The Science of Underdogs, the Value of Rivalry, and What We Can Learn from the T-Shirt Cannon

Book Cover: This Is Your Brain on Sports

This is Your Brain on Sports is the book for sports fans searching for a deeper understanding of the games they watch and the people who play them. Sports Illustrated executive editor and bestselling author L. Jon Wertheim teams up with Tufts psychologist Sam Sommers to take readers on a wild ride into the inner world of sports. Through the prism of behavioral economics, neuroscience, and psychology, they reveal the hidden influences and surprising cues that inspire and derail us—on the field and in the stands—and by extension, in corporate board rooms, office settings, and our daily lives.

In this irresistible narrative romp, Wertheim and Sommers usher us from professional football to the NBA to Grand Slam tennis, from the psychology of athletes self-handicapping their performance in the boxing ring or the World Series, to an explanation of why even the glimpse of a finish line can lift us beyond ordinary physical limits. They explore why Tom Brady and other starting NFL quarterbacks all seem to look like fashion models; why fans of teams like the Cubs, Mets, and any franchise from Cleveland love rooting for a loser; why the best players make the worst coaches; why hockey goons (and fans) would rather fight at home than on the road; and why the arena t-shirt cannon has something to teach us about human nature.

This is Your Brain on Sports is an entertaining and thought-provoking journey into how psychology and behavioral science collide with the universe of wins-and-losses, coaching changes, underdogs, and rivalry games.

Published: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Crown Archetype