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Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out by [Calipari, John, Sokolove, Michael]
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Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

President William J. Clinton:
"If you are a college basketball fan like I am, you’ll understand why I’ve long admired John Calipari’s leadership style. While no coach treasures a win more than John, this terrific book reveals his greater purpose—to lead his young players to better lives, and then challenge them to give back to others."

Harvey Mackay, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive
“John Calipari tells his players:  Embrace the work.  Embrace the sweat.  Embrace the pain.  I say:  Embrace this book.  It’s basketball at its finest.”

Simon Sinek, optimist and author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last:
Players First is filled with so many nuggets of wisdom, I found myself highlighting and taking notes as I read. Writing like a loving but honest parent, Calipari shares stories of how he learned to inspire greatness from his players and how they pushed themselves to achieve more than they thought possible. A truly human account of what it takes to win, Players First proves that winning has nothing to do with the score, it has to do with the people.” 

John C. Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author and speaker:
Players First captures why so many kids want to play for John Calipari and why so many mothers and fathers ask him to take their boys and mold them into young men. Through stories and examples, Coach Cal brings out his most important teaching tool, which is servant leadership. Teaching these young people to care more about others than themselves is what sets his program apart and what sets this book apart from other coaches’ books. It's a must-read.”

Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager®, Leading at a Higher Level, and TrustWorks!:
“I’ve been an admirer and friend of John Calipari for over thirty years—ever since his coaching days at the University of Massachusetts, where I was a professor. I’ve watched Cal and his wife, Ellen, treat his players as family and help bring out their best, not only on the court but also in their future lives as spouses, parents, friends, business leaders, and contributors to their communities. Players First is not just for sports fans—it’s for anyone who is open to learn that viewing your people as your number one customer is the key to long-term success. Wins and profits are the byproducts of putting your players/people first. I love this book—and so will you and the people you care about and count on at home, at work, and in the community where you live. Thanks, Cal.”

Sam Cassell, three-time NBA champion and current Washington Wizards assistant coach
“I loved playing for Cal. He tried to put players in a position to play to their strengths, but he held guys responsible for their performance. We all benefited from his approach. As I read Players First, it brought back memories of how he coached us and why we enjoyed playing for him so much.” 

Bob Rotella, sports psychologist and author of Golf is Not a Game of Perfect
“I’ve been working with Coach Cal and his teams for about 20 years now and have loved every minute of it. Two things have drawn me to Coach Cal over the years: one, he chases excellence and greatness, and two, I love the way he cares about his players and treats the people around him. Players First gives a very honest picture of what’s important to Coach Cal and why he’s so great at taking young athletes, developing them into mature players and helping them reach their potential.”

About the Author

John Calipari is the current head coach of the University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team and a veteran of nearly twenty college seasons at the University of Memphis and the University of Massachusetts. Widely regarded as one of the greatest program builders in all of college basketball, Calipari and his teams have earned eleven conference titles, twelve NCAA Tournament berths, and two Final Fours. Calipari’s eight 30-win seasons are third most for a head coach in NCAA Division I history. 

Michael Sokolove
is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and the author of four books: Drama High, Warrior Girls, Hustle, and The Ticket Out.

Product Details

  • File Size: 17469 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (April 15, 2014)
  • Publication Date: April 15, 2014
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DMCPO9K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,393 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rick Spell VINE VOICE on April 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Calipari's latest book gives you an in depth view of one of the preeminent college basketball coaches. With five trips to the Final 4 and his first national championship Calipari speaks from the perspective of a man comfortable with his position in the sport well aware that he has detractors and that he will never change the minds of these people. Subjects covered here are his faith, his recruiting pitch and philosophy, and how he treats players. The book is chock full of anecdotal stories of helping players, coaching players and dealing with family, friends and the media. From this book you get in the mind of an exceptional marketer and coach who is a lot more focused on helping and improving the lives of others.

As mentioned previously, if you are not a Cal fan, you probably won't change your mind. But if you like basketball and want a view behind the curtain, buy this book and you will learn a lot. This book will be most popular with Kentucky basketball fans and there are a lot of those. But it should also be read by all basketball fans for a different perspective.

I guess I need to disclose that I know Cal from his years in Memphis. I've watched him interact with those suffering with illness or death in their families. You can look at some conference title pictures and see older ladies brought in as he knew it would brighten their lives after the death of a spouse. I've been near his wife and kids and also saw a quality person that cared for his family and brightened their lives, but of course, not without his flaws as he states eloquently in this book. This book does a good job capturing the Calipari I know: friendly, outgoing, sympathetic, and a driven person who will work harder than others to succeed, not for himself, but for others.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book a fascinating read, and not just because I am a UK basketball fan. This book details the rigors of running a highly successful program at a college basketball powerhouse. It also presents cogent ideas for shaping the future of the game. It's a recommended read for any college basketball fan.
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I have read each of his books. They are an inspiration to me. I also steal several quotes to use in my business. His "Fail Fast" is my favorite. I work with the cafeterias across the state, and we are inundated with federal regulations. We can't be paralyzed about what we do - we have to try new foods, influence young children, and fail fast so we can try something else if the first thing doesn't work.

Regardless of your occupation, this is a great read.
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Format: Hardcover
Right off the bat...I am from Kentucky, born and raised. I attended UK during the Rupp's Runts Era. I am a life long fan of the Kats. I have grown to like Calipari, and who can help but LOVE his abilities to recruit! All of that out of the way, PLAYERS FIRST, Coaching From The Inside Out is a very good read. If you are a sports fan, a NCAA basketball fan, or if you need a really good explanation of "one and done" read it. If you are a UK fan the book is must reading. This book taught me a lot about Calipari, maybe you live in Wildcat country and won't learn as much as I did living in Gator Country. But I did learn a lot. This book was fun and entertaining and goes into huge detail on "one and done" logic, oh that's, "succeed and proceed." I respect John Calipari more after reading it.. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am absolutely happy with the book, I read on the internet these days and I have only read a few chapters. The more I read about John Calipari, the more I respect him. His players know he will be tough on them, but he gets them ready for the NBA! Normally from a year in college, they go on to the League and millions in income and benefits for themselves and their families. Outstanding coaches and TV coverage has made such things possible!

Anthony Davis may be his best player yet and Coach Cal believes he will prove to be a cut above other League members.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was not quite what I was expecting. It definitely doesn't have the wisdom of a book from Wooden. Some of the stories are neat but I felt that techniques Calipari uses beyond hard work were lacking. The part I learned the most about (not very useful but cool to know) was the rules of the NCAA and his suggestions about changes to encourage students to stay in school and protect their futures.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I give this book five stars because it is very thorough. Coach Cal covers all bases, from the start of his career to now, and everything in between. It's part story, part motivation. I'd recommend this book to anyone who, regardless of being a Calipari fan, wants an in-depth look at the man, his teams, and, in later chapters, his chosen profession.

Every player Cal has ever coached, it comes through in the book that he cares about them. It's clear that, despite what some make him out to be, that he indeed does things the right way. The in-depth stories about players, games, the way things are done and why, was very interesting reading. He takes you through every area, quickly reminding the reader that he doesn't do this job alone. He goes in depth about the aspects of the job that his assistant coaches handle and what he handles.

If you're interested in getting and in depth look at basketball and life, Players First: Coaching From The Inside Out is the book for you!
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