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Summary

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

Critic reviews

" 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)

What listeners say about Why England Lose

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • MR
  • 22-07-18

Better off reading it

This book is brilliant, but the problem is it has a lot of tables that convert horribly to audio.

There is one table that takes about 6 minutes to read out.

Given the amount of data involved in the book I think you are much better off reading it than listening to it.

That said it's incredibly interesting.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Not just why England (will) lose!

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.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting but probably better in print

Contains some interesting insights, though some already feel a bit outdated as was written when capello was in charge of England. Most annoyingly the book contains multiple statistical tables read out line by line - this can take many minutes each time, is tedious and adds no value really. Would be much better to have reference pdf and just summarise in the voiceover.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Freakonomics meets football

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.

2 people found this helpful

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Full of interesting facts!

Possibly too many stats but generally easily digestable. They have made a follow up book.

1 person found this helpful

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Horrendously unsuited to be an audio book

I felt as thoughi was just listening to reams of numbers for vast large parts.

1 person found this helpful

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Everything you thought you knew is wrong!

I thought this was going to be a populist take on football history without much I didn’t already know, and consequently I waited several months before I got around to listening. But I was wrong.

It is really a deep analysis of the contradictory aspects of football history, sociology, business, demographics, psychology, managers etc. All demonstrating why England are perceived to struggle.

Great stuff!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great analysis of the contemporary soccer world

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

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant

I loved all the interesting statistics throughout, the only thing that annoyed me was the way they kept on saying that a win percentage was .72% etc..... when it was actually 72%

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A must for anyone interested in football

At last, a discussion about football based on facts - not based on beer and b*****t

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  • Shom
  • 27-04-12

Good, not great

What did you like best about Why England Lose? What did you like least?

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.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Colin Mace?

Yes.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-05-11

audible spreadsheet.

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.