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Leading with the Heart: Coach K's Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life Paperback – March 1, 2001


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Leading with the Heart: Coach K's Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life + Beyond Basketball: Coach K's Keywords for Success + Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off the Court
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 291 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Business Books; 1st edition (March 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446676780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446676786
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In some respects, a top-level college coach is a lot like a manager in any business. He has to turn a group of talented individuals into a smoothly running team, and he has to produce results that please the fans of his team--the shareholders of the athletic program. Thus, in Leading with the Heart, Krzyzewski reviews the lessons he's learned as basketball coach at Duke University, and tries to universalize them so they translate to any leadership position. For example, he writes, "Adjustments are not unusual, they are usual. So a leader's ability to think on his feet ... to do things without instruction ... is of paramount importance." Makes sense, as does this admonition: "When teaching, always remember this simple phrase: 'You hear, you forget. You see, you remember. You do, you understand.'"

The book has four sections--"Preseason," "Regular Season," "Postseason," and "All-Season"--and each of those has four chapters. Each chapter begins with three quotes ("Too many rules get in the way of leadership" leads off chapter 1), and ends with bulleted tips summing up the chapter's message. Between the quotes and the bullet points are anecdotes about Duke basketball games and (occasionally) Krzyzewski's life outside basketball. What you come away with is an understanding of why Krzyzewski is a great basketball coach, why former Duke assistants such as Tommy Amaker and Quin Snyder are probably going to become great basketball coaches, and how anyone who's currently a coach can become a better coach. It would be great if other types of managers in other types of businesses could incorporate these lessons in compassionate, focused, highly flexible leadership, but it seems unlikely. Most managers in business rise through the ranks not because of their ability to lead or inspire but because of their knowledge and competence (if not their connections). On the other hand, it would be nice if each of us, just once, could work for someone like Coach K, someone who could push the right buttons and lead us to our own version of the Final Four. Not likely, but a pretty sweet fantasy. --Lou Schuler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Duke basketball coach Krzyzewski, today's most successful NCAA coach, reviews significant games and key events in his career in addition to offering advice to coaches, players and everyone trying to do better in life. The son of working-class Polish immigrants, he got a scholarship to West Point, where he became an accomplished player before becoming a coach. His breezy approach is direct and simple: what's most important is working as a team toward a common goal--not necessarily to win the game, but to play the best possible game. Says Coach K, "There are five fundamental qualities that make every team great: communication, trust, collective responsibility, caring and pride." Approaching each season the same way, he extends himself to his players, encouraging them to spend time at his home and with his family, while emphasizing the importance of keeping up with academics and enjoying the overall experience of college. In fact, Krzyzewski tries to hire assistant coaches who have played for him because they're versed in on- and off-court problems. At the end of each chapter, he offers general pointers, such as that "business, like basketball, is a game of adjustments. So be ready to adjust." Although he occasionally refers to a coach as a "leader," for the most part he leaves it up to readers to connect the dots between his coaching strategies and useful business strategies. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This book is defiantly worth reading.
Sean The Man
My son is a BIG Duke basketball and Coach K fan!!
Donna Lewis
The layout of the book is also very effective.
Michael A McConnell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By GLEN KOROBOV on February 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Perhaps no other book will hit you where you are more than this one. Mike combines life experiences with true nuggets to guide us apply proven leadership and to take our team to a new level of excellence. You will want to read it through,then come back and highlight. The chapter on handling crises is worth the book by itself.