4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
To me, the words "Wooden" and "leadership" are synonymous. On and off various basketball courts, first as a player and then as a coach, John Wooden demonstrated talents, skills, and qualities of character seldom found in a single person. He led others by example but also by the force of his convictions. After reading this book, some may conclude that he was "idealistic,' "naive," "corny," "old-fashioned," etc. Not so. In fact, he was a strict disciplinarian with non-negotiable values who had zero-tolerance of attitude and behavior he perceived to be selfish, rude, unsportsmanlike, or indolent. He always accepted his team's defeat with grace but was saddened - sometimes so angered he exclaimed "Goodness gracious sakes!" --by anything less than a best-effort, not only by his assistant coaches and players but also (especially) by himself.
What we have in this volume is an on-going narrative provided by Coach Wooden during which he shares everything he learned about achieving and then sustaining excellence. Of special interest to me is the series of "On Wooden" commentaries which include those provided by Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Denny Crum, Gary Cunningham, Gail Goodrich, and Lynn Shackleford. Although the specifics vary from one to the next, all of their authors agree on Coach Wooden's greatness both as a coach and as a man. One of the most interesting anecdotes is provided by Eddie Powell, who played on the South Bend Central High School varsity team which Wooden coached. The bus was about to depart for a game against Mishawacka High School. The co-captains were absent.
Coach Wooden asked the driver what time the bus was scheduled to leave. "6 p.m., Coach, same as usual."
"Well, what time is it?"
'It's exactly 6 p.m., Coach Wooden."
"Well, that's what my watch says, too. I guess it must be 6 p.m."
"Let's go." The bus left withoput the two most important players on the team. One of the players was the son of a vice principal at South Bend Central, "the kind of a person who could create job problems for Coach Wooden. From that, we learned that Coach wasn't kidding: Be on time." Indeed meet all commitments to the team and especially in the classroom and to one's family. "We found out later that the co-captains had skipped our game with Mishawaka to go to a dance." Presumably everyone who played on U.C.L.A. basketball teams also soon learned that, when he explained what he expected of them, "Coach wasn't kidding."
With all due respect to his extraordinary success in basketball, I am convinced that John Wooden could have become a great leader in almost any other profession. Fortunately, as Steve Jamison observes, "The qualities and characteristics he possesses and has taught to his teams -- those good habits and how you teach them - are available to everyone." Hopefully, decision-makers in the business world, public service, and the military will read this book so that they, also, can become a "leader" worthy of service to those entrusted to their care.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Unless you have never seen a college basketball game, you probably know quite a bit about coach John Wooden and his success at UCLA. Several excellent books have attempted to capture the essence of his coaching philosophy. All of those books made you admire coach Wooden and want to emulate him. But you ended up feeling like you were dealing with a saint who emerged full formed from a clam shell. How could a mere mortal follow his foot steps?
Wooden on Leadership takes a revealing look at how that philosophy evolved, the mistakes he made along the way, how he corrected those mistakes and the regrets he has today. A high point for me came from seeing his notes during the years that the philosophy evolved.
You still feel like you are dealing with a saint, but a saint who (like Paul when he was Saul) started out with some imperfections that you may recognize in yourself.
I came to appreciate several dimensions of the Wooden philosophy that I hadn't understood before. Here is my new learning:
1. Focus on helping each player become the best they can be in contributing to the team, and help the players understand how they can and are contributing to the team.
2. Attract people with good values who are eager to improve in team contributions.
3. Set a good example.
4. There are no little things. Everything is important.
I hope that anyone who ever coaches children's or school sports will read this book and be encouraged to become a better leader. Even if you coach fencing, you can learn a lot from this book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2013
A fantastic book that presents excellent leadership principles from one of the greatest coaches of all time. Wooden's leadership philosophy is simple but profound. Whether you are a leader in business, sports or a father or mother raising kids this book offers nuggets of leadership principles that can easily be applied. Wooden's methods maybe said to be old fashioned but I personally believe society needs these leadership methods and approaches and they are sorely missed in institutions and families today. Great book!