Faculty Reading Recommendations

Andrew Zimbalist, Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics

Andrew Zimbalist

Sports Economist and Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics, Andrew Zimbalist has served in the Economics Department at Smith since 1974. Zimbalist has consulted in Latin America for the United Nations Development Program, the U.S. Agency for International Development and numerous companies. He has consulted in the sports industry for players' associations, cities, companies and leagues and is a much sought-after sports commentator. He is the author of 19 books and numerous articles. For more information, see Professor Zimbalist's webpage.

Here are Professor Zimbalist's responses to our questions:

Q. What are three books in your field that you feel are most helpful/interesting for lay readers who want to learn more?

A. The top three is never an easy question to answer and I think my answer would vary from one month to another. But here are three that I think help to define and penetrate the terrain of sports economics pretty well:

  • Jim Quirk and Rod Fort, Pay Dirt. Princeton University Press, 1992.
  • Roger Noll and A. Zimbalist, Sports, Jobs and Taxes. Brooking Institution Press, 1997.
  • Stefan Szymanski and Tim Kuypers. Soccernomics. Nation Books, 2009.

Q. What books have influenced your life?

A. This one is even more difficult.  I tend not to have experienced epiphanies, but see my perspectives as evolving gradually.  I remember in high school feeling liberated after reading Kazantzakis’ Zorba the Greek and Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, and feeling philosophically rooted after reading Thoreau’s On Walden Pond and Sartre’s Being and Nothingness.  Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation is the most influential in developing my thinking about the role of economics and markets in understanding society.

Q. What are you reading now?

A. I am finishing an excellent treatment on the evolution of the place of college football in American culture by a literature professor at Oregon State, who was a former football player at Notre Dame and for the Kansas City Chiefs, as well as a participant in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s – Michael Oriard’s, Bowled Over: Big-Time College Football from the Sixties to the BCS Era, and also Michael Lewis’s Panic on the history of financial crises in the United States.  The latter is mostly journalistic and I would not enthusiastically recommend.