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Dr. L. Johnson on April 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I graduated from Duke in 68 and am an avowed fan of Coach K.However, I've hit a rut in my reading recently, can't find anything that seems stimulatiing or interesting.I was afraid this book would just be another of those "smaltzy" rah rah type of books that coaches(and usually someone else write), but I was happily surprised. It is really worth everyones attention, whether to motivate a business person or anyone on how to live ones life. The usual blah blahing about excellence is pretty much left out, thank goodness, and the book is full of very helpful aphorisms about what priorities to put first and how to lead a wholesome and successful life,even if you don't have a jump shot.Coach K comes across as really honest and sincere.I can't stand phonies and really was pleasantly surprised by the book. Lots of real life anecdotes about games, players, situations and how to take defeat.Truly inspirational from a superb leader. For sports fans, look what he did with the team of mostly freshman this year, way beyond anyones expectations.He uses his heart a lot, but also his head.You can also read and skip around in the book, its not like a novel.Again, his repeated emphasis on how to deal with defeat and failure shows true wisdom, far beyond that of most college coaches. I remember the tonge in cheek defintion of a college basketball coach by a player once."you have to be a little bit crazy to base your career on someone else's jump shot." Coach K is crazy like a fox.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Steven Burris on March 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I chose this book to read for a business class at my college. The book focuses around Coach K and his experiences with basketball. He alludes to his theories applications towards business some, but it is up to the reader to apply them to his/her own business situations. His theories though on leadership and family are empowering, touching, and entertaining. I highly recommend this book to anyone. It's not just a book for the basketball lover, Duke fan, or business reader. It's a book that shows how one man has steadfastly stood by his beliefs throughout his life. Great book, Coach K!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Henry F. Lemieux on April 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good book. Good lessons. Resonated well with me because (A) I was at Duke in K's early years and (B) I'm now a CEO working to be a better leader.
Where it excels: While many books say, "do this" K explains why you "do this," which makes the lesson much more valuable. Focuses specifically on interpersonal skills, rather than vague over-arching principles of some Forunte 100 CEO. Gives lots of examples and the fact that I witnessed many of them myself (albeit on TV) helped me understand. Summarizes the points at the end of each chapter (though this could be improved).
Where it's weak: K himself says he wants honesty, so here it is: He needs more confidence as an author and to set his sights higher. It's a "good" leadership/basketball reminiscing book that could be a truly _great_ leadership-only book if it were better edited to spend less time on irrelevant details of some game in 1988 and more time on being concise. Those details are entertaining, but we're business leaders, we need people to get to the point. The publisher probably said it needed fluff to sell. However, I'll bet a second edition with less fluff and promoted more as a true management book would sell more. In K terminology, the "heart" of this book is in its leadership lessons. We've already seen the games.
One other troubling aspect: contradictions. K will talk about honesty with players and media, then later cite a ploy with Brian Davis and "blowing smoke at the media" before the second UNLV game. Those should be clarified.
Either way, I recommend it. Coach, you helped me learn.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mike is the simply the best college basketball coach in America. His book details the principles he follows in building and motivating college kids into a team. This is not a twilight of the career definitive biography. Instead, it is a book that fans , coaches and players of all ages can enjoy and apply. Heck even Carolina fans can find much to agree with in this volume!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Licis on January 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
Coach K presents his approach for the "storming, performing, and norming" that he performs every season (!) as he takes new recruits and melds them into a national team. This book is a great way to see team building and management from the sports perspective. HIGHLY recommended for its heartfelt, pragmatic advice!

Some great quips (a few paraphrased) include:

* The deal is - there won't be any deals.

* People make rules to keep from making decisions.

* I'm not going to promise you anything. You have to come in, work hard, and earn everything you receive.

* Look for good kids with strong character, not necessarily great talent, but great individuals who are willing to be part of a team.

* Dislike job descriptions, they tend to put people in boxes and hold them back from realizing their true potential.

* Leader has to assess the quality of the team, set the standards, of excellence, and then work with the team to achieve that standard.

* What a leader does now sets up for later. And there is always a later.

* Want the team to get better every day. The rest will take care of itself.

* Change things up; don't do the same thing each year.

* Almost everything comes back to relationships.

* Nothing demonstrates that you care about people then spending time with them.

* The only way you can lead people is to understand people. The best way to understand them is to get to know them better.

* Some feel discipline is a dirty word, it only means doing what you should, when you should, in the best way.

* Fellas, I am the truth. At any time, I can and will tell you where you stand and how you're doing.
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