Strategy + Business

“This wonderfully written and wildly entertaining study of the most winning sports teams in history has more to say about leadership, engagement, and the chemistry that sparks and sustains extraordinary achievement than a decade’s worth of leadership books.”

—Sally Helgesen

New York Times

“A ‘well-told book about leadership’ with ‘genuine insight’ that ‘intelligently masquerades as a book about sports.’ “

—Andrew Ross Sorkin

Sunday Times (UK)

“A remarkable book, one that articulates much of what you feel about great teams but have perhaps been afraid to express…. Sam Walker has done a terrific job. His book is well worth reading.”

—David Walsh, Chief Sportswriter

Globe and Mail

“The book I most enjoyed reading this year…. A fascinating book for sports fans, full of insider stories on top teams and the sources of their success. But it also offers leadership insights applicable outside of sports.”

—Harvey Schachter


“Combining statistics with epic stories from the playing field, Walker compellingly makes his case that captains possessing traits not usually assumed as shared among leaders are what make empires. A fascinating sports study with much wider-reaching application, featuring page-turning tales of personal triumph and cogent analysis.”

—Starred review

Apple Books

“Walker’s book is both a compelling sports argument-starter and an easy-to-swallow guide to effective management, suited to barstool and boardroom alike.”

The Times (UK)

“The examples in Walker’s book are striking. There’s a temptation for captains to conform to the accepted stereotype of what a heroic leader should be. Walker’s book utterly—and rightly in my view—dispels that notion.”

—Mike Atherton, former captain, England national cricket team


“The book doubles as a guide to success in business, with pointed commentary on what makes leaders effective or ineffective.”


“When we think about the athletes who make their teams great, we tend to think about high-scoring hotshots. But in his new book The Captain Class, Sam Walker argues that while star players help, the true hallmark of a top-tier team is a captain who works hard behind the scenes.”

—Sarah Begley

Business Insider

“Sam Walker discovered fundamental truths about team dynamics, whether in pro sports teams or corporations: Strong leadership from the top is crucial, but only works when there’s a talented leader on the field.”

—Richard Feloni

Publisher’s Weekly

“Written for serious sports fans in lively language that also speaks to aspiring athletes and business professionals, this book offers a compelling argument for the value of inspired leadership.”


“The Captain Class is an expertly executed, incredibly thorough read on leadership, a book that can be applied to all levels of athletics and beyond.”

—Kevin Duffy

Financial Times

“Compelling…. Sam Walker alerted me to the unlikely parallel between middle managers and elite athletes.”

—Andrew Hill

Toronto Star

“A remarkable book… What’s most interesting is that [these captains] share very few of the cliched traits that the modern conventional wisdom has come to view as the stuff of ‘captain material.’”

—Dave Feschuk

London Daily Telegraph

“Amid numerous books about the makings of individual sporting brilliance, his search for those intangibles of team success feels genuinely new. The case he makes for the captain is also persuasive.”

—Jeremy Wilson

The Express (UK)

“The Captain Class offers a tremendous insight into the world of elite-level captains, their roles, influences and foibles. Walker is a highly skilled prose craftsman and is clearly dedicated to this research project… This isn’t pub chat… Walker has created a genuinely fascinating study of why captains are so influential in successful teams, yet are almost always misjudged.”

—Joe Short

Irish Times

“Informative, persuasive and great fun for anyone not only with a passing interest in sport but in mankind.”

—Keith Duggan; chief sportswriter


“A fascinating new book … that has a lot to tell us about leadership and performance both on the sports field and elsewhere.”

—Roger Trapp

Brisbane Times

“Leadership is so obviously crucial, we can make a fetish of lionising captains. But Walker digs a little deeper and outlines exactly how great captains create great teams around them.”

—Malcom Knox

Changing the Game

“Walker spent 11 years researching this masterpiece on the ingredients that create the world’s best teams… a great guide for coaches on what to look for and develop in the leaders on your teams.”

—John O’Sullivan