Success Is the Only Option (Hardcover)

The Art of Coaching Extreme Talent

By John Calipari, Michael Sokolove

Harper, 9780062440457, 256pp.

Publication Date: November 15, 2016

List Price: 27.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Kentucky’s charismatic coach shares the secrets of creating one of the premiere programs in college basketball, revealing how he transforms a group of former high school superstars into selfless, cohesive teams—including a remarkable squad last year that fell just one game short of a perfect season.

Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari is highly regarded for his ability to recruit the country's top high school talent without making outlandish promises. Instead, he believes, "Commit to each other, be about each other without sacrificing your goals, and by doing this you can achieve all YOUR dreams and more."

Here, for the first time, he distills his team-building methods in ways that apply to CEOs, business owners, coaches, teachers and leaders of all kinds—lessons for anyone seeking to inspire talented individuals to reach for their best selves and contribute to a greater good.

A basketball team is an intimate workplace, in which blend is everything and character matters. As such, it is a window into the nature of successful leadership. Calipari views each new team like a startup business—one composed of new players, new relationships, and new challenges. Each season is a series of discoveries as he learns how to unleash the extreme talent in each of his players and mold them into championship material as college basketball comes to a crescendo every spring. While he can’t control everything, he is responsible for everything—just like a CEO.

An enlightening look at leadership, management, and team building, Success Is the Only Option offers the keys to winning, on and off the court.

Praise For Success Is the Only Option: The Art of Coaching Extreme Talent

“Take a look at and derive insight from the modern world of college basketball and the unique and successful formula applied by one of our nation’s most gifted coaches. It’s a rare experience.”

“Coach Calipari has taken a generational phenomenon of coaching extreme talent to another level of extreme success. Without his tipping-point thinking and mindfulness of what he has to do to coach his players, it would not work. He makes it work.”

“Coach Cal provides a unique view behind the curtain into one of the country’s top basketball programs. The lessons of leading, motivating, and molding highly talented young men into an unselfish, high-performance team will benefit anyone in a leadership position.”