Why do England lose? Why does Scotland suck? Why doesn't America play the sport internationally... and why do the Germans play with such an efficient but robotic style?
Using insights and analogies from economics, statistics, psychology and business to cast a new and entertaining light on how the game works, "Why England Lose" reveals the often surprisingly counterintuitive truths about soccer.
No training in economics is needed to read Why England Lose. But the listener will come away from it with a better understanding not just of football, but of how economists think and why they know.
©2009 Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski (P)2010 Audible Ltd
"Why England Lose is an Arsene Wenger of a book - more thoughtful than most of its rivals and, by football standards, positively intellectual." (The Times)
"It is rare, even after the great leaps football literature has taken in the past two decades, to find a book that takes the breath away, but Why England Lose does. 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)
One of the best listens I've had in ages. If you like football stats or are interested in economics & how that effects football (not as boring as it sounds) get this book now.
The title of the book over emphisises the first chapter of it (it is attention grabbing though & as a Scot, quite comforting!) It covers a whole range of things from attendances per capita, judging European Cup winners on population size & type of government & how surprisingly little effect team managers have on the game! Very enjoyale & really got me thinking long after it finished.
The authors are probably right, many soccer followers are also stat nuts and table lovers. I know I am. This book delivers big time - yes the high number of detailed tables narrated can be a bit of a drag, I guess you get what you pay for and one is more than adequately compensated by the depth and variety of research that has gone into this book. If you love the counter-intuitive again the book delivers; surprising examples of who is best and worst and why. The world of soccer is covered here not just england and it is bang up to date being released just before the world cup. Best of all - the author's narrative of how England would exit the competition was spot on.
The reading was very good
I thought this was excellent. A statistician's view of football might put you off but this is in the same vein as Freakonomics - often counter-intuitive findings on football based on statistics. It has to be said that some of the findings in Freakonomics were subsequently hotly contested and the same may well be true for this book but it is certainly thought provoking. One word of warning (okay many words) - the book contains many tables of data which do not lend themselves to the audio book format. They do have a certain hypnotic quality, like listening to the weather station reports late in the evening. They should really have supplied a pdf with the audiobook containing the data.
I really did not expect much from this book, and even now don't know why I bought it. I seem to think it was the "other curious phenomena" that sold it too me.
I had it in the wishlist for ages, and decided to take the plunge.
After Chapter 1 I was gripped. I'm not joking, this is the best football book by a country mile. If you are into football you need to read this. Its excellent !!
Yes the first chapter is about England, but after that it is fascinating. A complete analysis from a statistical point of view about all sorts of stuff, from penalty taking to numbers of black players in clubs, how salary dictates sucesss etc.
There is an absolutely fascinating piece about the Chelsea v Man Utd European Champions final shoot out. I can't stand either club, and wish they were knocked out well before the final, but I tell you the story presented is amazing and true. You can watch it on You Tube.
For me the title of the book was wrong as is the cover. (don't get into the judge a book by the cover thing), it looks like a very tame book on England's woes. In reality, its the best Foootball book out there. It has now been renamed Soccernomics so I'm told, which does fall nicely into the Freakonomics series.
Its a great book - I recommend it to all football fans.
Its not just England, but goes into tables of the lower leagues as well.
A very thorough look at how football success has waxed and waned with the economic backdrop. Backed up with compelling statistics (although far too many lists read out for my liking), it is slightly saddening to see the magic disappear. I was better off in my naive ignorance.
This is a terrific analysis of football making some serious and clever points in a very likeable dry-witted style. The great thing about it as an audiobook is that it will bear several listens to take in the many salient points. Thoroughly recommended.
Any serious student of football should listen to this. This book explains why modern football is the way it is, wittily and intelligently.
The only drawback is that there are, as might be expected, lots & lots of lists, which can make for difficult listening.
A very entertaining and insightful exposition of the economic dynamics of football. Not being a big footie fan, on the strength of this listen I was able to hold my own with great comments that generated fierce debate as we watched the debacle that was England's world cup attempt. I also noticed that the author was called upon to comment on several post match discussions I heard on the radio, so he's clearly established himself as a major pundit. As per my title - this is good for fans and non-fans alike and will give a brilliant understanding of where we fit into the football world ... and why we lose!
Yes, I know allot of nerds. Need to write more to get to the 15 words.
This was an interesting although subjective book. The narrative was engrossing but not all the 'facts' were presented in a balanced way, for example Spain during the Franco years is described as isolationist and this is seen as a negative factor in football evolution yet the amazing Real Madrid side of the late fifties and early sixties didn't get a mention. I also doubt that having fewer English players in the Premier league would improve the situation of Englands poor record in world football since Spain use mainly spanish-based players in their world conquering team. Overall it was an interesting book but not really one I would pay attention to.
"Good, not great"
a) A book of stats, tables and numbers, this does not translate very well to audio
b) Cannot fault the narrator, he does a good job
c) The content is new, fresh and innovative. A book like this should have been written a long time ago. Kuper is a legend, of course.... 'Football with the enemy' remains one of my favorite sports books.
d) The content is also the bane. I believe the authors try to say too many thing in this book. What's covered here has the material for maybe three books.... Therefore, there are individual chapters of impeccable analysis and brilliant insight, and other rather tepid ones.
As a book, it is somewhere down the middle. And for all the people who say that football (soccer) is too low scoring, too random and too fast / continuous even, to be figured out via stats, you are wrong. They said similar stuff about baseball before Bill James.
This book provided me with some extremely fascinating views on football in general and make me realize that England can't win a world cup. The reading out, at length, of spreadsheets with hundreds of data entries makes this book unbearably boring in parts.
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