There are many industries that despite initially being resistant to tech-driven change have come around to the idea, taking onboard its positive aspects and harnessing it for the better.
However, the literary world and sport are perhaps two of the industries still holding out, making sure that who you know rather than what you know is the key to business getting done, as well as perpetuating the blind pursuit of mythical industry mantras, like editors saying “second books are the hardest” or managers ignoring their physios to declare “spray it with water and he’ll be fine.”
That said, there are some books that break the mold, managing to show how despite all the odds being against them, show how big data and tech advances are changing sport, whether the dinosaurs who run athletic competition like it or not.
More emphasis is put on stats than superstition in today’s MLB
Moneyball by Michael Lewis
This is the book, that was turned into a Brad Pitt film, and which really heralded the beginning of big data and stats being used for more than just providing half-time soundbites for sports commentators.
The story of course follows the GM of the Oakland Athletics, Billy Beane, who uses data to ignore long-held prejudices within baseball to assemble a team using only data analysis. Fans and tipsters have never looked back, with many freebets being used based only on mathematical probability.
Mathletics by Wayne L. Winston
Taking things a step further than Michael Lewis did, Wayne L. Winston’s Mathletics shows how the application of simple math is being adopted by a whole range of individuals across a broad spectrum of sports.
It is an entertaining read and debunks the myth that only supercomputers and geniuses trained in the art of the algorithm can use math to improve their sports predictions and analysis.
The Football Manager's Guide to Football Management by Iain Macintosh
Despite the name of this book, this is soccer being talked about here rather than gridiron and shows how powerful predictive modeling and the video games produced using the tech have become, taking a wildly popular sports management game and using it as a lens through which to analyze and predict real-life happenings out on the pitch.
Once you have given the book a read you should consider buying the game, because once it gets its hooks into you, you’ll find it harder to leave alone than your fantasy football roster.