Books · Sports

Soccernomics review

The “nomics” in the title tells you what the book is about- soccer (football) and the use of statistical data to examine and explain issues. It’s a good and interesting read, shedding the light on issues from racism against black players to how clubs are the worst businesses to why the best European clubs are not in capital cities, Madrid excepted and that’s mainly because of its totalitarian past under dictator France. Football fans will definitely come away much more educated, learning about how 21st century French giants Olympic Lyon became successful and why big foreign signings don’t always succeed. Likewise, casual fans or readers can learn that football doesn’t actually drive people to suicide when their countries do badly and the real reason why hosting the World Cup is good for countries. A slight wrinkle of the book is that at certain parts such as the final chapter where the authors determine who are the biggest over- and underachievers in world football, it gets way into statistics and less about football and readers might find themselves losing their way. But make no mistake, the authors have done hardcore research and number crunching, so they can be forgiven.

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