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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 Worl [Anglais] [Broché]

Simon Kuper , Stefan Szymanski


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Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5  58 commentaires
38 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Best. Soccer. Book. Ever. 27 novembre 2009
Par Paul Allaer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Simon Kuper is the long-time weekly sports columnist in the Financial Times, and he is one of the reasons I so look forward to reading the Weekend Edition of the pink paper. When I saw that he had authored a new book about soccer, and then saw more details about what the book would be about, I knew I just had to have it and ordered it here on Amazon at a very purchase-friendly price.

"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" (336 pages) is co-written by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, a British economist. An economist, you might ask? Yes indeed, as this book brings a fascinating look into the numbers of soccer. Here a couple of quotes from the book:

-- "In 2002 everyone knew that the obscure, bucktoothed Brazilian kid Ronaldinho must have lucked out with the free kick that sailed into England's net, because he couldn't have been good enough to place it deliberately." (commenting on the English belief of freakish bad luck for their national team).

-- "Our finding: England in the 1980-2001 period outscored its opponents by 0.84 goals per game. That was 0.21 more than we had predicted based on the country's resources. In short, England was not underperforming at all. Contrary to popular opinion, it was over-performing."

-- "Soccer is not only small business business. It's also a bad one. Anyone who spends any time inside soccer discovers that just as oil is part of the oil business, stupidity is part of the soccer business."

-- "Provincial towns like Nottingham, Glasgow, Dortmund, Birmingham or Rotterdam all have won European Cups, while the seven biggest metropolitan areas in Europe--Istanbul, Paris, Moscow, London, St. Petersburg, Berlin and Athens--never have. This points to an odd connection between city size, capital cities and soccer success."

-- "Against all evidence, the stereotype persists that the typical British fan is a full-on Hornby."

-- "Staging a World Cup won't make you rich, but it does tend to cheer you up." (commenting on, among other things, the bogus arguments that staging a large sports event brings significant positive economic consequences for the host).

But if there is only one chapter that I had to pick out from this book, hands down it is "The Economist's Fear of the Penalty Kick", an absolute riveting look at the scientific side of the dreaded penalty kick. Using the analysis developed in game theory, the authors examine how penalty kicks are taken (by the kicker) and defended (by the keeper). It culminates with an in-depth analysis of the Manchester United-Chelsea penalty shoot-out at the 2008 CHampions League final. "Then, in what must have been a chilling moment for Anelka, the Dutch [keeper] pointed with with his left hand to the left corner. 'That's where you're all putting it, isn't it?' he seemed to be saying. Now Anelka had a terrible dilemma. This was game theory in its rawest form". (You'll have to read the rest of it yourself...)

Of all the books on soccer that I have read in my life time, I cannot recall being more enthralled and entertained than by this book. This is a page-turner from start to finish, and for me one of the very best books of the year, sports or otherwise. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
30 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting / Boring / Fascinating 31 décembre 2009
Par D. M. Kemp - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat authentifié par Amazon
I was made aware of this book when I heard one of the authors give an interview. Many of the topics in the interview weren't in the book, but a host of other areas where. The book is easy to read and well researched. However, it is very much written from a British point of view - so don't let the Americanized title of Soccernomics fool you. It mainly appears to be a book that hopes to explain to the English that they are not the most rabid fans nor the best players of the game they invented 150 years ago.

Some of the chapters were so absolutely fascinating, I couldn't stop reading. Other chapters were so ultimately boring that I skipped them. The good thing is that you can skip around and read each chapter independently without really losing any overall scope of the book.

Even though I didn't agree with some the conclusions and read the data differently, I certainly feel much more knowledgeable about the current game and how we got here. If you are a fan of soccer, you should seriously consider this fact-filled book. It will make for great discussions around the TV during next summer's World Cup.
26 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent Read and Offers Surprise Truths About The World's Game 21 novembre 2009
Par Laurence Zimmerman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Offers some very interesting insights into the world of soccer. While some compare it to Michael Lewis's "Moneyball", it differs in that "Moneyball" deals more with baseball at the micro level, while "Soccernomics" deals with soccer at a macro level. There is a lot of statistical analysis of national teams, but no analysis of individual players. In essence this is one of the difficulties of soccer, as it does not naturally lend itself to extreme statistical analysis like baseball does.

My main argument with the book is that it treats the NFL as the US's main export sport. While the NFL is undoubtedly the most popular league in the United States, this is a recent phenomenon. Baseball has traditionally been "America's Past Time" and thus is the sport that the United States spread around the world, although not to the same level that the English spread soccer.

One analysis that I wanted to read about was the success of Latin American teams. In particular an analysis of Mexico and Brazil. Both countries are soccer crazy and have very large populations, but Brazil has won five World Cups and Mexico none. It would be interesting to see an analysis of why this has happend, but the book mainly deals with European teams as their statistics are more reliable.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Must-Read!: Well-researched, Humorous, Intelligent and Carefully Executed 18 mars 2010
Par Complex - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I first came to know the name Simon Kuper when he was a guest lecturer at a local university in Toronto, Canada. The articulate British author talked about his new novel Soccernomics and some of the core arguments. Despite making some fascinating points about football, he looked uncomfortable and unable to answer some of the questions that the audience prosed in the Q&A period. I was greeted with a great deal of skepticism, but decided to purchase the book anyway.

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.

Needless to say, these our not strong enough weaknesses to warrant it a 4-star. All in all, an excellent book and I would highly recommend it.

4.5/5
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Enjoyable 14 janvier 2010
Par R. Albin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
A well written collaboration between an experienced sports journalist and an economist interests in applying statistical and econometric methods to sports. Definitely pitched to soccer fans, this book is a series of chapters exploring different aspects of soccer. Topics include the nature of fandom, how to function in the transfer market successfully, why some nations do well in international tournaments, the psychology of penalty kicks, profitability of soccer clubs, and several other relevant subjects. The authors generally draw on statistical and economic methods, often drawing on the work of other economists and statisticians interested in sports. The authors generally reach well founded though somewhat iconoclastic conclusions.
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