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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 (580 ratings)

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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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A deeply insightful read into leadership

it starts slow and might seem overly deceptive in chapter 1, but that's necessary to understand the content.

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Enjoyed the info not the narrator

I enjoyed the subject matter and respect all of the time the author invested gathering and researching the topic. I did not enjoy the narrator (especially how he tried to mimick someone's accent). This was distracting.

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Narration and content detract from the main points

Narrator does fake accents throughout the entire book, which is unnecessary and annoying. Quotes are often shouted loudly because they take place during sporting events, and this ruins the listening experience. Content wise, this book spends too much time recounting sporting events as if it were a radio broadcast of the game as well as explaining the methodology for the research and why certain hypotheses turned out to be incorrect. This is unfortunate, because the actual results of the research are quite interesting.

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Great book on leadership

Phenomenal insight and a great read. Would like to see more development on part 3 and the coaches role in the partnership and development of captains.

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Engaging analysis of Captain role

Thoughtful review and insights of data-based evidence of key role of captain on winningest teams. Anecdotes not only illustrative but super-useful to this working-mother of two teenage boys! I read it for leadership insights at work, I’ve also gain a refreshed dialogue with the kids. “Mom, we stayed up so late talking because you’re finally NOT boring!” Thank you Sam Walker!

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Weird Narration, Thought-Provoking Book

The conclusions of the book were really interesting, but the narrator used weird accents throughout.

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Fascinating and entertaining

The Captain Class shows examples of effective team leadership throughout interesting research and data analysis. The sports figures interviewed were interesting. Fascinating and entertaining read. The narrator is great, and the book lends itself to audio.

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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.