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By Mike Brearley, NOT Sam Mendes!.,
This review is from: The Art of Captaincy (Paperback)
First thing you need to know; this book isn't by Sam Mendes, who only wrote the foreword! It's by Mike Brearley, England captain for one of cricket's most interesting periods.
Most readers will come to this book through a love of cricket and, as cricket-lovers are often intelligent, thoughtful people, few will be disappointed. Brearley is a qualified psychologist, and his training shows not only in the way he approached the post of captain, but in his ability to understand the complex nature of what goes on during a game of cricket, with all its tactical subtleties and unexpected developments.
Though cricket shapes this book, its subject is captaincy in a much wider sense. And its lessons on getting best from people may be applied in many walks of life, not just sport, not just - as others have noticed - business. Someone I know used to teach leadership skills in public service, with a special emphasis on "managing change" (something needed all to often in public service). His core texts were this book, Machiavelli's The Prince (Penguin Classics), and Gramsci's Prison Notebooks: Selections. This combination has also proved very fruitful for another acquaintance, engaged in organising and developing in a multinational business.
And on top of all that, it's beautifully written with a gentle, dry wit. A huge number of illustrations, from every era, are inset in the text. That atmosphere of gentlemanly conduct and fair play, so integral to cricket at its best, is in evidence on every page. If you like this kind of cerebral, stimulating, cricket stuff, you might enjoy a book which Brearley also recommends, the great C L R James' Beyond A Boundary.