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Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won by Tobias J. Moskowitz Review

Title: Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won

Author: Tobias J. Moskowitz

First published January 1, 2011

255 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780307591791 (ISBN10: 0307591794)

Rating: 3.82


Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won by Tobias J. Moskowitz is a must-read for all sports enthusiasts.

Moskowitz, a behavioral economist, alongside veteran Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim, challenges traditional beliefs and reveals the covert forces that shape the outcome of sports like basketball, baseball, football, and hockey.

Through Moskowitz’s original research and contributions from economists like bestselling author Richard Thaler, the authors explore the impact of home-field advantage on game results, the truth about the defensive strategy, and the subtle biases that umpires exhibit in calling balls and strikes. Scorecasting also uncovers the unintended consequences of referees’ tendencies in every sport to “swallow the whistle” and the reasons why NFL coaches rarely go for a first down on fourth-down situations.

The narrative takes readers on a journey through the inner workings of sports, from Augusta’s putting greens to a small parochial high school in Arkansas’s gridiron. Scorecasting is a game-changer that will revolutionize how you view sports, regardless of your favorite sport.

Editoral Review

In “Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won” author Tobias J. Moskowitz explores the world of sports through a lens of statistical analysis and behavioral economics.

Originally published in 2011, the book offers insights into how subtle and often hidden factors can impact not only the outcome of individual games but also the way in which athletes perform over the course of a season. Drawing on interviews with players, coaches, and other experts, Moskowitz offers a range of fascinating case studies that illustrate how everything from referees’ calls to players’ pre-game rituals can influence the final score.

Moskowitz, a professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, is well known for his work on the economics of sports. His writing is a blend of academic research and popular nonfiction, combining analytical rigor with accessible prose.

In “Scorecasting,” he draws on his expertise in sports statistics and economics to offer a fresh perspective on the world of athletics. The book is divided into four main sections, each of which explores a different aspect of sports.

The first section focuses on the role of luck in sports, looking at the ways in which random chance can influence the outcome of games. Moskowitz argues that while many fans and analysts believe that certain teams are “lucky” or “unlucky,” these perceptions are often based on a flawed understanding of probability.

He offers examples from a range of sports, from football to baseball to tennis, to illustrate the ways in which chance can impact the final score. The second section of the book looks at the impact of home field advantage.

Moskowitz explores the psychological and environmental factors that can influence how well teams perform on their own turf. He argues that the advantage conferred by home field is often overstated, but that it can still play a significant role in determining the outcome of games.

The third section of the book focuses on the role of referees and officials. Moskowitz argues that the actions of referees can have a profound impact on the outcome of games, and that their decisions are often influenced by factors that have nothing to do with the actual game on the field.

For example, he shows how the race of a quarterback can impact the likelihood of penalties being called against his team. The final section of the book deals with the psychology of athletes.

Moskowitz explores the ways in which athletes’ beliefs and emotions can influence their performance, and looks at techniques for boosting mental toughness and resilience. Overall, “Scorecasting” is a well-written and engaging book that offers a new perspective on the world of sports.

Moskowitz’s writing is clear and accessible, and he manages to convey complex ideas in a way that is easy for non-experts to understand. The book is well-researched, and Moskowitz draws on a wide range of sources to support his arguments.

However, there are some limitations to the book. Some readers may find the heavy reliance on statistics and economics a little dry, and the book does have a tendency to get bogged down in data at times.

Additionally, while Moskowitz does a good job of highlighting the role of hidden factors in sports, some readers may feel that he overemphasizes the impact of luck and referees to the exclusion of other important factors. Despite these limitations, “Scorecasting” is an excellent book that is well worth reading for anyone interested in sports.

The insights it offers into the way that subtle and often overlooked factors can impact athletic performance are both thought-provoking and entertaining. For these reasons, I would highly recommend “Scorecasting” to anyone looking for a new perspective on the world of sports.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.