cal bookNew York Times bestselling author John Calipari, the charismatic Naismith Hall of Fame coach who has returned Kentucky to college basketball prominence, reveals the secrets behind his unparalleled ability to transform a group of former high school superstars into a selfless, cohesive team in his new book “SUCCESS IS THE ONLY OPTION: The Art of Coaching Extreme Talent” (Harper), which will be available in bookstores across the country and online on November 15th with presale orders available now.

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 own goals, and by doing this you can achieve all YOUR dreams and more.”

With that philosophy, Calipari led Kentucky to four Final Fours in a five-year period from 2011-2015. “One and done” players like John Wall, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are all currently NBA All-Stars. And Calipari continues to mold these individual superstars into a cohesive whole, playing for each other with selfless commitment and fierce intensity.

Expanding on his 2014 New York Times bestselling book “Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out”, “SUCCESS IS THE ONLY OPTION” digs deeper as Calipari for the first time distills his methods and philosophies in a way that will resonate with not just athletes and coaches but business leaders who are trying to get maximum performance out of their own top talent. Coaching a successful basketball team is much like building a successful business. For teams to succeed, even the most talented performers must sacrifice some of their own glory while still feeling that they are reaching for individual goals.

“I’m asked all the time, ‘How in the world are you pulling this off? How in the world do you get such talented kids – not just one or two, but an entire team of elite talent – to come together and play for one another?’ Well, this is that story. I wanted to tell our story of how we get the most out of elite talent, 

how we create a culture of brotherhood and form a team with such talented individuals.

It’s not an exact science and there are all kinds of ways of doing this, but this is our story.

My hope is it might resonate with other leaders in similar positions.”—John Calipari


A basketball team is an intimate workplace. The blend is everything and character matters.

For Calipari, 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. Calipari can’t control everything, yet he is responsible for everything—which is something any CEO can understand.

SUCCESS IS THE ONLY OPTION” offers real life lessons into leadership, team building and creating a culture of achievement that are applicable far beyond the basketball court. These are the lessons for anyone seeking to inspire talented individuals to reach for their best selves and contribute to a greater good.

About the Author

John Calipari is the head coach of men’s basketball at the University of Kentucky. He has led teams to the Final Four six times, won the national championship at Kentucky in 2012, and has helped 41 players make it to the NBA. He joined the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at the end of the 2014-15 season.



The Art of Coaching Extreme Talent

Author: John Calipari

Hardcover; 266 pages; Retail Price: $27.99

ISBN-13: 978-0-0624-4045-7

Publication Date: November 15, 2016

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