Mark’s #8 – Scorecasting:The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim (288 pages)

Scorecasting is a book that I think was written for somebody just like me. I love sports.  I have a degree in economics.  I’ve been a basketball coach. As a pastor, I love studying human behavior and psychology.  Mix all those things together, and you get this book.

Throughout the book, the authors look at many assumptions we make about sports, and then tests those assumptions against the statistical evidence.  For example, they did find that, as many of sports fans have believed, referees tend to ‘swallow their whistles in late game situations.  The reason is because, psychologically, referees don’t want to be the ones who determine the outcome of games.   Other chapters address issues such as why coaches make decisions that reduce their team’s chances to win (i.e., loss aversion),  that offense wins championships too, why a Tim Duncan blocked shot is more valuable than a Dwight Howard blocked shot, why a superstar on your team is better than a well balanced team, what’s behind the home field advantage (hint: it’s the refs), and much more.

If you like to analyze the why and how of sports, I think you would enjoy this fun read.

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