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The Art of Captaincy Paperback – 30 Nov 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Channel 4 Books; Reprints edition (30 Nov. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752261843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752261843
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 256,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Amazon Review

In what is widely considered the definitive work on the subject, The Art Of Captaincy, Mike Brearley, a psychoanalyst by trade these days--but most famously the England cricket captain behind that dramatic 1981 Ashes victory--delivers his thesis on what makes a leader, on and off the pitch. In his five-year Test career Brearley, a long-standing county captain but never much better than a relatively modestly talented cricketer himself, led England 31 times--winning 18, drawing 9, losing only 4--and explores the key elements of his theories via candid reflections on those experiences.

Willis, who was to bowl the next over, was indignant with Botham. His main concern was that I shouldn't let him bowl anymore ... When I arrived at slip, Botham was fuming too. Meanwhile Lever was disgruntled at being taken off ... and the umpires were threatening to report me [for allowing bouncers to be bowled at the tail-enders]. And we were in a winning position! To restore some sanity to the proceedings, I told Hendricks to get loose to bowl the next over.

A forthright, unapologetically intelligent analyst of the players he captained, and of his own influence, or lack of it, on those team's successes and failures, Brearley brings top-flight cricket to life in a way that speaks to both the cognoscenti and the novice.

With sections on team selection, the captain's role in the dressing room and on tour, as well as detailed consideration of tactics, Brearley's scope is impressively broad, but it is his ability to dissect that great intangible of sport--the personality of the individual--that stamps his theorising with the hallmark of greatness. He is particularly fascinating on the future England captains he led in 1981--Ian Botham ("powerful, inventive, sound...he became highly sensitive to criticism"), Bob Willis ("blinkered as a captain and had an abstracted air") and David Gower ("like Willis, he appeared to be bulldozed by Botham").

Out of print for far too long, the 1985 text has been constructively updated for the 2001 Ashes Series--including new photographs and Brearley's typically adept study of current England captain Nasser Hussain. This is a classic work: engrossing, informative, and as entertaining as it is intelligent. --Alex Hankin

Book Description

A classic work republished to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the momentous Ashes series of 1981 when Mike Brearley led England to victory.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When the Art of Captaincy first came out in 1985, memories of the swashbuckling capture of the Ashes in 1981 were still vivid in many people's minds. Although this is no longer the case, Brearley's work is equally applicable to the drive for success in any field and the man-management skills required of any successful leader.
Nonetheless cricket is its prime focus, and the characters of Brearley's age such as Botham, Willis and Gower still capture the imagination as brilliant competitors and, more importantly for Brearley, as leaders of the England side. Honest in his exposition of his contemporaries' flaws as captains, the author never belittles their integrity as individuals, helping his own objective analysis to be respected on its own merits. Whilst the revised edition pays no more than token regard to the current resurgence under Hussain and Fletcher, Brearley's expert psycho-analytical approach stands the test of time.
With helpful insight into man management of players and selectors alike, as well as a detailed background to the less glamorous administrative and logistical duties of a county captain, Brearley has much to offer to captains and players at all levels of the game.
The lucid and elegant prose makes for an extremely readable and readily digestible work, and the author's beguiling modesty and understated humanity widen its accessibility beyond the ordinary fanatic for our national game.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This seminal work on captaincy has never been matched. Brearley's ideas on cricket captaincy show a huge understanding of the game and of the human mind.
Overall a must for any cricketer old enough to read with a desire to captain a cricket side at whatever level.
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By M. V. Clarke VINE VOICE on 18 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
Mike Brearley's book is a thorough insight into the pressures, challenges and pleasures of captaining a cricket team. Brearley's reputation as captain is, of course, legendary, and although he played before my time, reading this book made it clear why he was such a gifted captain. His analytical skill is phenomenal; the anecdotes he recounts of obtaining wickets with unorthodox methods are a real testimony to his skill and the obvious effect he had on team members in persuading them to follow his plans. Reading this would improve anyone's captaincy - the attitudes towards field placing, questioning so many of the conventions, how to manage bowling changes and how to react to the match situation reflect a highly professional approach. Brearley is candid about his own successes and failures, acknowledges the influence of other great captains, and provides many telling anecdotes. Well worth reading for any cricket lover.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Unsung hero of 1981. Mike Brearley systemically takes you through the art of captaincy. He teaches upcoming captains to have foresight even from a young age. Must read for budding captains of any sport and cricket fans
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I came across this gem several years ago and bought the paperback. I'm please to see that it's now out in kindle format, so I've bought that as well. Mike Brearley is such a thoughtful person, and a joy to listen to as well. There's an excellent audio podcast of Mike being interviewed by Michael Atherton over on the BBC Radio 5 Test Match Special website. I'll post the link on my website.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you like cricket, books on aspects of cricket history and cricket memoir are wonderfully entertaining as they tell a good story. However, most such books fail to give the reader much insight or understanding of the complexities that you need to understand the essentially simple game of cricket. Overlapping on both historical text and memoir, Brearley's book fills that gap perfectly. Cricket has countless nuances and Brearley expertly covers most of them here, in a way that not only entertains but informs. No other cricket book I have read covers tactics, strategies and tips as thoroughly as this one. Not suitable as an introduction to cricket in itself but an essential text for those wishing to further understand the subtleties of cricket.

Also serves as an insight on wider leadership issues too, not just cricket. Those with responsiblity for managing people in the workplace and similar areas would be well advised to read, study and apply any lessons learned.

A truly magnificent book - we await the Kindle version! :)
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Format: Paperback
The fact that this is the definitive reference for any aspiring, or existing cricket captain is without doubt. Reading it should certainly be a pre-requisite for any potential England captain (sadly, I suspect that this has not been the case in recent years).
However, I have two main gripes about this book. One is that it should not be referenced to Sam Mendes, who only wrote the forward.
The second is the number of spelling, grammatical and other errors that litter the text. I have never read a book with so many typos. It left me somewhat exasperated and wondering if an editor has ever so much as glanced at it.
Despite numerous changes in the rules of the game and indeed the manner in which it is played, this book is still relevant today. But it desperately needs re-editing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a club cricketer and coach for 52 years, I first knew this book first in the 1970's when I got Mike Brearley to put a congratulatory message in it as a prize for a Colt of the Year. This book is a complete and necessary read for all cricketers, let alone captains and the reprint which I bought for the club captain (who already had the original) to hand round younger players to read, is brilliantly enhanced by the forward of Sam Mendes.
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