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Soccernomics [Paperback]

Simon Kuper , Stefan Szymanski
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.79 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

24 May 2012

At last, football has its answer to Freakonomics, The Tipping Point and The Undercover Economist.

Why do England lose?”
“Why do Germany & Brazil Win?”
“How have Spain conquered the World?”
"Penalties - what are they good for?"
“What is the price on achieving success and the true cost of failure?”

These are questions every football fan has asked. Soccernomics (previously published as Why England Lose) answers them. Written with an economist's brain and a football writer's skill, it applies high-powered analytical tools to everyday football topics.

Soccernomics isn't in the first place about money. It's about looking at data in new ways. It's about revealing counterintuitive truths about football. It explains all manner of things about the game which newspapers just can't see. It all adds up to a new way of looking at football, beyond clichés about "The Magic of the FA Cup", "England's Shock Defeat" and "Newcastle's New South American Star".

No training in economics is needed to read Soccernomics but the reader will come out of it with a better understanding not just of football, but of how economists think and what they know.

Frequently Bought Together

Soccernomics + The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Football is Wrong + Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Price For All Three: 23.57

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperSport (24 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007457847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007457847
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘an Arsène Wenger of a book – more thoughtful than most of its rivals and, by football standards, positively intellectual.' The Times

‘Soccernomics is the intellectual's guide to football, written for the layman. No matter what nation, club (or even sport, really) you support, you'll walk away from this book with an insightful new point of view that will cause you to never look at the game quite the same way again.’ Bleacher Report

‘…the author Simon Kuper and the economist Stefan Szymanski do for soccer what “Moneyball” did for baseball.’ New York Times

‘Every page engages, entertains and challenges the lazy assumptions that still dominate football, not merely in its punditry, but all too often in the way that clubs are run.' FourFourTwo

From the Back Cover

‘Compulsive reading’
Daily Telegraph

Does hosting a sports tournament make people happier?
Which country has the most passionate fans?
Is English football racist?
Can football really save lives?

Football truly is the world game, followed in over 200 countries by hundreds of millions of people who each pour their heart and soul into supporting their team every week.

But now an economist and sportswriter have joined forces to bypass the heart and soul and apply their heads to the game, testing the received wisdom and challenging the assumptions of a sport that is quite literally a matter of life and death for some. Forget what you know about football and prepare to question every aspect of the culture surrounding the Beautiful Game.

Soccernomics is the fully revised and updated edition of Why England Lose, with new chapters on football finances and the rise of Spain as the pre-eminent team of our times. Using hard fact and statistics to cut through emotive cliché and outmoded thinking, Soccernomics not only sheds light upon football, it illuminates much about the world we live in now.

‘Takes the breath away’

‘More thoughtful than most of its rivals and, by football standards, positively intellectual.’
The Times

‘Freakonomics for football’

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By Fraser the Frank Fish VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the US version of "Why England Lose: and Other Curious Phenomena Explained", with some small differences; the chapter on the FA Cup is replaced by one comparing Association Football with American Football, and the language is americanised. Anyway here's my review based on the English version.

I've read quite a bit of S&K's work as part of my MSc and although I don't necessarily always, or indeed often, agree with their reasoning, they do make interesting points. "Why England Lose..." is a departure into the mainstream from their early, more academic work and judging from the jaunty tone of the book they had great fun writing it, and aimed at rattling some cages along the way.

However, to appeal to a wider audience much of the academic rigour which I would normal associate with S&K is abandoned and conclusions are reached on some rather shallow arguments. A reader not familiar with the use and misuse of statistics should bear in mind that correlation does not constitute causality, and that if at first your stats don't support your hypothesis you can normally rummage around for some that do. This is not knocking S&K in any way and I wouldn't suggest that S&K have done this at all, but academic bias is a common phenomenon and often hard to resist.

Two chapters of the books were particularly interesting - one, regarding the nature of fandom, for its mythbusting and the second, regarding the inherent racism in the game, for perpetuating a flawed myth.

