Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski
Anything interesting to read comes in the market about football(or soccer) and being a football fan, it’s like a love at first sight. Soccernomics is the first book that tries to data-mine most of the haughty topics in football. Two authors tries to pair football and statistics and seem very fond of proving themselves by applying some methods which in the end might turn out (or in some case did turn out) right. Majority of the book focuses on big events like FIFA World Cup and European Football Championship.
The book is framed chapter by chapter in the form of multiple questions. The authors then to answer these questions, use game results, demographic studies, attendance statistics, and other statistical stuff to prove their predictions and shows the fans of football a new way to think about the world’s most ‘beautiful game’. Though some fans might not agree with the book and still like to believe in that anything can happen in the game, still it’s good to read the book. Football is a game of numbers after-all, the history, the number of trophies, the money, the fans, the attendance of the stadium everything is in the form of a number.
The authors discuss why England, the creator of soccer, isn’t dominating the field. They illustrate penalty kicks as a psychological treasure trove for the study of game theory. Then they explain about where the word SOCCER comes from, about how relocating a player from one country to another can affect his career. There’s a chapter that discusses how hosting a large sporting event, such as the 2016 Olympics, can be economically damaging to a country but a boon to the happiness of its inhabitants. They also explain how can why the US, Japan, Turkey, Australia, and Iraq can become the kings of the world’s most popular sport.
I though, do not agree with them over the last point and their ideology of expressing everything in football through statistics. I still believe anything can happen in those ninety minutes. After all, ‘Football, bloody hell’.
It’s good book and a must read for any football(or soccer) fan for it spotlights some amazing facts and shows a new perspective of the game.
3/5 from me.