If we’re going to take the sports angle to this tournament all the way, then at some point we need a “Moneyball” type to come in with formulas and spreadsheets to turn the whole thing on its head. Turns out that time is now, and that guy is me. I like my sports with a heavy dose of “advanced metrics” so I figured I’d try to bring a little of that flavor to our book tournament.
Let’s start by taking a closer look at what we mean by “best” book. In this format, what we really mean is “most head-to-head wins in a single elimination tournament.” ConfessionsÂ was named the best book by that standard, but it was really only picked over 6 of the 63 other books. We can’t really say for sure that one or more of those 57 other books wouldn’t have beatÂ Confessions if they had gone head to head. We assume this sort of transitivity (if A beats B and B beats C, A will beat C) when staging single elimination tournaments, but we know from experience that it doesn’t always hold. The most thorough measure would be to play out all 4,032 head-to-head matchups and see which book accumulates the most wins, but that’s a bit impractical. On the other hand, a biased sample of only 63 / 4,032 matchups may not be representative.