The Best Sports Books 2018

The world of Sports is littered with incredible stories of success, failure, comebacks and failures. But which is the best?

We’ve read and reviewed thousands of books on Sport and here you can find our favourites. Happy reading!

Good luck finding a copy of Bill Walsh’s definitive coaching textbook for less than $200. In fact, there are leather-bound, signed editions that fetch more than $1,000. Walk into the office of an NFL coach or front-office executive, and there is a good chance you will spot a well-worn copy with more highlights than white space. Of the 36,000 copies sold in 1997, a hefty percentage have found their way to the desks of grade school, high s...

Known to Sports Illustrated’s readers as “Dr. Z,” Zimmerman was the first NFL writer to routinely incorporate game-film analysis into his articles. A former offensive lineman at Stanford and Columbia, Zimmerman went on to play minor league football in the early 1960s. After his writing career was cut short by a series of strokes in 2008, the Pro Football Writer’s Association instituted the Paul “Dr. Z” Zimme...

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, Ben Fountain’s debut novel is a penetrating microcosm of George W. Bush’s Texas and an increasingly disillusioned Pat Tillman’s America during the Iraq and Afghanistan war era. Fountain unfurls fluid prose, biting metaphors, pitch-perfect ear for dialogue and uncanny powers of observation into an uproarious, razor-sharp satire of “the sheltering womb of all t...

Forbes recently valued the Dallas Cowboys franchise at $4 billion. How did the NFL evolve from a “localized sport based on gate receipts and played by oversized coal miners and West Texas psychopaths” to eclipse all other sports — specifically baseball — and become America’s game? That’s the theme of MacCambridge’s tome, which succeeds as the definitive history of the National Football League, an after...

Four decades before it became customary to Google oneself, Fred Exley lamented, “It was my destiny — unlike that of my father, whose fate it was to hear the roar of the crowd — to sit in the stands with most men and acclaim others. It was my fate, my destiny, my end, to be a fan.” Professional sports are the ultimate domain of the insider. Fame, fortune and popularity beyond the wildest dreams await the supremely talent...

Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius Of Dutch Football by David Winner

A seemingly impossible achievement that somehow weaves together art, architecture, landscape, history and football, David Winner’s explanation of the brilliance of Dutch football is a masterpiece. Brilliant Orange is a book about Dutch soccer that’s not really about Dutch soccer. It’s more about an enigmatic way of thinking peculiar to a people whose landscape is unrelentingly flat, mostly below sea level, and who o...

Inverting The Pyramid: The History Of Football Tactics by Jonathan Wilson

If you find soccer tactics to be even remotely interesting, this book is a godsend. Jonathan Wilson meticulously follows the trends and shifts in tactics, from when teams used to play with five forwards to the shift to a false 9, and details some of the more memorable tacticians and philosophies in the game. “An outstanding work … the [soccer] book of the decade.” —Sunday Business Post Inverting the Pyramid is a pioneering soccer boo...

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby’s autobiographical book about his relationship with Arsenal FC epitomizes the life of a football fan like no other. If you’re hesitant to read this book because of the horrible 2005 film starring Jimmy Fallon as a fan of the Red Sox, you’re making a massive mistake. A brilliant memoir from the beloved, bestselling author of Funny Girl, High Fidelity and About A Boy.  In America, it is soccer. But in Grea...

A Life Too Short: The Tragedy Of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng

A Life Too Short is the tragic account of German goalkeeper Robert Enke. Enke played for Benfica, Barcelona, Hannover and won 8 caps with Germany while battling depression. This book, written by his friend Ronald Reng, details his life and struggle. Winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, the biography of Robert Enke, the international footballer with the world at his feet who took his own life Here, award-winning writer ...

The Damned Utd by David Peace

Brian Clough’s doomed stint at Leeds United, where he replaced rival manager Don Revie, lasted all of eight matches. Clough had previously criticized both Revie and the Leeds United playing style, ensuring that his appointment was met with consternation among the Leeds players. In this book, author David Peace writes from Clough’s point of view as he fails to get his players behind him. It’s a brilliant look at one ...

Finding the Winning Edge, Bill Walsh, 1997

Good luck finding a copy of Bill Walsh’s definitive coaching textbook for less than $200. In fact, there are leather-bound, signed editions that fetch more than $1,000. Walk into the office of an NFL coach or front-office executive, and there is a good chance you will spot a well-worn copy with more highlights than white space. Of the 36,000 copies sold in 1997, a hefty percentage have found their way to the desks of grade scho...

A Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football, Paul Zimmerman, 1970 and 1984

Known to Sports Illustrated’s readers as “Dr. Z,” Zimmerman was the first NFL writer to routinely incorporate game-film analysis into his articles. A former offensive lineman at Stanford and Columbia, Zimmerman went on to play minor league football in the early 1960s. After his writing career was cut short by a series of strokes in 2008, the Pro Football Writer’s Association instituted the Paul “Dr. Z...

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Ben Fountain, 2012

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, Ben Fountain’s debut novel is a penetrating microcosm of George W. Bush’s Texas and an increasingly disillusioned Pat Tillman’s America during the Iraq and Afghanistan war era. Fountain unfurls fluid prose, biting metaphors, pitch-perfect ear for dialogue and uncanny powers of observation into an uproarious, razor-sharp satire of “the sheltering wom...

America’s Game, The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation, Michael MacCambridge, 2005

Forbes recently valued the Dallas Cowboys franchise at $4 billion. How did the NFL evolve from a “localized sport based on gate receipts and played by oversized coal miners and West Texas psychopaths” to eclipse all other sports — specifically baseball — and become America’s game? That’s the theme of MacCambridge’s tome, which succeeds as the definitive history of the National Football League...

A Fan’s Notes, Frederick Exley, 1968

Four decades before it became customary to Google oneself, Fred Exley lamented, “It was my destiny — unlike that of my father, whose fate it was to hear the roar of the crowd — to sit in the stands with most men and acclaim others. It was my fate, my destiny, my end, to be a fan.” Professional sports are the ultimate domain of the insider. Fame, fortune and popularity beyond the wildest dreams await the suprem...