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How Fantasy Sports Explains the World: What Pujols and Peyton Can Teach Us About Wookiees and Wall Street

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The world of fantasy sports is no longer the purview of nerds and stat geeks. In fact, versions of the game are currently played by tens of millions of people worldwide. But while fantasy sports may have begun as a light-hearted diversion, to many of its participants winning or losing is no laughing matter. The book takes readers on a journey from the casinos of Atlantic The world of fantasy sports is no longer the purview of nerds and stat geeks. In fact, versions of the game are currently played by tens of millions of people worldwide. But while fantasy sports may have begun as a light-hearted diversion, to many of its participants winning or losing is no laughing matter. The book takes readers on a journey from the casinos of Atlantic City to charred Connecticut campgrounds, from the Last Supper to the Constitutional Convention that started our country down the road to democracy, from the back rooms of Wall Street to the jury rooms of our judicial system. In doing so, Mass demonstrates that winning fantasy advice can come from anyone and be found almost anywhere—the wit and wisdom of William Shakespeare, the scientific genius of Stephen Hawking, or the futuristic whimsy of a galaxy far, far away. Ultimately, How Fantasy Sports Explains the World is not a book about how to win your fantasy sports league. Instead, it is a collection of conversation starters and hypothetical scenarios that get right to the core of what makes fantasy games so compelling in the high-speed information age: how to process and make use of the bottomless pile of data presented to us on a daily basis.


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The world of fantasy sports is no longer the purview of nerds and stat geeks. In fact, versions of the game are currently played by tens of millions of people worldwide. But while fantasy sports may have begun as a light-hearted diversion, to many of its participants winning or losing is no laughing matter. The book takes readers on a journey from the casinos of Atlantic The world of fantasy sports is no longer the purview of nerds and stat geeks. In fact, versions of the game are currently played by tens of millions of people worldwide. But while fantasy sports may have begun as a light-hearted diversion, to many of its participants winning or losing is no laughing matter. The book takes readers on a journey from the casinos of Atlantic City to charred Connecticut campgrounds, from the Last Supper to the Constitutional Convention that started our country down the road to democracy, from the back rooms of Wall Street to the jury rooms of our judicial system. In doing so, Mass demonstrates that winning fantasy advice can come from anyone and be found almost anywhere—the wit and wisdom of William Shakespeare, the scientific genius of Stephen Hawking, or the futuristic whimsy of a galaxy far, far away. Ultimately, How Fantasy Sports Explains the World is not a book about how to win your fantasy sports league. Instead, it is a collection of conversation starters and hypothetical scenarios that get right to the core of what makes fantasy games so compelling in the high-speed information age: how to process and make use of the bottomless pile of data presented to us on a daily basis.

30 review for How Fantasy Sports Explains the World: What Pujols and Peyton Can Teach Us About Wookiees and Wall Street

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kier O'Neil

    This book is for the reader that plays fantasy sports, reads, and is a bit philosophical. It can't be many people. He really strikes a chord with me with his insights into gambling - having been a former casino dealer - and the psychology that people use when picking their fantasy players. In one chapter he lists the different types of people that play fantasy sports and I was laughing because he was spot on with the people that I've played with through the years. So if you are that type of reader This book is for the reader that plays fantasy sports, reads, and is a bit philosophical. It can't be many people. He really strikes a chord with me with his insights into gambling - having been a former casino dealer - and the psychology that people use when picking their fantasy players. In one chapter he lists the different types of people that play fantasy sports and I was laughing because he was spot on with the people that I've played with through the years. So if you are that type of reader then definitely pick up this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides

    You could argue that I'm kind of a sucker for books whose title is in the form "How [sports topic] Explains [geographical region]." Previous examples: How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, How Football Explains America. This was on a display by the self-checkout machine at the library. I probably would have grabbed it even without bit about Wookiees. After re-reading Flora's Fury, re-reading a few scenes in Blackout, and continuing to read Worldsoul, I wanted to read You could argue that I'm kind of a sucker for books whose title is in the form "How [sports topic] Explains [geographical region]." Previous examples: How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, How Football Explains America. This was on a display by the self-checkout machine at the library. I probably would have grabbed it even without bit about Wookiees. After re-reading Flora's Fury, re-reading a few scenes in Blackout, and continuing to read Worldsoul, I wanted to read something less intense. And this qualified. I think the marketing/PR/design people did a nice job on this book. (This book is a review copy donated to the local library by one of the area newspapers. It still had a copy of the press release tucked inside.) The book itself is rather light. It's basically a geeky sports guy saying "Don't be anumerate," with a few stories of athlete shenanigans, and occasional attempts at self-vindication because of message board posters who told him he was wrong about something when he wasn't. And then, at the end, it shifts to spreading the word about the West Memphis Three. No, I'm not joking. It really didn't fit with the rest of the book. But this is just one of the reasons the book already feels kind of dated. (The WM3 were released a few months after this book's publication.) In conclusion: first/only sports book to reference Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog? Quite possibly.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    For a avid fantasy player this book is so-so. There were a few chapters that added value. However, the experiences Mass shares keeps you interested till the end. I would recommend it for a non-fantasy player, interested in what is the big deal with fantasy sports.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nate Douglas

