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The Captain Class

The Hidden Force That Creates the World's Greatest Teams
Narrated by: Keith Szarabajka
Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (481 ratings)
Regular price: $28.00
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Publisher's Summary

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 book taught me that there’s no cookie-cutter way to lead. Leading is not just what Hollywood tells you. It’s not the big pregame speech. It’s how you carry yourself every day, how you treat the people around you, who you are as a person.” (Mitchell Trubisky, quarterback, Chicago Bears)

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, US 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)

©2017 Sam Walker (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Must read

Become a better leader and recognize the attributes and key components that make them up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mo
  • 02-03-19

Awesome look into the greatest teams in history

Incredible look into the worlds greatest dynasties. You won’t be able to put the book down. After a decade of studying the great dynasties of the past, Mr. Walker tells the stories of how and why these teams were able to maintain their success.

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must read for anyone with an office job

The insights from this book are highly applicable to the business world. I gave it to a number of coworkers.

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Fascinating In-depth Angle on Leadership

Fascinating, research-driven content yet with an enjoyable to read narrative on the impact of true leadership, captain or not.

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Great look into what makes a great captain.

Loved the narration and the methodology that went into writing the book. Not a subject most care about but I think coaches should give this a listen.

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Spot on

Loved this book. Once it got into part two, the on the Field, and off the field, stories supported by thorough academic analysis are phenomenal. A great break from traditional leadership text books.

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Great Depth and Analysis of Team Sports

What made the experience of listening to The Captain Class the most enjoyable?

It was empirical, objective, and had a great reader.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Captain Class?

The amount of research that went into selecting what a "team sport" is. This is where the book started. It made the research credible and selective. It was purposeful research.

What does Keith Szarabajka bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His tone is mature with little sensationalism. It really brings it home.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The anecdotes of each team leader and their teams were especially great. Particularly the story of the Cuban volleyball team.

Any additional comments?

I would strongly recommend this book to anybody who has played sports and seeks a higher understanding of how teams stay atop of their game.

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The right captain matters

Great breakdown of how the right people can help anyone win. I love sports but I learned so much from this book.

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One of the best sports books ever

This book will captivate you in several ways. Myself a former professional athlete, now training pro athletes, has believed that the best leaders names are Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Karch Kiraly, Messi, etc. This book uses amazing stories eloquently shared to reveal that what pop culture thinks of great leadership is very wrong. Walker brings lots of evidence to back up these views. This is book I will be giving to all my athletes and reading several times myself. You won’t regret your purchase or the time spent with this book.

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Narration is superb

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book because it's interesting to hear how different styles of leadership in sports have been effective in different situations. It's applicable outside of sports.

What did you like best about this story?

I like that the sport examples span countries and decades, and is not just the famous American teams you might expect.

What about Keith Szarabajka’s performance did you like?

This is a phenomenal narrator. He did voices and accents while still feeling authentic, not cheesy. He made this audiobook really come to life.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, I think it's one you need to listen to in pieces.