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Saturday, February 17, 2018
Interview with author Mike Nemeth
128 Billion to 1: Ten Steps to Beat the Odds and Win Your NCAA Tourney Office Pool
1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
In 2003 I watched my under-respected alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, defeat a team the experts considered far superior to win the Big Ten championship. None of the experts on TV could explain the outcome using traditional statistics and inside-the-box thinking. Intrigued, I did a forensic study of the game and discovered that traditional statistics and inside-the-box thinking misrepresent hundreds of games and dozens of teams every season! As a hobby I collected statistics and tracked the experts’ erroneous predictions for thirteen years and eventually realized that the game simply needed a new set of statistics to properly explain outcomes and accurately rank teams relative to one another. The ah ha moment led to the realization that diehard basketball fans don’t make poor guesses when filling their March Madness brackets; they make poorly informed guesses. I believe all fans should know how and why they go wrong.
2. What is it about and who is your targeted reader?
The book is about two concepts that travel hand-in-hand. The first is that a correct set of statistics better explains the game and better reveals the relative strength in the tournament field. The second is that the tournament is not designed to reveal the best team in the country; it is designed to produce chaos and reward a fortunate survivor with the trophy. When fans take these two facts into consideration they will improve their chances of winning their office pool. My target reader is anyone who fills a March madness bracket.
3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
Beyond its relevance to basketball, I hope the book makes readers aware that over one hundred years of conventional thinking can easily be overthrown by a little critical investigation and simple logic. If true in basketball, where else might that be true?
4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Writing is easiest, most rewarding, most beneficial, when the author is making the reader aware of a truth or an injustice or a social problem. Writing with a purpose should be the goal of all writers. So, pick a cause and write about it. That’s when we’re meaningful to society.
5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
The obvious trend is toward an oversupplied marketplace with too many books, too few readers, too little time and not enough profits. Most of us write because we are compelled by some invisible force to do so, but most of us would also hope that someone other than our moms would read what we write. I also see a resurgence of independent booksellers who provide access to more diverse titles than do the major chain stores.
6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
The biggest challenge was to find a medium and format that suited the material. An explanation of the new statistics was first published as an article in the New York Times in 2011 under the title The Missing Ingredient but the article length could not do the whole story justice. On the other hand, the full story, now published as 128 Billion to 1, was too short to qualify as a trade paperback. Luckily, Morgan James Publishing has introduced a Minibuk format, a paperback of around one hundred pages that can readily be displayed at checkout counters. Voila! 128 Billion to 1 had a path to market.
7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
128 Billion to 1 is short, fun to read, relatively less expensive than other books, and is timely. The official release date is December 12, 2017 which means it can be read before March Madness brackets have to be filled. It also makes a great Holiday present for that person who already has everything else.
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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource."