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Beating the Odds: The Hidden Mathematics of Sport Paperback – 11 Aug 2007

3.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 179 pages
  • Publisher: Portico; illustrated edition edition (11 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905798121
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905798124
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 284,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

This book is priceless, even indispensable -- Sunday Telegraph, August 9 2005. This is a light, lovely and well-written book that will reward both sport-lovers and those indifferent to it. With becoming modesty, the authors call it a "dip-in book". It is also more. There is consistent regard for the importance of sport in human history. --The Times, August 18 2007

From the Author

This book is now out of print. A new, updated and redesigned edition was published in 2011 entitled "The Hidden Mathematics of Sport".

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Accessible, interesting and full of historical as well as mathematical curiosities. Was alerted to this book by a good review in The Times. Be warned, this book came out under a different title ('How to Take a Penalty') when it was a hardback so don't buy both books thinking they are different.
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Format: Hardcover
For anyone, like me, who happens to be independently interested in maths and sport, this book is nerd heaven. My personal obsessions are cricket, football and snooker, so I was thrilled to see chapters explaining interesting mathematical facts and approaches to all three of these sports. This is the best 'loo' book you could wish for - and I mean that totally as a compliment!
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Format: Paperback
I found this book after reading a review in The Guardian while doing research - and here is the wisdom of authors and publishers allowing brief reads on Amazon. I read a page, then another, then another and was hooked, I had to have it.
What makes my purchase all the more remarkable is that I have little interest in sport, unless dragged to a match or my country is playing a major match and my mathematical ability is dangerous to put it mildly, but this book has been written so well and is so accessible that I have no hesitation in recommending it for a great few hours weekend reading, a wonderful gift for the sports fanatic in your life and an essential research and resource tool
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Written in a similar vein to Soccernomics, The Numbers Game et al but from a general sports perspective, Eastway and Haigh mix humour and statistics to give an interesting view to the world's most popular pastimes. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
If you like sport and have an interest in the statistics that seem to be produced for pretty much every major event and league then you can't really go wrong with this book. I personally have little interest in most sports, but I do have a mathematical background and that was enough to make the book enjoyable, so you don't necessarily need an interest in both sport and maths. The maths is dealt with in a straightforward manner for non-experts but an appendix gives more details if you want to understand more about the results that are given in the main body of the book.

The book covers all major sports that are played in the UK, as well as mentions of a few others. It's really a series of weakly related observations or notes about various mathematical patterns that are seen in sport. For example, some of the topics covered are:
-The shapes of balls
-Tactics for taking penalties in football
-Interpretation of the forward pass rule in rugby
-Subjective scoring in sports such as figure skating and boxing
-Record breaking
-The influence of winning a coin toss
-Where to aim at a dartboard
-Tactics for serving in tennis
-Angles in snooker
-Scoring systems in different sports and how they influence the results
-How to make sports more exciting

This is probably one of those slightly geeky books that won't appeal to everyone, but if maths and sport are your cup of tea to some extent then you will probably find something interesting here.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a great fan of the authors, having bought six of their books previously. When this arrived today, I was shocked to find that, apart from one amalgamation of two chapters and one new chapter on cheating in sport, plus a few up-datings of references to sporting events since 2007, this is the same book as "How to Take a Penalty" published in 2005 and "Beating the Odds" published in 2007. I did not suffer the indignity of buying the 2005 book, but I did buy both the 2007 and 2011 books.

For some reason, the publishers have rearranged the chapters, so that, for instance, Chapter One in 2007 is now Chapter 6, Chapter 5 has been relegated to Chapter 15 and, somewhat surprisingly, Chapters 5 and 9 have become the new Chapter 7.

I was very disappointed at this sleight-of-hand, and, although the price was not great, feel extremely let down.
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Format: Hardcover
If you like sport and you like numbers then this is the book for you. Intriguing from start to finish. I read it in 3 sessions. The maths is easy to follow and for those who want a bit more depth it is provided at the end.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not the mathematics of sport but the 'statistics of sport' There are, as far as I can see, no formulae to show how or why the values quoted are arrived at. It does not come anywhere near ,the Physics of Ball games, by Daish. Nevertheless there is some interesting material but this is not, in my opinion, for the academically minded.
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