And, I found that the book doesn't give full due to the values of team chemistry, the effects of injuries, or how much value a role player like Manu Ginobili or Ron Harper can derive from other players on their team. However, the book not only makes a solid effort at answering the myths of sport, but I also realized how bizarre the statements and hype delivered by sports blowhards on TV and Talk Radio really are. That's why I give a thumbs-up to this read. The authors put substance behind the bizarre statements made by blow-hards and so-called experts.
Pick this up, and you'll be surprised at how far you'll be in front of the pack. That's a strong value.
This book is written by economists on their analysis in the world of sports. They tried to approach their work similar to the approach that fellow economist Steven Levitt did in his book Freakonomics (co-written with Stephen Dubner). The book is written for the non-economist so there is little math and economic mumbo-jumbo in the text. When the authors cannot get by without mentioning regression analysis or correlation, it does seem they try to explain it clearly with words and not just numbers. Still, this book will be enjoyed more by those that have at least a tiny grasp of these concepts.
The topics that are covered in this book include: the impact of strikes/lockouts in professional sports on fan attendance, competitive balance in major sports leagues, who is better: Shaq or Kobe (the designing of a model to value a NBA players contribution to team wins), and the inconsistency of NFL quarterbacks. A general theme throughout the book is to step away from the long-held beliefs of sports fans and GMs, but to look at issues and problems from an analytical perspective. The results they get from the data are often interesting and different than one would expect.
The topics are thought-provoking (although not always 100% convincing, it does make you think deeply about many issues) and the book is easy to read. The authors' goal of transforming their articles in economics journals into a book for everyone is a success. These economists even inject some humor throughout the book! Overall, I recommend this book to all sports fans, particularly NBA fans.
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