A review of Coach Wooden by Pat Williams.
Last October I was fortunate enough to hear Pat Williams address the student body of Liberty University on the “7 Sides of Leadership”. This made the decision easy when I learned he had authored this work on the leadership principles of Coach John Wooden, one of America’s most successful college coaches, having led UCLA to 88 consecutive wins, ten NCAA championships, and 38 consecutive NCAA tournament victories before his retirement in 1975. He coached many players who later played in the NBA. While I expected this book to be a refresher of Williams’ speech, even with the overlapping concepts, I was left with the challenge of implementing additional disciplines in my life. Williams’ 7 Sides of Leadership were to:
- Have a VISION
- Communicate your VISION
- Possess People Skills
- Understand that Character counts
- Have Competence
- Possess Boldness
- Lead with A Serving Heart
Williams writes about the great influence Wooden had on all those around him, making it clear that his list was directly influenced by Wooden’s 7 life-shaping principles:
- Be True To Yourself
- Help Others
- Make Each Day Your Masterpiece
- Drink Deeply from Good Books, Especially the Bible
- Make Friendship a Fine Art
- Build a Shelter against a Rainy Day by the Life You Life
- Pray for Guidance and Counsel, and Give Thanks for Your Blessings Each Day
My favorite of the seven is to “make each day your masterpiece”. While working in radio, I used to have a co-worker who would close each newscast with “make it a great day”. It sounded odd to me years ago, but now I get it. It means ‘make each day your masterpiece’. Don’t just passively ‘have a great day’ but understand that the quality of your day depends on you, it’s something you initiate.
Another most impressive take-away from Wooden is his relationship with his father, who is referenced at least 100 times in the book. Once Wooden was asked how he would like to be remembered at the end of his life and he answered without the slightest hesitation, “I would like to be remembered as a man who came as close as possible to being like my father.” What an amazing legacy.
This easy-read will both challenge and inspire you, sports fan or not. I highly recommend it and leave you with some additional Woodenisms:
- The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.
- Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.
- Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.
- It is what you learn after you know it all that counts.
- Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.