In a couple of weeks it will finally be official. Marty, Stacey, and I will finally be paperback writers. Yes, the paperback version of The Wages of Wins – with a cool new cover — is due to be released by Stanford University Press on September 17.
As we note at our newly designed website, the paperback is not simply a re-packaging of the hardcover version. No, The Wages of Wins has been extensively updated. And behind those updates is a little story.
The Paperback Story
Regular readers of The Wages of Wins Journal might remember that I dropped out of sight for a few weeks last April and May. It was at this time that the updating of the book took place.
The process of updating the book actually began last fall. At that time, Stanford Press approached us about issuing a paperback version of the book. After some discussion, we decided that, since so much of what we talk about concerns the NBA, it would be a good idea to issue the paperback in the fall of 2007, giving us just enough time to include statistics from the 2006-07 NBA season. At first, we agreed to update the book by April 15. But, given that data analysis takes time, we actually finished revising on May 14.
A few issues to note about these updates: First, the basic stories we tell in The Wages of Wins were unchanged. In other words, the data that has become available since we finished writing the hardcover edition in January of 2006 were consistent with the stories we originally told. In one sense it’s good to know that that the tales we are telling have an enduring quality. Of course, this also means the updates to this edition may look like just the same old stuff.
Actually, some of what may look like the same old stuff is really just the same old stuff. In other words, and this is the second point I would make about the updates, we were not able to update everything in four weeks. Specifically we did not update our analysis of star power in the NBA reported in Chapter Five (which you can see HERE). Furthermore, our analysis of the determinants of player productivity in the NBA (in Chapter Seven) and the NFL (in Chapter Nine), were also not updated.
Loving New York
Although our basic stories survived the updates, there is one sentiment expressed in the hardcover that did change. In Chapter Four we discuss our hatred of the New York Yankees. In our original text we did not make much effort to differentiate New York and the Yankees. Since the hardcover has been published we have not changed our attitude towards the Yankees. But if we had any ill feelings with respect to New York, those have gone away completely.
Obviously this change began with Malcolm Gladwell’s review of our book in The New Yorker and discussion on his website (there is a page at http://www.wagesofwins.com/ that has compiled much of what Gladwell has said about our work). Beyond Gladwell, though, there was the review of our book by Joe Nocera of the New York Times (also linked to at our website and in this forum). And of course both Marty and I have written several columns for the very same New York Times (links to these are also given at our website). Given all of this, our attitude about New York has changed (although I think it’s safe to say we are still none too fond of the Yankees).
Updating our Website
As I have already mentioned, with the upcoming release of the paperback, The Wages of Wins website (http://www.wagesofwins.com/) has been updated. These changed include details on the paperback, updates of our list of academic articles related to the book, and a page detailing some technical aspects of the book. The website has also been re-designed to make it easier to navigate and hopefully easier on the eyes. Of course easier is in the eye of the beholder. If you like the new look (or you don’t) please let me know in the comments.
Ordering the Paperback
Okay, time for a sales pitch. Relative to the hardcover, the paperback is cheaper, contains more information, and is more current (plus I really like the new cover). So if you were putting off buying The Wages of Wins, or simply need to find a gift for someone you like (or someone you don’t like, we are not that picky) now is the time to stop waiting. Well, in two weeks it will be time to stop waiting.
As always, thanks for your interest in our work. And again, we look forward to hearing what you think about all the updates.