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Publisher's 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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Shom
  • Hyderabad, India
  • 04-27-12

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<br/>b) Cannot fault the narrator, he does a good job<br/>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.<br/>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. <br/><br/>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

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.

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  • Overall
  • Gary Black
  • 05-17-10

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Hector Chub
  • 08-02-10

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Martin
  • 06-30-10

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • David Newell
  • 10-12-17

Stats fans only

Interesting/stat heavy. Great book does not translate well to audio book format. Wenger love in.

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  • Marc Studholme
  • 10-01-17

Insightful

I've talked about the findings of this book more than any other. It charts plausible data and trends that actually endorses why England have over performed.

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  • John McCormack
  • 03-26-17

Stats book

i bought based on title only, was good in places, but reading out tables of stats didnt make sense at times. audiobook prob not most suitable format.

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  • Martin B
  • 02-25-15

Interesting for stats geeks!

I found this mostly interesting as a big football fan, as well as a non-academic interest in stats, trends and analysing data!

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  • Bob Knowles
  • 10-16-14

sadly not Football's answer to moneyball

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

nothing, it's just too dull in most parts and annoying in others

Would you ever listen to anything by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski again?

Unlikely

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I cant hold him personally responsible for their interminable listing of almost completely uninteresting tables

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I hated it rather than being completely indifferent to it, so it got a reaction

Any additional comments?

Putting all those tables in a PDF rather than reading them out would have been welcome.You can analyse data to death and still come up with conclusions that just reflect your own bias; i.e. we apparently all love the Premier League and the way it's completely dominated by a few clubs with most of the money because crowds are relatively high. Clearly the authors think we're all much happier knowing our place and should be grateful for a home draw with Chelsea/Arsenal/United/City once a decade.

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  • Joey
  • 07-16-14

I'm never getting those 12 hours of my life back

Would you try another book written by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski or narrated by Colin Mace?

I would never read another book by these authors.

What was most disappointing about Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski ’s story?

Laboured every point and gave too much data. Tables and data do not translate well to an audiobook. I wanted to read a book, not a in-depth study.

Would you be willing to try another one of Colin Mace’s performances?

Very difficult to make a dry subject interesting.

Any additional comments?

This book could be much better if it was shortened and more punchy. Most points that are made don't seem to end. I found myself feeling it was a chore everytime I listened to it. I never finished it. Awful.

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  • Trevor
  • 07-05-13

Hidden Gem

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.