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My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey Hardcover – 1 Jun 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional (1 Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071437924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071437929
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,571,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Unforgettable life lessons from the man ESPN named its “Coach of the Century”

“A good teacher or coach must not only understand others, but himself or herself as well.”
--John Wooden

In this captivating book, beloved basketball coach John Wooden reveals the educational journey he took throughout his legendary life, from his earliest days on a small Indiana farm to the glory of his historic record-setting UCLA dynasty. Throughout My Personal Best, Coach Wooden introduces us to the men and women who shaped him and the many important life lessons they taught along the way.

You’ll meet his father, Joshua, the honest, straight-shooting farmer who urged his son, “Don't try to be better than somebody else, but never cease trying to be the best you can be.” His mother, Roxie, a hardscrabble survivor who taught her children the value of faith and sacrifice. And his wife, Nellie, the high-school sweetheart (and ukulele virtuoso) who inspired him courtside through many games and who continued to be his inspiration throughout his life.

You’ll also meet Coach’s own coaches, such as Principal Earl Warriner, the feisty disciplinarian who guided Wooden through his first games and left him with the lesson that “no player is bigger or better than the team.” High school coach Glenn Curtis, otherwise known as the Ol' Fox, who taught Wooden the poetry of basketball. And Purdue’s Piggy Lambert, whose unbending principles and love for his team became Wooden’s model of what a great coach and teacher could be.

Last but not least you’ll meet many of the students and players who became, in the end, Coach’s greatest teachers of all.

This treasure trove of all things Wooden also includes rare, never-before-seen photos from Coach’s private collection. Pairing these priceless photos with evocative personal stories, this modern sports classic encompasses the arc of Wooden’s achievements and the spirit of his All-American experience, one that will serve as inspiration to anyone who aspires to be a coach--not only on the court but in every arena of life.

"John Wooden is a living legend because he practiced what he preached--the code of ethics which created America's strength."
--Phil Jackson, head coach, Los Angeles Lakers

"Most of what I know, what's made me a smart man, has come from John Wooden."
--Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer

"A man of John Wooden's accomplishments and integrity would stand out in any era, but now, almost three decades after he coached his last game, he is in some ways an even more striking figure."
--Bob Costas

"John Wooden is a 'philosopher-coach' in the truest sense: a man whose beliefs, teachings, and wisdom go far beyond sports and ultimately address how to bring out the very best in yourself and others in all areas of life."
--Bill Walsh, three-time Super Bowl champion coach

"John Wooden's teaching is timeless."-
-Bill Walton, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer, NBC analyst

“Whether it be on or off the court, John Wooden has been the personification of class and intellect as player, coach, and person for over seventy years. This book is a treasure.”
--Howard Garfinkel, codirector, Five-Star Basketball Camp

“There has never been a finer coach in American sports than John Wooden. Nor a finer man.”
--Rick Reilly, Sports Illustrated

About the Author

John Wooden (1910-2010), guided the UCLA Bruins to ten NCAA basketball championships over a 12-year period, including four perfect seasons and an 88-game winning streak. He was named ESPN’s “Greatest Coach of the 20th Century” and voted “#1 Coach of All Time” by The Sporting News. Sports Illustrated said it best when they said: “There’s never been a finer man in American sports than John Wooden, or a finer coach.” In 2003 John Wooden was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Steve Jamison is America's foremost author and authority on the life and philosophy of John Wooden. Mr. Jamison is a consultant to the UCLA Anderson Scool of Business’ John Wooden Global Leadership Program. He has collaborated with Coach Wooden on an award-winning PBS presentation as well as several books, including his final book, The Wisdom of Wooden: My Century On and Off the Court.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By eoghan on 11 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written, a fantastic example of virtuosity and gentleness, we should all try to emulate john wooden's example. Highly recommended
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A must read for any sports fan! 4 Jan. 2005
By Blaine Greenfield - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A little background on John Wooden: he coached the UCLA Bruins to 10 national basketball titles in 12 years . . . even if you're not a hoops fan, imagine any team--high school, college or pro--ever doing that, and you'll realize that it's virtually an impossible task . . .yet Wooden managed to accomplish it, at times with such great players as Kareem Abdul Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) and Bill Walton; at other times with guys you probably never even heard about.

