Best Selling Books by John Calipari

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Bounce Back

release date: Sep 01, 2009
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Bounce Back
Job loss. Foreclosure. Relationship woes. Health issues. Dire financial straits. If recent history has taught us anything, it's that nobody goes through life unscathed -- no matter how rich, how smart, how talented, or how fortunate they may be. White collar, blue collar, or no collar, there is an undeniable commonality to the raw emotion that strikes people when they are knocked down. University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari has seen the bottom - from two very distinct and very public setbacks -- but he has learned that bad situations are only permanent if you allow them to be. Fired from his job as head coach 20 games into his third season with the NBA's New Jersey Nets in 1999, Calipari was publicly humiliated and emotionally devastated. But Calipari never allowed the negative to overcome him or those around him, and he began plotting a course for his first bounce back. It was a journey that took him to the University of Memphis and, in 2008, to the NCAA's marquee event, the men's basketball Final Four. When that trip culminated in a crushing, overtime defeat in the title game, Calipari began to bounce back again -- this time armed with the knowledge and fortitude he gained in overcoming the Nets' firing. One year after that defeat, from where he watched his team lose a nine-point lead with two minutes and twelve seconds left in regulation, Calipari was tabbed as the head coach of college basketball's all-time winningest program, the University of Kentucky Wildcats. In ten years, he went from his lowest low to landing his dream job at a dream program. What Coach Cal -- as players, peers, and fans affectionately call him -- learned from his experiences was the importance of having the right attitude when dealing with life's major impediments: with every hard knock comes an occasion to reevaluate and reinvent. Now Coach Cal asks that you join his team of Bounce Backers and allow him the privilege of coaching you through what may, at times, seem to be an insurmountable challenge. With a combination of tough love and understanding, Coach Cal takes you under his wing in much the same fashion he guides the young men who play for him. By becoming an active participant in your own resurrection -- through practice exercises and tips from Coach Cal and his deep bench of highly successful people who have survived their own bounce backs -- you too will gain the tools and insight to understand that it's never a matter of how far you have fallen, but instead it's about how high you bounce back.

Players First

release date: Feb 24, 2015
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Players First
In Players First, John Calipari relates for the first time anywhere his experiences over his first four years coaching the Kentucky Wildcats, college basketball's most fabled program, from the doldrums to a national championship, drawing lessons about leadership, character, and the path to personal and collective victory. At its core, Calipari's coaching philosophy centers on keeping his focus on the players?what they need to get the best out of themselves and one another. He is beloved by his players for being utterly honest with them and making promises that he always keeps, no matter what. He knows that in this age, they come to Kentucky to prepare for the NBA; every year he gets players who in a previous era would have gone directly into the pros from high school but now have to play college basketball for one year. Calipari has fought against this system, but he has to play within it, and so he does, better than anyone. The result is an extraordinary leadership challenge: every year Coach Cal gets a handful of eighteen-year-old kids who have been in a bubble for the previous four years at least, filled with hype about their own greatness, and they come to Kentucky feeling sure that they will play for their coach only for seven months before they go on to greater glory. Every year, he has to reinvent his team. After his 2012 NCAA championship, it was particularly dramatic; he lost his first six players in the first round, meaning that someone who couldn't even start for Kentucky was a first-round draft pick. The overall record at Kentucky, and for his career, puts Calipari in the pantheon of the greatest coaches in the history of the game. Bold, funny, and truthful, like Coach Calipari himself, Players First is truly the first deep reckoning with the meaning of his experiences and the gifts of insight they offer.

Players First

release date: Apr 15, 2014
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Players First
Now with a new chapter on the Wildcats' legendary comeback in the 2014 Final Four John Calipari, one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history, presents the world of college basketball from the coach's chair, unvarnished and straight from the heart. Players First is Calipari's account of his first six years coaching the University of Kentucky men's team, leading it to a national championship in 2012 and the championship game in 2014, all while dealing with the realities of the "one-and-done" mentality and an NCAA that sometimes seems to put players last. Filled with revelatory stories about what it takes to succeed at the highest level of the college game, Players First is a candid look at the great players and rivalries that have filled Calipari's life with joy and a sense of purpose.

