“What are the best sports analysis books to read?”, we get asked this a bit. This is a list of books that are best for a first time reader of sports analysis books. These books have a story to them or behind them at least. If you are interested in more technical books, get in touch with us (bfitzpatrick@bfsportsanalysis.com) and you might fit into our sports analysis book club.

The order of this is not “Best” either, more easiest to read. These book have all have 4/5 or better ratings from us. If you want to see every book we have reviewed, click here.

1. The Only Rule is it Has to Work

Read the full review here.

Sam Miller and Ben Lindbergh, two ‘stat heads’ from the media side get the opportunity to go into a low level professional baseball team and implement their ideas.

A great read that is as applicable to change management as it is to sports analysis. Compared to Moneyball where the leader is implementing analysis in Billy Beane, this book has a bit more of a relatable feel to it for your up and coming analyst about the obstacles that you will face.

2. Moneyball

Read the full review here.

Most certainly the best written sports analysis book, hence why it became a feature film staring Brad Pitt. The extraordinary story of the Oakland A’s MLB team are fantastically told in Michael Lewis’s genius style. This was the book that put sports analysis on the map and is a must read for managers, coaches and analysts alike about challenging your own perceptions and how decisions are made.

3. Sprawlball

Read the full review here.

The first non-baseball book if that isn’t your sport of choice.

Sprawlball is the most visual book on this list. It allmost reads like a picture book. Between clever data analysis by former topographer Kirk Goldsberry and stunning illustrations, this book really explains sports analysis in a very visual and simple way describing how times have changed NBA.

4. The Numbers Game

Read the full review here.

The first of the non American big 3 sports. The numbers game by Chris Anderson and David Sally explores the data in football (soccer) and what makes it such a unique sport.

The book answers questions such as what has a bigger impact on performance, your star player or your lowest common denominator? What is the percentage impact of luck on a result? Truly enjoyable book for anyone with an interest in sports data or football by itself.

5. Basketball on Paper

Read the full review here.

Finally we come to Basketball on Paper, the most technical of the books mentioned on this list. If you enjoyed The Last Dance, this book is an interesting follow up read as you can understand a lot of the context from when it was published in 2003.

This book definitely has the most data and numbers in it, but you won’t read most of them. The analytical principals and descriptions of how and why things are calculated are superior in this book than the other book in this list.

Hopefully you enjoyed this list of sports analysis books and it helps inform you of what book to purchase and enjoy reading.

This article contains affiliate links, these in no way impacted on our reviews. The affiliate links mean if you click on the link and subsequently purchase an item from amazon, we’ll receive a small % of that at no cost to you, just Jeff Bezos.

If you’ve read these books and want to delve deeper, we organise a sports analysis book club that meets once every two or three months.

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