Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Spain, Germany, and Brazil Win, and Why the US, Japan, Australia, Turkeyand Even IraqAre Destined to Become the Kings of the Worlds Most Popular Sport Paperback – May 1 2012
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"If you're a football fan, I'll save you some time: read this book ... compulsive reading ... thoroughly convincing."
"Szymanksi has recently published the best introduction to sports economics ... while Kuper is probably the smartest of the new generation of super-smart sportswriters ... fascinating stories."
"[Kuper and Szymanski] basically trash every cliché about football you ever held to be true. It's bravura stuff the study of managers buying players and building a club is one you’ll feel like photocopying and sending to your team's chairman"
Paddy Harverson, former communications director of Manchester United, Financial Times
"Demolishes ... many soccer shibboleths ... well argued, too. Szymanski, an economist, knows his stuff, and Kuper, a born contrarian and FT sports writer, is incapable of cliché ... great stories and previously unknown nuggets."
"One for the thinkers"
"More thoughtful than most of its rivals and, by football standards, postively intellectual ... Kuper, a brilliantly contrary columnist, and Szymanski, an economics professor ... find plenty of fertile territory in their commendable determination to overturn the lazy preconceptions rife in football."
"Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski are a highly effective and scrupulously rational team, combining the former's detailed and nuanced understanding of European football with the latter's sophisticated econometric analysis. With a remarkable lightness of touch, they desmonstrate the limits of conventional thinking in football, as well as the real patterns of behaviour that shape sporting outcomes."
About the Author
Stefan Szymanski is Professor of Economics and MBA Dean at Cass Business School in London. Tim Harford has called him one of the world’s leading sports economists”. Stefan has a global reputation, and has published in the Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Economic Literature and Economic Journal. He has also co-authored two books: Winners and Losers: The Business Strategy of Football and National Pastime: How Americans Play Baseball and the Rest of the World Plays Soccer. His next book, Fans of the World; Unite!, co-authored with Steve Ross and dealing with the reform of US sports leagues, will be published by Stanford University Press in autumn 2008. He has acted as a consultant to government and to several major sports organizations, such as the FIA (motor sport), UEFA (football) and ICC (cricket). He lives in London, UK.
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It also uses statistics to reveal the social unity that soccer fosters. I was very moved by the chapter that focuses on suicide and fandom (and club loyalty at large).
Please do not be scared away by the word "statistics". I hate math as much if not more than anyone. This book is extremely accessible to the average reader, but still deep enough to pique intellectual curiosity.
In short, Soccernomics is an absolute must-read if you are a soccer fan, period.
I'm an old guy and have followed and played all of the "Big Four" American sports: baseball, football, basketball and hockey. I'm relatively new to soccer. Thanks to modern media I am now able to watch many English Premier League, La Liga and Serie A games each week.
Read the entire title of the book. If you are a soccer fan, don't you find that title enticing? And trust me, the authors do take great pains to answer all of the "why's" listed in their title!
This book is written from a British perspective and contains tons of insightful information, statistics and history. They take a lot of shots at the EPL because that is probably the league with which they are most familiar. We are told that in many ways the EPL is mired in hidebound tradition and management stupidity, and this has translated into a lack of success for the English national team. Most soccer fans, even the 'knowledgeable' English fans, consider England's World Cup failures every four years to be 'unfortunate' or 'unfair'. This book deflates that notion, and explains why those underwhelming performances by the Brits are not surprising at all. Quite the contrary, England's failures are to be expected.
Of course, baseball is THE sport for those who love statistics. If you are a baseball fan who is curious about soccer or is a fan of the sport, you will probably love this book, because it is crammed with statistical analysis of all kinds. Bill James and Sabermetrics, Moneyball and the Oakland A's are frequently cited throughout. But while it is relatively easy to look at statistics and physical tests to determine if a baseball player possesses the coveted 'five tools' (hit, hit with power, run, field, throw), it's not so easy with soccer players.
Another great thing about the book is that each chapter covers a separate topic, and the chapters are not sequential, so you can skip around and still glean useful info and facts. I agree with many of the Amazon reviewers in that you might not find all of the subjects particularly riveting, but that is OK.
The book if full of humor, irony and surprising facts. Who knew that Olympique Lyon is a French club which the authors point to as the epitome of a well-run professional sports franchise? Who knew that, based upon exhaustive statistics, Norway is considered the #1 sports country in the world? Who knew that richer countries always do better in sports? And who knew that the adage "Gentlemen Prefer Blonds" is a false and dangerous belief when it comes to the evaluation of soccer talent? All of this is explained and proven in this great book.