The Art of Captaincy Paperback – 30 Nov 2001
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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
A classic work republished to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the momentous Ashes series of 1981 when Mike Brearley led England to victory.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Overall a must for any cricketer old enough to read with a desire to captain a cricket side at whatever level.
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! :)
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
At the time the book was written or MB was captain, the ideas were surely miles ahead. These days with video archives and analysis, a run of the mill first class coach worth his... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Buysbrats
A very over-rated book. Brearley is living off very average 'past glories' and at times spouts out the obvious.Published 5 months ago by Giddo007
An interesting review of what makes a good leader on and off the sports field and in the professional environmentPublished 5 months ago by Glyn Horner
Excellent book. Even if you don't see yourself as captaincy material, any cricket fan will enjoy the insghts.Published 7 months ago by leadingyou2010