Stumbling on Wins: Two Economists Expose the Pitfalls on the Road to Victory in Professional Sports

3.45 avg rating
( 154 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780132357784: Stumbling on Wins: Two Economists Expose the Pitfalls on the Road to Victory in Professional Sports

The next quantum leap beyond Moneyball, this book offers powerful new insights into all human decision-making, because if sports teams are getting it wrong this badly, how do you know you're not? Sometimes the decisions that teams make are simply inexplicable. Consider: sports teams have an immense amount of detailed, quantifiable information to draw upon, more than in virtually any other industry. They have powerful incentives for making good decisions. Everyone sees the results of their choices, and the consequences for failure are severe. And yet... they keep making the same mistakes over and over again... systematic mistakes you'd think they'd learn how to avoid. Now, two leading sports economists reveal those mistakes in basketball, baseball, football, and hockey, and explain why sports decision-makers never seem to learn their lessons. You'll learn which statistics are connected to wins, and which aren't, and which statistics can and can't predict the future. Along the way, David Berri and Martin Schmidt show why a quarterback's place in the draft tells you nothing about how he'll perform in the NFL... why basketball decision-makers don't focus on the factors that really correlate with NBA success... why famous coaches don't deliver better results... and much more.

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Review:

As seen on The New York Times' Freakonomics blog, ESPN.com's True Hoop, and Slate.com.

 

"In Stumbling on Wins, sports economists Berri (Southern Utah Univ.) and Schmidt (College of William and Mary) follow up their The Wages of Wins (with Stacey Brook, CH, Jan'07, 44-2764) with more modeling and number-crunching applications. The holy grail remains the same: understanding and improving decision making on the court, field, and ice and in the front offices of North American professional team sports. Summing Up: Recommended. Sports and sports economics collections at all levels. Reprinted with permission from CHOICE, copyright by the American Library Association.

From the Back Cover:

“This book takes the hallowed traditions of sports decision-making and pokes them with a sharp stick.”

Henry Abbott, founder of TrueHoop, housed at ESPN.com

 

Moneyball should have been called ‘MoneyBaseball.’ Stumbling On Wins covers everything else. Every general manager needs to buy this book to save his owner money. Every fan needs to buy this book to know when it makes sense to yell at the general manager.”

Darren Rovell, CNBC Sports Business Reporter

 

“This is an important book. Berri and Schmidt have been leaders of the revolution in the analysis of team performance in sports and, in this book, they explain why coaches, players, and fans cannot afford to ignore the stats if they want to win. Moneyball gave us an inkling of what is to come, but this is the real deal.”

Stefan Szymanski, author of Soccernomics and Playbooks and Checkbooks

 

Stumbling On Wins lays it all out—a roadmap of behavioral economics, that runs straight through your favorite sports arena. Brilliant stuff, beautifully written, and sure to captivate any student of economics or sports.”

Justin Wolfers, Associate Professor of Business and Public Policy, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; writer for Freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com

 

“Berri and Schmidt are true pioneers of modern sports economics, proving time and again that sports are the perfect laboratory for social science research. Stumbling On Wins reveals that sports are more than entertainment; they tell us something important about ourselves.”

J.C. Bradbury, author of The Baseball Economist

 

“This book isn’t just about sports statistics. In Stumbling On Wins, Berri and Schmidt have a compelling story to tell about how people make decisions in sports, and the stats narrate the story. This is a fresh and revealing look at how decision-makers frequently miss the mark and how they can do better.”

Brian Burke, AdvancedNFLStats.com

 

Don’t they want to win? Every sports fan asks that question. And no wonder! Teams have an immense amount of detailed, quantifiable information to draw upon. They have powerful incentives for making good decisions. Everyone sees the results of their choices, and the consequences for failure are severe. And yet, they keep making the same mistakes over and over again...mistakes you’d think they’d learn how to avoid!

 

Now, two leading sports economists reveal those mistakes in basketball, baseball, football, and hockey–and explain why sports decision-makers never seem to learn their lessons. You’ll learn which statistics are linked to wins and which aren’t…and which statistics can predict the future and which can’t (information that just might help you dominate your next fantasy league!).

 

The next quantum leap beyond Moneyball, this book offers powerful new insights into all human decision-making. Because if multimillion dollar sports teams are getting it wrong this badly, how do you know you’re not?

 

•   Do better coaches really win more? Phil Jackson versus everyone else

•   The “hot hand ” and other figments of the imagination Enduring myths of on-court and on-field performance

•   How old is too old? Are teams playing too many athletes who are past their prime?

•   Are black quarterbacks underpaid? The curious cases of Donovan McNabb and Brett Favre

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David J. Berri, Martin B. Schmidt
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