Tennis Identity

Book review: “This Is Your Brain On Sports, The Science of Underdogs, (and more!)”

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This is your brain on sports bookThe full title of this one is “This Is Your Brain On Sports, The Science of Underdogs, The Value of Rivalry, And What We Can Learn From The T-Shirt Cannon.” Now you know why we shortened the headline.

The read is written by Sports Illustrated executive editor, sports commentator and bestselling author L. Jon Wertheim and Tufts psychologist Sam Sommers.

In essence it presents insight into the psyche of modern athletics, the hidden influences and unique cues that govern sports, athletes and the often crazy fans.

Did you ever wonder, for example,why Tom Brady and other NFL quarterbacks look like fashion models? (Answer: a radio host opins that when boys are growing up, the good looking guy is always chosen as the QB. Natural selection.) Why fans of teams like the Mets, Cubs and any Cleveland team love rooting for a loser? (See the chapter “Why Rooting For The Mets is Like Building That IKEA Desk.”) Why do the best players make the worst coaches? (That’s an easy one- their players will never live up to their personal standard.)

“It was only after delving into this unique tome that I learned that Mookie Wilson was available for bar mitzvah greetings via telephone, or that I can go elk hunting with Ryan Klesko for a mere nine grand. This information alone is worth many times the cost of this eye-opening and entertaining book.” — Bob Costas



“This is Your Brain on Sports…” does have a bit of a textbook feel to it- perhaps owing to the fact the co-author is a Tufts shrink. Despite the academic style it is a smart, light-hearted read that moves quickly. Consider this fuel for your next ball game whatever your sport.




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