The 2018 World Cup edition of the international bestseller and "the most intelligent book ever written about soccer" (San Francisco Chronicle) is updated throughout and features new chapters on the FIFA scandal, why Iceland wins, and women's soccer.
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Guardian, Slate, Financial Times, Independent (UK), and Bloomberg News
Written with an economist's brain and a soccer writer's skill, Soccernomics applies high-powered analytical tools to everyday soccer topics, looking at data and revealing counterintuitive truths about the world's most beloved game. It all adds up to a revolutionary new approach that has helped change the way the game is played.
This World Cup edition features ample new material, including fresh insights into FIFA's corruption, the surge in domestic violence during World Cups, and Western Europe's unprecedented dominance of global soccer.
|Edition description:||2018 World Cup Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.12(h) x 1.25(d)|
About the Author
Simon Kuper is one of the world's leading writers on soccer. The winner of the William Hill Prize for sports book of the year in Britain, Kuper writes a weekly column for the Financial Times. He lives in Paris, France.
Stefan Szymanski is the Stephen J. Galetti Collegiate Professor of Sport Management at the University of Michigan's School of Kinesiology. Tim Harford has called him "one of the world's leading sports economists." He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Table of Contents
1 Driving with a Dashboard: In Search of New Truths About Soccer 1
Part I The Clubs
Racism, Stupidity, Bad Transfers, Capital Cities, the Leicester Fairy Tale, and What Actually Happened in That Penalty Shoot-Out in Moscow.
2 Gentlemen Prefer Blonds: How to Avoid Silly Mistakes in the Transfer Market 13
3 The Worst Business in the World: Why Soccer Clubs Haven't Made Money 56
4 Safer than the Bank of England: Why Soccer Clubs Almost Never Disappear 79
5 Crooked Business: Soccer's Corruption and the History of Tech 89
6 A Decent Business at Last? Be Careful What You Wish For 104
7 Need Not Apply: Does Soccer Discriminate Against Black People? 121
8 Do Coaches Matter? The Cult of the White Manager 138
9 The Secret of Claude Makelele: How "Match Data" Are Changing the Game on the Field 165
10 The Economist's Fear of the Penalty Kick: Are Penalties Cosmically Unfair, or Only If You Are Nicolas Anelka? 194
11 The Suburban Newsagents: City Sizes and Soccer Prizes 216
Part II The Fans
Loyalty, Suicides, and Happiness
12 A Fan's Suicide Notes: Do People Jump Off Buildings When Their Teams Lose? 241
13 Happiness: Why Hosting a World Cup Is Good for You 256
14 Football versus Football: A Tale of Two Empires 279
15 Are Soccer Fans Polygamists? A Critique of the Nick Hornby Model of Fandom 305
Part III Countries
Rich and Poor, Tom Thumb, England, Spain, Palestine, and the Champions of the Future
16 The Curse of Poverty: Why Poor Countries Are Poor at Sports 325
17 Why England Loses and Other Europeans Win: Beaten by a Dishwasher 346
18 Made in Amsterdam: The Rise of Spain and the Triumph of European Knowledge Networks 396
19 Tom Thumb: The Best Little Soccer Country on Earth 410
20 Core to Periphery: The Future Map of Global Soccer 427
21 The Future: The Best of Times-and the Smartphone 449
Notes from the Authors 461
Select Bibliography 465
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This is an honest review.* I am marginally a soccer fan. I used to follow the English Premiership very closely when I was in high school and college, and I always get excited for the World Cup. These days, I tend to mostly get reinvested in soccer during US qualifying for the World Cup (sigh) through the World Cup and just kind of casually absorb other games from time to time. That said, this book is coming out right at a time that my interest in the soccer is beginning to ramp up again. Soccernomics is written by a sports economist and journalist who attempt to take an economic approach of examining various topics in soccer. I think that the two authors do a really nice job balancing each other and being upfront about when they have disagreements or biases (this second point being especially important since, in a lot of ways, the book is trying to remove biases from the equation). The book spends a lot of time focusing on the traditional economics of the sport, like how clubs can make money and how money is spent in the transfer windows (as you would expect from title). These discussions are interesting to a degree, and if you are really interested in economics, then this would be quite a strength of the book. However, with few exceptions, I found these parts of the book to be the least interesting. Besides having some clever ways of explaining how important players are, or going into the process by which a lot of decisions are made in the transfer markets, I found myself often skimming past some of the more intense sections of these parts of the book. Now the above may make it seem like I did not enjoy the book, but the truth is where I think the book really shines is by using economics/statistics to analyze things that are completely outside the “economy” of soccer in terms of the money spent. When the book attempts to answer questions like: Is soccer statistically racist? or What effect do clubs have on fans? (and vice versa) it is at its strongest and most interesting, in my opinion. These are topics that I think the average soccer fan has thought about a lot but may not have had a way to think about it in any sort of objective way. Being able to see information that, at times, confirms gut instincts and, at other times, exposes them was something that I thoroughly enjoyed throughout my read. While the book does try to focus on soccer as a global game, I will just add a warning that there is an inordinate focus on the English Premiership for examples and data. It is not exclusive and I think that the authors do a good job explaining the important information of whatever examples they bring up, but I think to get the most out of the book, you would need to have at least a minor familiarity with the English Premiership and Leagues in general. This is somewhat less true in the last section that focuses on the World Cup. Overall, the book was a really interesting read and I would recommend it as an excellent tool to satisfy any craving for soccer material you may have (in the lead to a World Cup, like myself, or otherwise).