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By Lindsay Risto

The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams

By Sam Walker, Random House, 2017

During moments of great achievement – and especially great loss – all leaders need to be a consistent source of inspiration for their team, driving each individual to aim higher and dig deeper to achieve the common goal. Perhaps no leaders have felt this more than the team captains of some of sports’ greatest dynasties.

TCC Cover SmallIn an effort to settle the question, “What are the greatest sports teams of all time?” Sam Walker, deputy editor for enterprise at The Wall Street Journal researched thousands of winning teams. At the end of his pursuit, he was left with a list of the 16 most dominant teams of all time, hailing from all corners of the globe. This, however, left Walker with another question: What did these teams have in common?

Was it top talent? Drive or passion? A perfectly executed game plan? All of these attributes definitely helped the cause, but when Walker compared all 16 teams, he found that the secret to a team’s success rested in the leadership of their captain. The team captain may not have always been the most elite or successful player on the squad, but their team’s success was always innately hard-wired into their leadership approach.

Set to the backdrop of each of these teams’ greatest moment – think Bill Russell’s legendary “Coleman Play” in the 1957 NBA Finals or Barcelona’s “Figo Game” in 2000, against Real Madrid – and backed by statistics, Walker uses his book The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams, to take the reader through what he has determined to be “Seven Traits of Elite Captains”; the commonalities found within all 16 team captains.

Exciting and entertaining, set in the fast-paced world of sports, The Captain Class is an inspiring read for anyone – not just the sports-savvy – who finds themselves leading a group to bigger wins or through a particularly rough patch. As Daniel Coyel, bestselling author of The Talent Code, said, “If you care about leadership, talent development or the art of competition, you need to read this immediately.”

This mixture of research and narrative is sure to challenge your assumptions of what inspired leadership looks like. Managers, directors, executives or anyone in a leadership position will want to examine which of the “seven traits” they possess and how to incorporate the remainder into their leadership repertoire to further drive their team to success. All leaders can be the team captain of a great dynasty with the help of The Captain Class. The best part, with this book, you won’t even have to break a sweat to win the match.

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