Experts > Simon Kuper

Simon Kuper's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Simon Kuper recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Simon Kuper's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Goalkeepers are Different

Recommended by Simon Kuper, Alexander, and 2 others.

Simon KuperThis is again a bit of a cult book. Brian Glanville is the legendary football journalist, he’s been doing it for, I think, 60 years – his age is never clear to me, but he must be in his late seventies now. He ghosted the autobiography of a famous pre-war footballer when he was 17 and has been in the business ever since. And he’s written wonderful histories – he’s a very, very fine writer and he... (Source)

AlexanderGoalkeepers are Different is my absolute favourite. It’s really good because this player didn’t expect to be a goalie in the first place, but then their goalkeeper got injured at school. So when they next played a school match, he was put in goal. It turns out he was a really good goalie. (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

The 40th anniversary edition of the classic inside account of a season at a professional football club

"The best book about football I have read by someone who has actually played the game...everyone who has ever dreamt of a sporting career should read it" - Nick Hornby

The season began so well for the Republic of Ireland international midfielder Eamon Dunphy at Millwall - and ended in disillusionment and being on the transfer list. In this classic memoir, he charts the progress of the team during a season that begins with such high hopes and is filled throughout...
Recommended by Simon Kuper, and 1 others.

Simon KuperThis is a cult book among those of us who like reading about football. It came out in the 1970s when really no one was publishing books about football. Eamon Dunphy was a very run-of-the-mill professional footballer in London, playing for Millwall, of Irish origin. And he sat down with a journalist to write this book about what it’s really like to be a footballer: The daily life, the grind, the... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

If any one thing, Brilliant Orange is about Dutch space and a people whose unique conception of it has led to the most enduring arts, the weirdest architecture, and a bizarrely cerebral form of soccer—Total Football—that led in 1974 to a World Cup finals match with arch-rival Germany, and more recently to a devastating loss against Spain in 2010. With its intricacy and oddity, it continues to mystify and delight observers around the world. As David Winner wryly observes, it is an expression of the Dutch psyche that has a shared ancestry with Mondrian's Broadway Boogie... more
Recommended by Simon Kuper, and 1 others.

Simon KuperThis is about Holland and Dutch football and what makes it special. I grew up in Holland, so I have a particular tie to this book. Actually I was in Amsterdam the winter that David Winner was there writing his book. We were both writing books and we’d occasionally meet for dinner. And I got to know David and I really liked him, but I thought ‘Poor old David, he’s going to write a book about Dutch... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

The memoir behind the documentary One Night in Turin, the inside story of a World Cup that changed our footballing nation forever

It was the World Cup semi-finals. On 4th July, 1990, in a stadium in Turin, Gazza cried, England lost and football changed forever.

This is the inside story of Italia '90 - we meet the players, the hooligans, the agents, the journalists, the fans. Writer Pete Davies was given nine months full access to the England squad and their manager Bobby Robson. One Night in Turin is his thrilling insider account of the summer when...
Recommended by Simon Kuper, David Baddiel, and 2 others.

Simon KuperIt’s gripping and it’s written in a very sort of populist, laddish style, but it works. The characters make it work, and the setting of Italy during the World Cup. It doesn’t matter that that World Cup is now history. (Source)

David BaddielThe cover is Gazza crying, which is now rather clichéd, but then it was an icon of the change in attitude towards football and men, and how emotional they can be about football. (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...


Fever Pitch

The Twentieth Anniversary Edition


Fever Pitch is Nick Hornby's million-copy-selling, award-winnning football classic

'A spanking 7-0 away win of a football book. . . inventive, honest, funny, heroic, charming' Independent

For many people watching football is mere entertainment, to some it's more like a ritual; but to others, its highs and lows provide a narrative to life itself.

But, for Nick Hornby, his devotion to the game has provided one...

David PapineauSporting fandom is very interesting philosophically: it’s a case of partiality, partisanship, valuing something when you can see that what you value isn’t going to be valued by other people. (Source)

Simon KuperNick Hornby doesn’t revel in, ‘Oh I’m such a football geek, isn’t that funny?’ He treats it as something suspect. (Source)

David BaddielIn about 1990 there was this sea change in the way people expressed themselves about football – more emotionally. Nick’s book sets the stall out for that. (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

Don't have time to read Simon Kuper's favorite books? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.