This is Your Brain on Sports by L. Jon Wertheim and Sam Sommers

(Full title: This Is Your Brain on Sports: The Science of Underdogs, the Value of Rivalry, and What We Can Learn from the T-Shirt Cannon)

9/10

This was a delightful read, from the first page until the last paragraph. A mix of psychology, statistics and athletics, the co-authors have created a fascinating exploration into some of the questions we’ve all asked about our favorite sports. From what makes the t-shirt cannon so important to why the home team advantage exists in every conceivable sport, the authors are both witty and informative.

This is a book that you can devour in a single sitting (no, really; it’s easy and pleasant reading), or you could read chapter-by-chapter over a longer period with equal enjoyment. Pretty much the perfect non-fiction book, that gives you enough information to understand the topic without requiring much side research or gets bogged down in technical knowledge. It’s also a well-cited work, so if you are interested in conducting a more thorough investigation into the topics raised, you have an excellent idea of where to start.

If I had one criticism (and this is a stretch), it would be that there aren’t enough visuals; there are several charts of data, but a graph or two wouldn’t have been totally out of place.

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