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A bold new theory of leadership drawn from elite captains throughout sports

Named one of the best business books of the year by CNBC, The New York Times, Forbes, strategy+business, The Globe and Mail, and Sports Illustrated

The sixteen most dominant teams in sports history had one thing in common: Each employed the same type of captain-a singular leader with an unconventional set of skills and tendencies. Drawing on original interviews with athletes, general managers, coaches, and team-building experts, Sam Walker identifies the seven core qualities of the Captain Class-from extreme doggedness and emotional control to tactical aggression and the courage to stand apart. Told through riveting accounts of pressure-soaked moments in sports history, The Captain Class will challenge your assumptions of what inspired leadership looks like.

Praise for The Captain Class

"Wildly entertaining and thought-provoking . . . makes you reexamine long-held beliefs about leadership and the glue that binds winning teams together."-Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, Chicago Cubs

"If you care about leadership, talent development, or the art of competition, you need to read this immediately."-Daniel Coyle, author of The Culture Code

"The insights in this book are tremendous."-Bob Myers, general manager, Golden State Warriors

"An awesome book . . . I find myself relating a lot to its portrayal of the out-of the-norm leader."-Carli Lloyd, co-captain, U.S. Soccer Women's National Team

"A great read . . . Sam Walker used data and a systems approach to reach some original and unconventional conclusions about the kinds of leaders that foster enduring success. Most business and leadership books lapse into clichés. This one is fresh."-Jeff Immelt, chairman and former CEO, General Electric

"I can't tell you how much I loved The Captain Class. It identifies something many people who've been around successful teams have felt but were never able to articulate. It has deeply affected my thoughts around how we build our culture."-Derek Falvey, chief baseball officer, Minnesota Twins

Review

"Wildly entertaining and thought-provoking . . . makes you reexamine long-held beliefs about leadership and the glue that binds winning teams together."-Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, Chicago Cubs

"If you care about leadership, talent development, or the art of competition, you need to read this immediately."-Daniel Coyle, author of The Culture Code

"The insights in this book are tremendous."-Bob Myers, general manager, Golden State Warriors

"An awesome book . . . I find myself relating a lot to its portrayal of the out-of the-norm leader."-Carli Lloyd, co-captain, U.S. Soccer Women's National Team

"A great read . . . Sam Walker used data and a systems approach to reach some original and unconventional conclusions about the kinds of leaders that foster enduring success. Most business and leadership books lapse into clichés. This one is fresh."-Jeff Immelt, chairman and former CEO, General Electric

"I can't tell you how much I loved The Captain Class. It identifies something many people who've been around successful teams have felt but were never able to articulate. It has deeply affected my thoughts around how we build our culture."-Derek Falvey, chief baseball officer, Minnesota Twins

"The Captain Class really resonated with me. It will absolutely be part of my thought process as we continue to build our roster."-Ryan Pace, general manager, Chicago Bears

"I've been involved with an undefeated high school team, an undefeated college team, and coached in two Super Bowls. The Captain Class made me think back to those teams. The captains were indeed characters with a bit of uniqueness and a certain grittiness."-Pat Ruel, offensive line coach, Seattle Seahawks

"The best book I've read this year."-Mike Dunlap, head basketball coach, Loyola Marymount University

"I couldn't agree more with the premise of The Captain Class. Like the greatest athletic teams, every elite team and fighting unit I've seen in the military that has displayed consistent excellence over time has a leader like Sam Walker describes."-Jason Armagost, U.S. Air Force brigadier general, commander of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar

"The most fabulous book on freakish sporting success and leadership traits commonly shared across the greatest teams of all time."-Rich Buchanan, performance director, Swansea City FC (English Premier League)

"A stunning mix of research and narrative."-Susan Cain, bestselling author of Quiet

"I'm not even a sports nut and I couldn't put it down."-Dan Heath, co-author of the New York Times bestseller Made to Stick

"One of the most surprising, best-written-and fun-sports books published in recent years."-Don Van Natta Jr., Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author of First Off the Tee

Excerpt

One Alpha Lions Identifying the World's Greatest Teams This was not the first time I had taken a stab at ranking the world's greatest sports teams. It was, however, the first time I'd attempted this while sober. There is no better, faster way to start an argument with another sports fan than to trot out the name of a team that you consider to be unrivaled in its accomplishments. Once you go down this road, you're in for a long night. The only redeeming quality of this line of debate is that the more rounds you buy, the sharper your analysis seems to become. I had never written any of my own rankings down, but I knew that others had. So I decided to launch my study by gathering up every such list that had been published anywhere in the world, from the page of prestigious newspapers to the most homespun websites to see if they had come to any consensus. I found about ninety of them. After I spread them out on my dining room table and attacked them with a yellow highlighter, it was immediately clear that this genre of sports-page punditry suffered from some empirical weaknesses. Some of the lists didn't bother offering a methodology-their conclusions were based on the collective opinions of a bunch of guys in the office. The ones that did use numbers were often statistically dubious. The most common procedural error was something known as "selection bias," a gaffe which has long plagued all kinds of polls, surveys, and scientific experiments. This occurs when researchers base their studies on samples that aren't large enough, or random enough, to offer a representative cross section of the whole. The telltale sign was that most of these lists had a suspiciously regional flavor. Rankings from England, for example, were clogged with the names of soccer clubs like Liverpool and Manchester United, while those from Down Under went heavy on rugby, cricket, and Australian rules football. What this told me was that these list-makers had failed to cast a wide enough net. In many cases, they hadn't even considered teams from outside their own national borders. Another problem was that the same gangs of standbys kept showing up over and over. In the United States, for instance, the 1927 New York Yankees, the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the 1990s Chicago Bulls, and the New England Patriots of the 2000s made nearly every list. The only difference was the order in which they were ranked. This suggested that my fellow analysts had probably allowed themselves to be prejudiced by the candidates other people had already anointed. To build a proper list, I realized, I would have to ignore all the others, put on blinders to block my own assumptions, and start fresh. I would have to consider every team from every major sport anywhere in the world through the fullness of history. The first step was to locate reliable historical records for every professional or international sports league, association, confederation, or annual tournament, from Australia to Uruguay-and to isolate every team that either had won a major title or trophy or achieved an exceptional winning streak. This process, which took months to complete, yielded a spreadsheet of candidates that ran into the thousands. To set some parameters for my research and filter this group down to a more manageable number, I set out to answer three fundamental questions. Question 1: What qualifies as a team? Most of the rankings on my dining room table neglected to deal with one vital issue: What constitutes a team in the first place? A sport like ice dancing, where two people perform together in front of a panel of judges, was often given the same weight as a sport like rugby union, where two groups of fifteen athletes compete head-to-head. The members of Olympic boxing teams, who enter the ring alone, were lumped together with volleyball players, who compete side by side. The dictionary definition of

Annotation

The global sports editor of The Wall Street Journal identifies the highest-performing sports teams in history and determines what they share in common: specific leadership qualities of the unconventional men and women who led them.

Contributors

Author Sam Walker

Product Details

DUIN H5NHOPI9GP2

GTIN 9780399591198

Release Date 03.05.2017

Language English

Pages 352

Product type Paperback

Dimension 9.25 x 6.14 x 0.91  inches

Product Weight 15.45 ounces

The Captain Class

The Hidden Force That Creates the World's Greatest Teams

Sam Walker

£9.97

Seller: Dodax

Delivery date: between Tuesday, October 29 and Thursday, October 31

Condition: New

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