In drawing attention to the nature of a fan and the churn of fans at particular clubs, S&K have aimed a strong, square kick at the goolies of one of the game's sacred cows, and about time too. I'm fed up being told by people how they've followed Chelsea/Man Utd since before they were good.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Statistics is not the Greek left back. 2 July 2012
By russell clarke TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Andrew Lang once opined "An unsophisticated forecaster uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts - for support rather than for illumination", while Mark Twain said "Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable." That said this updated version of "Why England Lose " by sportswriter Simon Kuper and economist Stefan Szymanski makes some very interesting and salient points .I would go as far as to say it is essential reading for anyone seriously interested in the beautiful game.
This book uses the concepts and approaches discussed in Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game as well as Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything and transfers ( on a Bosman free no doubt ) them over to the world of football. And thus they come to the conclusion that wages more than transfers dictate whether a teams is successful or not. That mangers have little impact on a teams performance , that penalties have little impact on results ( try telling that to England ) and that the nation most obsessed with Football is ahem( spoiler here folks ) Norway.
The book also casts a more predictive global eye on the game and predicts that future super powers of the game may not come from where we expect. It also explains brilliantly how Spain have come to rule the football roost.
There is also some startling data that shows that given certain criteria ( Population , income per head and experience ) that the England football team are actually overachieving slightly .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soccernomics for the true fan 15 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent book giving the other side of football off the pitch.
Detailed analysis and controversial comment always good for a football fan.
would recommend it to any one interested in football.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly awesome melding of football and numbers... 30 Jan 2013
By Robbie Swale VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I think this is almost certainly the best football book I've ever read, just beating Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics: A History of Football Tactics. It's superbly written, the stats, economics and research are well considered and convincing, and overall it's a compelling page-turner of a book.

First, let's set the scene - it's perhaps not surprising that I like this book so much. I have about three hobbies, the main one of which is watching and reading about football. I've been entirely seduced by the Football Weekly/Jonathan Wilson/Blizzard culture of 'thinking people's football'. Not only that, but I'm a maths graduate, and pretty much the only bit of that that has survived my graduation is my love for statistics. So in some ways a book on football, trying to get into the numbers to destroy or confirm the myths around it - and that's essentially what Soccernomics is - sounds perfect for me.

But having said that, I'm not normally a great reader of non-fiction: I need to be engrossed and entertained. And here I truly was.

The book is written by a partnership - Simon Kuper, a journalist, and Stefan Szymanski, an economist - and it is clearly a partnership that works really well. The writing is so accessible, and the skill in presenting what are at times quite complex statistical and economic theories is clear. But that doesn't mean they've watered down the maths - my feeling is that the numbers here make sense, and follow through, and are well thought out. The writers are also open and clear about when and where they are making assumptions, which is a really great demonstration of the thoroughness of the work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and bored.
Sorry, but just found it boring, repetitive and not overly interesting. Whilst trying hard to enjoy I just found myself thinking 'I don't care about such a stat, and such a stat... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Martinbr002
5.0 out of 5 stars Great alternative view of a shared passion
Ideas, clear prose and a genuine love of the game make this a must read for all football fans. Too few people understand the role that economics plays in our lives. Read more
Published 1 month ago by debcwise
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST BOOK BY FAR
One of the greatest books I've ever read, if not THE best book!! Amazing not just for me, an economics student, but easily accessible for anyone else! Read more
Published 4 months ago by Pritesh Patel
4.0 out of 5 stars Super book .
This is a must book for any true football fan . Who just watches to enjoy the game . The book makes a lot of sense and will enhance any true fans understanding of the game .
Published 5 months ago by paul murphy
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read but narrow analysis of statistics
Good interesting with some known interpretations of statistics along with some new analysis. However, far too skewed to sell their specific points of views. Read more
Published 5 months ago by RP
5.0 out of 5 stars astonishing!
Really enjoyed this book. A complete revelation. One I'd recommend to others even if only to reduce the number of blond players being signed!
Published 6 months ago by John Alder
5.0 out of 5 stars Changes the way you think about football
Soccernomics is a rare book in that it successfully challenges many preconceptions around the beautiful game and has the statistics and research to back it up. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Matt Woodall
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but stats can get mindnumbing
The first few chapters were very interesting, and taught me some things about football i would never have spotted. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr Andrew Lahan
4.0 out of 5 stars The Unseen Side of Sport - an Economic Examination
Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski in collaboration is a book combining the worlds of football and economics - two concepts taking the word `phenomenon' to the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Ross Lawson
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for the intelligent football fan.
After hearing a lot about this book from various friends, I finally took the plunge and bought it- and what a purchase. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jamie D
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