Wooden: A Lifetime Of Observations And Reflections On and Off The Court (Book Review)

wooden I was first introduced to this book by a former supervisor who required all of his staff members to read this book to understand his leadership style and as a way to recognize that the little things we do day to day in the workplace add up to make things run smoothly.

John Wooden, the hall of fame UCLA men’s basketball coach, was able to lead his teams to 10 national championships in 12 seasons with seven of those championships being consecutive.  In this book, Coach Wooden, whose wisdom goes far beyond sports, opens up with honest and powerful passages about various aspects of life and leadership.  This book is not set up to tell a story or as a biography rather it is an easy read, filled with great short stories and maxims where Wooden explains his philosophy in a manner that is simple, direct, and applicable to anyone. The book is divided into 3 overarching sections. In the first section, “Families, Values, and Virtues,” Coach Wooden discusses his roots and a few of the principles instilled in him and his brothers by their parents and community. The second section, shares his insights on success, achievement, and competition. The third section of this book focused on coaching, teaching, and leading.

I really enjoyed the second part of this book where Wooden explained his “Eight Suggestions for Succeeding,” which included:

  1. Fear no opponent, respect every opponent
  2. Remember, it’s the perfection of the smallest details that make big things happen
  3. Keep in mind the hustle makes up for many a mistake
  4. Be more interested in character than reputation
  5. Be quick, but don’t hurry
  6. Understand that the harder you work, the more luck you will have
  7. Know that valid self-analysis is crucial for improvement
  8. Remember that there is no substitution for hard work and careful planning
  9. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

This is truly a valuable read for anyone looking to get better at being part of a team, whether that is in the workplace or in sports. People in leadership roles will gain some valuable insights from giving this book a read.

This book is available for sale here.