So that's why I jumped at the chance to read MY PERSONAL BEST:

LIFE LESSONS FROM AN ALL-AMERICAN JOURNEY that Wooden wrote with Steve Jamison . . . it was excellent and a "must" read for any sports fan, coach or parent of an athlete . . . adding to my enjoyment were rare, never-before-seen pictures from Wooden's private collection.

You might not learn anything that you haven't heard before, but that's much of what made Wooden such a great coach--and man . . . he stuck to the basics, believing that if his players practiced them, they would succeed . . . no detail was considered insignificant; for example, he

planned practices down to the exact minute on three-by-five inch cards and in notebooks "so there was never any standing around waiting for something to happen."

He also was a big believer in the use of maxims and mottos, tacking them on the bulletin board . . . among them:

Discipline yourself and others won't have to,

Respect every opponent but fear none,

The best way to improve your team is to improve yourself,

Do not mistake activity for achievement,

It is amazing how much we can accomplish when non one cares

who gets the credit, and

Time spent getting even would be better spent getting ahead.

As Wooden notes, "Some might say these are corny expressions, but I believe the messages they contain are true and have a positive impact on those who read them."
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Highly inspirational! 30 Dec. 2004
By J. Green - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Prior to living in southern California, I didn't really know who John Wooden was, except that he was a basketball coach. Now I know he was much more than that; he is a legend.

Coach Wooden discusses his life, from his early days playing basketball on an uneven dirt court with fruit baskets to shoot into, to the passing of his beloved wife. He talks about the great influence of his father and coaches who lovingly taught him to always do his best. He openly shares the mistakes he made, both as a player and a coach, and the lessons he learned from them. He also talks about some of the players he coached, the 12 NCAA championships at UCLA, and what made him most proud. Included are numerous photos from his life. And while basketball is a big focus of the book, it's not the only focus in the book or his life.

An inspirational book I can highly recommend to anyone. Coach Wooden is a great role model - something that is unfortunately uncommon among sports figures.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
It is short, to the point, and tremendous! 23 April 2005
By nHansen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is thin, short, full of pictures, a simple days read, and yet, it is packed with content. This is a journey to the core of Wooden's life. It is simple but complex.

In this book you will read about the central concepts that goverened Wooden's life from childhood to his success(s) at UCLA. He skips the details and goes right for the meat in this book. He tells the reader what exactly he learned, at each point along the way, and then we move to the next item of business. There are some fun pictures, a few interesting stories, but tons of little life "philosophies" that make the read worth it.

If you are interested in cutting away the sometimes bulky biography-type text that can follow a wonderful coach and man, and get right to the core of his life's experience, this is the book for you. It is for all ages, all interests, and should take you no time to read.

This is not an extensive biography, but an extensive course in Wooden principles learned in his life.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Truly...The Best....In Many Respects~~~ 26 May 2004
By James Iwanoff, D.C. - Published on
Format: Hardcover
While a student at UCLA in the '70s, I often stopped by the afternoon practices to watch Coach Wooden. To this day, he remains an inspiration. His coaching and teachings reach far beyond the basketball arena. His demeanor and style is one to admire.
Grab this book!~ Read it! Learn from it! It is the type of lifestyle you want to replicate, follow, and nurture to all.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A living legend 27 May 2004
By Patrick FitzGerald - Published on
Format: Hardcover
My Pesonal Best was a joy to read. I'm 35 yrs. old and have been a Coach Wooden fan for as long as I can remember. Success leaves clues, and Coach Wooden has left all of us pure gold with his wisdom and insight for living a successful life. He is incredibly thoughtful and cares not about glory or accolades, but about the person. I wrote Coach Wooden a letter in 6th grade expressing my admiration for him and UCLA, he responded with a full page hand written note and copy of his Pyramid of Success that I cherish to this day! Who other than Coach Wooden would have taken the time to do such a thing? Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
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