Refuse to Lose

release date: Jan 01, 1996
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Refuse to Lose
The inspiring and motivational inside story of 1996 UMass Minutemen coach John Calipari details his winning philosophy, "Refuse to Lose," which led the team, for the first time in their history, to the Final Four and resulted in professional and personal victory.

Basketball's Half-court Offense

release date: Jan 01, 1996
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Basketball's Half-court Offense
Whether your team is trying to win its first game of the high school season or preparing to take the floor for the national championship, you need to have a multitude of options for your offense. John Calipari brings winning one step closer with his tried-and-true collection of offensive plays. Presented in an easy-to-follow format with diagrams for reference, this book is a must for coaches looking to optimize their half-court game. John Calipari took the basketball program at the University of Massachusetts from one of the country's worst and made it into one of the elite, a program with legitimate national championship aspirations. A new state-of-the-art facility, the perpetually sold-out William D. Mullins Center; five straight Atlantic 10 regular-season titles; five straight A-10 Tourney titles; five straight NCAA appearances; trips to the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight; and 1996's trip to the Final Four sent a clear message to the basketball world: besides developing some outstanding UMass teams, John Calipari also built a winning program. He has also served as head coach of the New Jersey Nets.

Success Is the Only Option

release date: Nov 15, 2016
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Success Is the Only Option
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 known for his unparalleled ability to recruit the nation’s best young players, some of whom will spend just one year with him before going to the NBA, and convincing them to commit to the team without sacrificing their personal goals. It is a promise he makes to them: "Fully invest in the present—and each other—and I guarantee it will serve your future." 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.

Success Is the Only Option

release date: Nov 15, 2016
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Success Is the Only Option
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 known for his unparalleled ability to recruit the nation’s best young players, some of whom will spend just one year with him before going to the NBA, and convincing them to commit to the team without sacrificing their personal goals. It is a promise he makes to them: "Fully invest in the present—and each other—and I guarantee it will serve your future." 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.

Miller Time

release date: Mar 20, 2018
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Miller Time
Arizona. Kentucky. Indiana. It’s astounding to think that three elite college basketball programs can trace their success back to one small-town high school coach, Blackhawk High’s legendary John Miller. Coach John Miller was just following his heart’s passion and channeling his unbreakable spirit when in the early 1970s he began to use basketball as a platform for developing young players and future leaders. Little could he have known that his two sons, Sean and Archie Miller, and their cousin, John Calipari, would grow up to lead historic basketball programs to national prominence. And over his career, he also inspired countless other young players, who would grow up to become doctors, lawyers, and prominent CEOs. At his retirement in 2005, Coach Miller’s record stood at 657–280 over his thirty-five-year career, making him one of the winningest coaches in high school basketball history. Today, Coach Miller’s legacy extends from the tiny hamlet of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, to some of the most famous sporting venues in America. He is a legend in the sport, praised by greats such as Kobe Bryant, Thad Matta, Bucky Waters, and Jamie Dixon. Filled with original photos and behind-the-scenes stories, Miller Time is for every hardwood aficionado.

Swim to the Buoy

release date: Jan 15, 2014
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Swim to the Buoy
Coach Cal shares why every man, woman, and child needs to find mentors lots of them! Coach John Calipari, head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky, calls his mentors his "Kitchen Cabinet." Growing up in sports and later as a college and NBA basketball coach, John learned how to be successful in coaching and in life through the many lessons he learned from his mentors. In Swim to the Buoy, he shares that mentors are like lifebuoys: sometimes you need them when you're drowning in a situation, sometimes you need them for sound advice, and other times you just need to bounce your ideas off someone. Coach Cal outlines a proven strategy that anyone can follow to be the kind of person that mentors want to help. He strongly encourages his readers to recognize when a buoy is being thrown their way. Students, parents, and even business people can learn how to get to the next level in life by swimming to the buoy!

Refuse to Lose

release date: Sep 05, 1996
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