PUBLICATION: Crown Archetype Publishers, February 2nd, 2016
Everyone knows that sports have a tendency to make people do strange things they wouldn't otherwise do: paint your face to support your team, stay up late at night to watch your basketball team finish their game, and even name your children after sports icons (i.e. Peyton). But the science, math, and statistics behind this behavior runs much deeper than fans being fans.
This book initially struck me as a Freakonomics meets Sports Illustrated, essentially statistics meets fandom, a mathematical and psychological insight as to why fans and athletes behave the way they do. And in true Freakonomic fashion, its pages are filled with charts, graphs, tables, experiments, statistics, numbers, data, and everything in between. But there's just one problem with this book.
Now don't get me wrong, I loved (devoured!) the first three Freakonomics books as well as other sports memoirs, essays, and exposes. In fact, I'm even one of those strange fans that scream at their television sets when my precious, beloved Buccaneers get called for their 13th off-sides penalty or when my angelic Tampa Bay Rays get a bad call. The problem with this book is that its just plain boring. Not boring in a sense where I couldn't finish it because I kept falling asleep, but boring in a sense that I felt like I had read a lotof this book in other books that were much better. For example, they discuss the probability of a goal keeper in soccer jumping left, right, or staying straight for penalty kicks and how the majority of kicks go straight but out of fear of ridicule, the goalie jumps to the side. This exact scenario is explained in one of the opening chapters of "Think Like a Freak" (Freakonomics book number 3).
The book wasn't all bad though. It started off on a strong note: the worldwide phenomenon known as the T-shirt cannon. This was a great way to start the book, in my opinion. Everyone knows what it is but it was interesting reading the psychology behind why teams utilize them and why fans love them. Another great chapter what "Why the Coach's Seat is Always Hot", discussing the rapid turnover rate and senseless hiring in professional sports - and why management doesn't care.
Overall, this book was okay - nothing spectacular, slightly boring, but it had a few bright spots scattered throughout. I definitely recommend it for a sports fan but the problem is, the math and statistics might be a bit much for the average fan. It's a little too science-y for sports and a little too sports-y for science.
In exchange for an honest review, I received a copy of the book from the publisher.
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.