“ Over the years, many books have promised to reveal the secret of building successful teams. But now Sam Walker has actually gone and done it. He’s given us an idea-driven, myth-busting gem of a book that is insightful, useful and hellaciously fun to read. If you care about leadership, talent development, or the art of competition, you need to read this immediately. ”
Dan Coyle, New York Times bestselling author ofÂ The Talent Code, The Secret Race, and Lance Armstrongâ??s War
“ In The Captain Class, Sam Walker gives us important and original insights into the mysterious ingredients of transformative leadership. A stunning mix of research and narrative. ”
Susan Cain, author of the #1 bestseller The Quiet
“ Well-researched, wildly entertaining, and thought-provoking. In The Captain Class, Sam Walker presents compelling narratives about the secret ingredient to the greatest teams of all time – and quickly has the reader reexamining long-held beliefs about leadership and the glue that binds winning teams together. ”
Theo Epstein, President of the Chicago Cubs
“ Sam Walker has unlocked one of sports’ greatest mysteries: the secret to the success of 16 team dynasties. On nearly every page, you’ll be shaking your head at another revelation about how a team’s dominance is hard-wired to the team captain’s leadership. The Captain Class is one of the most surprising, best-written—and fun—sports books published in recent years. ”
Don Van Natta Jr., ESPN investigative reporter, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author of First Off the Tee, Her Way and Wonder Girl
“ The Captain Class is a brilliant hybrid: one part detective story and one part leadership book, set in the world of sports, and dedicated to a fascinating mystery: What sets apart the greatest teams of all time? I'm not even a sports nut and I couldn't put it down. ”
Dan Heath, co-author of theÂ New York TimesÂ bestsellersÂ Made to Stick, Switch,Â andÂ Decisive
In 2004, I took a leave from my job to write a book about competing in America’s toughest fantasy-baseball expert competition. My strategy was to spend many days and nights with real major-league teams collecting inside information. The club I followed most closely was the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox franchise had a long and glorious history of failure and heartbreak dating back to 1918, the last time it had won a World Series. The moment I met them at spring training in February, I found little evidence that this season would be any different. Despite a sprinkling of stars, the roster was largely composed of misfits and castoffs—oddly shaped and sloppily bearded party animals with unconventional skills that other teams didn’t value. Behind the scenes I found them to be candid and funny, unpredictable and hopelessly undisciplined—a profile that would earn them the nickname The Idiots.
When Boston fell nine and a half games behind their rivals, the dynastic New York Yankees, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. I believed my first impression had been spot-on. The Red Sox were nothing like the dominant teams I had known. They weren’t championship contenders.Continue Reading