    When I saw the title of AJ Mass' book, I was stoked, as this topic had so much potential. Upon finishing it, however, I was very disappointed. The chapters consisted of random topics that would loosely tie in with fantasy sports, but was structured in a way that the title of the book should have been "How the World Explains Fantasy Sports". There was no clear structure and looked like it was hastily written and edited. Fantasy sports has become so commonplace in American culture (not to mention When I saw the title of AJ Mass' book, I was stoked, as this topic had so much potential. Upon finishing it, however, I was very disappointed. The chapters consisted of random topics that would loosely tie in with fantasy sports, but was structured in a way that the title of the book should have been "How the World Explains Fantasy Sports". There was no clear structure and looked like it was hastily written and edited. Fantasy sports has become so commonplace in American culture (not to mention lucrative), it would be a fascinating study, and I'm not a good enough writer to expound about it...hopefully somebody else will...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bill Herron

    As much as I like Mr. Mass' writing for ESPN.com, I didn't enjoy this book at all. It wasn't even what the title made it out to be, the book was not really how fantasy sports explains the world, but more Mr. Mass' thoughts on a variety of unrelated topics and how those topics can be loosely (very loosely) related back to fantasy baseball or football. I almost stopped reading the book about half-way through when he started complaining about the scoring in the fictional game of Quiddich. My recomm As much as I like Mr. Mass' writing for ESPN.com, I didn't enjoy this book at all. It wasn't even what the title made it out to be, the book was not really how fantasy sports explains the world, but more Mr. Mass' thoughts on a variety of unrelated topics and how those topics can be loosely (very loosely) related back to fantasy baseball or football. I almost stopped reading the book about half-way through when he started complaining about the scoring in the fictional game of Quiddich. My recommendation is to stay as far away from this book as possible, I read it for free and it wasn't even worth that.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Sort of a 'Malcolm Gladwell for the fantasy sports addict.' A quick, interesting, if disjointed read. I saw another review say that it should be called "How the World Explains Fantasy Sports," and that would be a more accurate title, if less provocative. The book was full of interesting tidbits that Mass would then compare to fantasy sports and strategies. Some comparisons were solid, some more tenuous, but all were interesting and engaging. In particular, the story about Allen Iverson at the ca Sort of a 'Malcolm Gladwell for the fantasy sports addict.' A quick, interesting, if disjointed read. I saw another review say that it should be called "How the World Explains Fantasy Sports," and that would be a more accurate title, if less provocative. The book was full of interesting tidbits that Mass would then compare to fantasy sports and strategies. Some comparisons were solid, some more tenuous, but all were interesting and engaging. In particular, the story about Allen Iverson at the casino and how that impacts a fantasy owner makes the book worthwhile all on its own. Worth picking up for any fantasy sports fan, especially given the low price on the Kindle.

  7. 5 out of 5

    John Ferringer

    I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Maybe my take is colored by just having read "Scorecasting," but this book just didn't have the analysis or application of data that I was expecting to see from the title and summary. There's a lot of anecdotal stories, some decent fantasy sports examples that weren't really earthshattering to me, and a bit too much of the author patting himself on the back for predictions he made. The predictions seem like they are being mentioned to be stuck in the faces o I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Maybe my take is colored by just having read "Scorecasting," but this book just didn't have the analysis or application of data that I was expecting to see from the title and summary. There's a lot of anecdotal stories, some decent fantasy sports examples that weren't really earthshattering to me, and a bit too much of the author patting himself on the back for predictions he made. The predictions seem like they are being mentioned to be stuck in the faces of everyone who laughed at them when he made them, more than providing value to the reader.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brian Sison

    Why oh why do I keep reading so-called books by authors who make a living writing on websites? Blogs are good for what they are... filler to kill 10 minutes while trying to avoid work in the office. That is not good fodder for an entire book. True, AJ Mass is not a blogger, per se; he's a fantasy analyst. Same rules apply. An interesting article about a certain statistic or player can captivate me for 5 minutes... And when I'm trying to set my lineups, his timely advice may prove helpful... But Why oh why do I keep reading so-called books by authors who make a living writing on websites? Blogs are good for what they are... filler to kill 10 minutes while trying to avoid work in the office. That is not good fodder for an entire book. True, AJ Mass is not a blogger, per se; he's a fantasy analyst. Same rules apply. An interesting article about a certain statistic or player can captivate me for 5 minutes... And when I'm trying to set my lineups, his timely advice may prove helpful... But reading a book about fatasy sports was disappointing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ryne Singsank

    I found this book to be entertaining as well as enjoyable to read. The book however did not adress the title very well and did not explain much about how fantasy sports explains the world. Instead he focused more on giving his views on random occurrences. Even though he was very off topic in his writing, he still managed to deliver an excellent book. He talked about many interesting stories in his life and gave very specific details about his experiences.

  10. 4 out of 5

    William Hochmuth

    Couldn't get past 50 pages. Rambled, boring, just poor.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    If you like fantasy sports, or sports in general the book is a good easy read. I wish he didn't have to bash Allen Iverson, but sometimes the truth hurts.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    One of my favorite books. You don't even have to be a fantasy nerd like me to enjoy this book. Lots of interesting information in each chapter and foreward by my favorite person Matthew Berry

  13. 5 out of 5

    Drake

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Tomevi

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  17. 5 out of 5

    Will Borrevik

  18. 4 out of 5

    Phil

  19. 5 out of 5

    Scott Campbell

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eileen J. Sarett-Cuasay

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

  22. 4 out of 5

    Victor

  23. 4 out of 5

    A.J. Mass

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

  25. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  26. 5 out of 5

    Evan M Vogel

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rheana Cabance

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jake Hennig

  30. 5 out of 5

    N8 Williams

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