Mike Brearley

The Art of Captaincy to On Form

Friday 16th September 2016

Mike Brearley
The Art of Captaincy, Mike Brearley

Mike Brearley is a retired cricketer who captained Cambridge University, Middlesex and England. He first played for England in 1976 and captained the side from 1977 to 1980, winning 17 Test matches. He was recalled to the captaincy in 1981 for the Ashes Home series, leading England to one of their most famous victories against Australia. His extraordinary galvanising of Ian Botham in this series is regarded as one of the greatest feats of sporting psychology. Since retiring from professional cricket, he has pursued a career as a psychoanalyst and motivational speaker.

Recently reissued to mark the 30th anniversary of its first publication, The Art of Captaincy is still seen as a seminal book for sportsmen and business leaders. Drawing directly from Mike’s experience of managing a team, which included Geoffrey Boycott and Ian Botham, it explains what it takes to be a leader on and off the field, how to generate, nurture and inspire success in a team and the importance of intuition, empathy and tactical understanding. In his afterword, film director Sam Mendes suggests: ‘The Art of Captaincy is several books in one: it is an explanation of the game of cricket – its complexities and enduring fascination; it is an insight into the mind of one of the finest of all cricket brains; it is a brilliant set of anecdotes; and it is the best crib-sheet for captains ever written.’

Mike’s forthcoming book On Form looks at how one can’t guarantee form or creativity but how we might make it more likely by giving house-room to different aspects of the mind, and finding the balance between work and play, doing and watching oneself.

Chair: Mike will be in conversation with Hilary Mantel, a long-time cricket fan and president of the Author’s XI.