As an athletic trainer, my son, Cody, loves sports . . . especially basketball. I walked into his room one evening and noticed a coaching book by a former college coach from Indiana. Curious as to why the book interested him, I read it.
Coincidentally, having heard recently that John Wooden was one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history, I decided to get Wooden’s book on leadership and compare the two books.
Needless to say the difference was like driving a Chevy Cruze versus a Corvette Stingray! The first book was average, and while there were a few good points, it failed to inspire. Wooden’s book, on the other hand, inspires right from the start, and by the time you finish the ride, you’re a believer.
For those of you who aren’t big sports fans, John Wooden and his legendary UCLA dynasty won 10 NCAA national championships in 12 years, including 88 straight games and four perfect seasons. Named “Coach of the Century” by ESPN, Wooden was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W Bush.
“A person who values winning above anything will do anything to win. And such people are threats to their organizations.” – John Wooden
Wooden on Leadership is very well written, both rich and deep, yet easy to read and simple to understand. Flowing through incredible content that is well illustrated, the stories are captivating and leave you with a sense that you have been coached by a master.
It’s one thing to read about great leadership; however, it is truly enjoyable to read about it first-hand from a great leader. Throughout the book there are subtle cues and vivid illustrations that communicate the depth of character and leadership Wooden brings to the table.
“I believe most people, wish to be in an organization whose leadership cares about them, provides fairness and respect, dignity and consideration. Do so and you find Loyalty in abundance from those you lead. You will find yourself in charge of an organization that will not waffle in the wind. You will find a group of individuals who will stay committed even when things get tough.” – John Wooden
Wooden not only gives you an overview on leadership, he does a deep dive, delivering key details. He then illustrates it with captivating stories, leaving you with a thorough perspective on what it means to be a great leader. At the conclusion of each chapter, there is a summary—followed by a short overview by one of the “greats” who played for him, which includes his personal thoughts on the chapter and stories about Wooden.
“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” – John Wooden
The number of quotable quotes is off the chart, nearly every page has at least one. I gauge a book’s quality by how much it gets highlighted. I wore out a box load of highlighters on this book, so come prepared.
“As a leader you must be sincerely committed to what’s right rather than who’s right.” – John Wooden
There are many books that are all bark and no bite, and are not worth your time and money. There are other books that aren’t bad but fade into forgetfulness. Then you enter the good and great categories, and this one falls into the GREAT category. I already bought copies for my two sons, and I told Cody that his book by the Indiana basketball coach is all bark and no bite, and Wooden on Leadership is a grand slam. I’m talking out of the park and into the bay—GREAT!
If you desire to grow your leadership and haven’t read this book, your journey is incomplete!
You can get the book from Amazon here:
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