Stumbling on Wins Giveaway

When I started to get really interested in sports statistics I thought, "Somebody should write a Freakonomics, but about sports." I was woefully uninformed about the vast library of research already done, particularly about baseball. At first I (foolishly) thought, "Maybe I could write that book." I did some clicking around and I was crushed to learn there already was one.

At my first opportunity I ran out and bought Wages of Wins. I thought," This is cool. I could do this too." So I'll always carry a debt of gratitude for authors Dave Berri, Martin Schmidt, and Stacey Brook. I didn't agree with everything in Wages, but it asked all the right questions and got me thinking about sports in a whole new way. Besides, if you're waiting for the sports book that you'll agree with 100%, you'll be waiting a long time.

Now Dave Berri and Martin Schmidt are back with a follow-up book, Stumbling on Wins. The theme of Stumbling is that decision-makers in sports often make sub-optimum and even irrational decisions. But in the insulated world of professional sports, if everyone adhered to the same flawed orthodoxy we'd never know how mistaken it is. After all, someone's got to be the champion. After years of studying NFL football, I couldn't agree more.

Like Wages, Stumbling questions long-held assumptions and puts the conventional wisdom to the test. In fact, one chapter was the inspiration for my recent look at how well top QB draft picks really do compared to later picks.

Dave Berri has been a kind supporter of Advanced NFL Stats, and he's thoughtfully given me five copies of Stumbling to give out to readers. Dave suggested a contest, but frankly I'd rather give them to those most interested. (Or should I auction them off to whoever overestimates their value the most?!) Actually, just send me an email at hatch113 -at- yahoo dot com (or click the address in the About | Contact/FAQ link in the main menu above). The first five readers to respond will be sent a copy of Stumbling on Wins.

[Edit: Thanks for all the interest. The books have been claimed.]

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4 Responses to “Stumbling on Wins Giveaway”

  1. Unknown says:

    This book looks pretty interesting. I've been following the shift in the use of statistics in Baseball for sometime now and recent interest in other sports has led me to places like this or the wages of wins blog. I'd be very interested to see how approachable the book is for friends less likely to be sympathetic to its premise.

  2. Ian says:

    "The theme of Stumbling is that decision-makers in sports often make sub-optimum and even irrational decisions"

    How right you are. I'm always amazed at how often professional football (read- soccer) games end in a one goal difference. Teams seem content to protect their goal difference (a tie-breaker) rather than go all out to try to score, risking conceding another goal, and tie the game up.

    If you increased your chances of getting a draw even slightly it would be worth it, because one draw is worth far more over the season than conceding loads of goals at the death.

  3. Brian Burke says:

    The 5 lucky winners have been emailed, so if you haven't heard back you're not among the winners. Congrats to Dan L, Charles P, Brian B, Tom A, and Stanton N.

  4. Brian Burke says:

    Thanks for all the requests. I didn't anticipate such a big response. The books are on the way.

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