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Herding Cats

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An entertaining guide to the trials and tribulations of amateur cricket captaincy

About the Author

Charlie Campbell is captain of the Authors Cricket Club and edited their book The Authors XI: A Season of English Cricket from Hackney to Hambledon. He has led his team in over a hundred consecutive games, facing the might of the Rajasthan Royals, the Vatican and the national team of Japan along the way. He is the author of Scapegoat: A History of Blaming Other People and has written for the Observer, Wisden India, The Nightwatchman, Big Issue, Time Out and Literary Review. He lives in London. @ScapegoatCC and @AuthorsCC


Herding Cats is Charlie Campbell's drily amusing account of how to run an amateur cricket team, to which Peter Starbuck, visiting professor at the University of Chester and University Centre Shrewsbury and devotee of the late Peter Drucker, drew my attention. He points out that the book is an excellent guide to the softer skills that management thinker Drucker advocated for running informal organisations. The book includes this tip: An amateur captain's perfect day is not one in which his side wins effortlessly and each stratagem works. It is the game in which every single member of his team contributes, ideally towards a narrow victory. This is not an attitude that would vanquish the All Blacks or force your company into the FTSE 100 overnight. But as a middle manager, an appeal to goodwill is often the most powerful, or even the only, weapon at your disposal. * Financial Times * Funny, self-deprecating, and full of wry wisdom, Charlie Campbell perfectly captures the exquisite torture of running an amateur cricket club. The ideal companion piece to Mike Brearley's The Art of Captaincy, and a must-read for anyone who's ever donned whites on a Sunday afternoon. * Michael Simkins * Very funny. Cricket captains everywhere will relate to this. * Nasser Hussain * Charlie Campbell has written amateur cricket an ardent love letter; when faced with the deepest frustrations the amateur captain must endure he hates neither the players nor the game. Funny and touching in equal measure. * Al Murray * A professional cricket captain needs to be part psychologist, part gambler, part babysitter, part sergeant-major, part "one of the lads" and part aloof overseer. As Charlie Campbell shows, it's even trickier for the amateur! * Mark Butcher * After several years of trying, Charlie Campbell's leadership skills finally overcame mine when the Authors trounced Heartaches in 2016. How foolish of him to reveal his secrets, albeit extraordinarily entertainingly. * Sir Tim Rice * Shot through with wit and warmth, Herding Cats is at its heart a paean to a sport that can be both stunningly uplifting and, without warning, hauntingly debilitating. It will certainly resonate with anyone who has played or loves cricket. But there are lessons here for a wider audience too about leadership, team spirit and the importance of recognising that there is more to life than winning * Evening Standard * In Herding Cats you genuinely smile for the Authors when they pull off an incredible feat... relentlessly entertaining and gets better as its innings goes on. * Literary Review * Taking The Art of Captaincy by former England cricket captain Mike Brearley as his inspiration, Charlie Campbell has produced a delightful equivalent for the amateur game ... Alongside humour, there are genuine insights into how to unlock players' potential * Independent i * Deliciously witty * The Cricketer * Illuminating and entertaining in equal measure * Ilkley Gazette * Herding Cats is a brilliant account of a season spent in the lower rungs of this eternally beautiful game. * Choice *

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