Did you Do the Reading?

It’s absurd to think of going to a book group meeting and opining about a book you didn’t even read.

A first hurdle: Are you aware of what the reading (your reading) must include? What’s on the list? The more professional your field, the more likely it is that people know what’s on the list.

The reading isn’t merely a book, of course. The reading is what we call it when you do the difficult work of learning to think with the best, to stay caught up, to understand.

The reading exposes you to the state of the art. The reading helps you follow a thought-through line of reasoning and agree, or even better, challenge it. The reading takes effort.

If you haven’t done the reading, why expect to be treated as a professional?

The above quote is an extract from Seth Godin’s blog. If you don’t know who he is, that can be your first bit of reading. This post is from November but is something that has stuck in my mind ever since. What is the reading from Performance Analysis? What are those essential things that you simply have to read?

numbers-gameOf recent time’s and probably at the top of my list is Ben Alamar’s; Sports Analytics, A Guide for Coaches, Managers, and Other Decision Makers.  You can’t make a list like this and leave out Moneyball (no watching the movie doesn’t count).

You have the classics like Mike Hughes’ Notational Analysis of Sport and Chris Carling’s Handbook of Match Analysis. If you are studying Analysis in uni I would highly recommend Peter O’Donoghue’s book Research Methods for Sports Performance Analysis

Seeing Red is a good account of the more human side of analysis and the highs and lows of working in the real world.  The Numbers Game is an excellent take on football analysis. A different book with the same title Numbers Game was my favourite book last year.

Understanding or at least being aware of luck is essential in Sports Analysis so The Success Equation and Luck: A fresh take on Fortune by Ed Smith are well worth your time.

Outside the specifics of sport I found Naked Statistics one of the most accessible introductions to statistics and The Drunkards Walk is a good follow up.

I really enjoyed Slideology as an introduction to design and some basic concepts of colour and font design. I’ve recently purchased Stephen Few’s Now You See It and no doubt I will add to this area this year.

Completely removed from sport are books like The Signal and the Noise, Thinking Fast and Slow and Made to Stick. These are crucial books and have ramifications for every part of analysts work.

They are only the books. There are thousands of words being generated on Twitter and in Facebook groups that are just as essential. You need to do the reading!

I don’t know what I don’t know. So what have I missed?

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