- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Nation Books; 1 edition (Oct. 27 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1568584253
- ISBN-13: 978-1568584256
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.1 x 21 cm
- Shipping Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #342,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey - and Even Iraq - Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport Paperback – Oct 27 2009
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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"
About the Author
Simon Kuper is one of the world’s leading writers on soccer. His bookSoccer Against the Enemy won the William Hill Prize for sports book of the year in Britain. He writes a weekly sports column in theFinancial Times. He lives in Paris.
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.” Szymanski lives in London.
Top customer reviews
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After reading through the book, I can safely say Soccernomics is fantastic and a must-read for any soccer fan! Stefan Szymanski lives up to his billing as a top sports economist with thorough detail and Kuper fits the part with his commentary including tidbits of witty humour. Correlating statistical analysis with any sport is extremely difficult because you are attempting to satisfy the common reader without flattening the economic methodology. Kuper is to-the-point and articulate in his arguments. Most importantly, he does not make an argument, and then uses statistics to back up his perspective. Rather, he reads through the information, recognizes patterns, and creates a formula. Several fascinating chapters include Core to the Periphery (Guus Hiddink) and why England loses.
Despite the many positives, there are some flaws. At times, the economic analysis is overwhelming and seems suited more for a peer-reviewed journal than a book for the common consumer. As well, some of the variables are far too large (population, income etc) and rarely include common competing variables (other popular sports etc). Furthermore, Kuper is well-travelled and could integrate more of his personal experiences to add some `spice' to the arguments (Hiddink is an excellent example but we also know how he has done speeches at Fenerbahçe Spor Kulübü.
All in all, an excellent book and I would highly recommend it.
You may not agree with all of their conclusions (i.e., economic might + large population base = soccer success) but they do make strong arguments and give soccer fans a better, and more modern, way of looking at the sport. I don't really get their referencing the Moneyball approach done by the Oakland A's GM Billy Beane in baseball as a comparison. As anyone who has read Michael Lewis's excellent book, the theory works better than the actual results (Oakland having made the playoffs previously under Beane's reign failed in the first rd every postseason and the main player held up as an example in Moneyball of Beane's genius made hardly a dent at the MLB level).
Then again that has to be Szymanski who seems obsessed with comparing soccer to baseball. He really needs to get off that jag.
When the economist and the journalist focus exclusively on soccer they do get much of it spot on especially about how World Cup qualifying records having no correlation to World Cup Finals' success or failure, the reasoning behind England's record at tournament play, how penalties are less of a crapshoot than we think and so much more.
As Freakonomics now begat Super Freakonomics, hopefully these two are writing Super Soccernomics as you read this.
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