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VINE VOICEon November 16, 2009
When it's all said and done and the maker calls us home, the real measure of a successful life has to have a lot to do with how much you improved the lives of those around you. With that in mind, few people come close to the life of John Wooden. There are untold vast numbers of people who have become better people and lead better lives because of the coach. Through his books, many of those people, like myself, never even met him.

In his newest book, and quite possibly his last, A GAME PLAN FOR LIFE, Coach Wooden teaches about mentoring. I really like the way the book gives mentoring from two different approaches, but giving and receiving. The first half of the book profiles seven people who mentored Coach Wooden. The last half profiles seven people who were mentored by him, either directly or indirectly.

I found the mixture to be very interesting, and yet probably very similar to most other people. Among his mentors, coach lists his father, 3 former coaches and two people from history he never met but spent hours reading about. Among the mentees, who each wrote their own chapters in the book, we find 3 former players at UCLA, 2 other coaches, a teacher who had never met the coach, and his great-grand-daughter.

It's interesting to see how mentoring is both given and received in different ways to meet the needs of the recipient. The book is filled with sage quotes and life lessons that will touch readers ina variety of ways.

While as always, I loved what the coach wrote, I particularly enjoyed the chapter written by Dale Brown, coach of the LSU basketball team. Coach Brown knew Coach Wooden, but only because they had played against one another when Coach Brown was an assistant coach at Utah State. When he accepted the head coaching job at LSU, he turned to Coach Wooden for advice.

Detailed in his chapter are some of the many questions he asked coach. This really gave a good structure on how to proceed when seeking out a mentor and how to best learn from someone you don't know well.

I took a lot away from this book. I think you will too.
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on December 23, 2009
Very few authors can inspire through their writings the way John Wooden does. Wooden does it again showing the world how we can all learn something from each person we interact with. A Game Plan for Life: The power of mentoring, includes lessons and philosophies for anyone regardless of their age, occupation, education, or experience. His lessons are simple and timeless. I especially enjoyed how throughout the book, he celebrated his mentors, honored his mentees, and empowered the reader to be truly inspiring. If Wooden suggests "...that the people who stand out are the ones who challenged me with words and inspired me with actions" then his most recent book has done just that. His simple life lessons remind the reader that remaining true to your values and ideals will help create a sense of calmness in your heart. This is not just a game plan for life ... it is a game plan brought to life. Personal anecdotes, inspirational messages, and simple reminders throughout the book suggest win or lose...the life lesson to the reader is . . . keep playing as teaching and learning are timeless.

My Choice - My Life: Realizing Your Ability to Create Balance in Life
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VINE VOICEon November 5, 2009
A coach is the person that people turn to when they need guidance, to be inspired or to be coached for a specific reason or goal. Great coaches hold a mystic about how they get things done or get people or teams to do amazing things. Usually their books, biographies or autobiographies have many parallels that you can use in your life or business. This book is not an exception to this rule.

This book is filled with knowledge from one of the greatest coaches ever. I could not put the book down. It is written from a first person narrative from John and he starts out by explaining what people have had the most impact on his life. It may sound cheesy but he started wit his father. I have a tone of respect for mine so I think that I would have done the same if it were me. It is interesting to see why he acted as he did while he was a coach and how John has taught other people to live. Treating everyone as an equal no matter what their position in life is one of the cornerstones of the lessons in this book.

Even though I am in sales and not a basketball player I was able to reinforce that fundamentals are the most important item to practice, yes that trick shot that may be needed once ever is fun to practice but the basics and fundamentals are the most important.

It does not matter whether you are a coach, manager or just looking for a great book to read there will be something in here for you. To gain knowledge you must get different perspectives, and this book will leave you with some.

What I really got form this book was that in order to be a leader you yourself first must be the type of person that everyone would like to follow by giving others their respect first. It goes back to what my mother taught me "Always act like someone else is watching".
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on October 1, 2014
Really a great book with simple lessons and guidelines to be successful. I have read a few books about Coach Wooden, each is just as good as this one. This is a good book to get for your self or anyone who appreciates simple and honest advice from a master teacher, mentor, and English teacher, if you did not know John Wooden started as a high school English teacher in South Bend, Indiana as well as began his coaching career there. Just think, if he can start somewhere that few people would think of and have such a successful career as well as life, why not consider his advice and wisdom in this book.
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on January 12, 2010
John Wooden clearly demonstrates the ability of our minds to overcome the limitations of our bodies during our "bonus years" (age 60 and above), because he wrote this book at age 99. He describes the mentoring process, and explains how we are constantly learing from our students while we are teaching them.

He selected an amazing group of mentors for this book. He chose seven people who mentored him and seven people he mentored. He had never met two of the people who mentored him: Abraham Lincoln and Mother Teresa. Neveretheless, he studied them and applied their insights to his own life.

The seven people he mentored wrote their own chapters about their relationship with him. Two of them, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton, have worldviews that are very different from his. In spite of this they obviously feel a great deal of affection and loyalty towards their coach.

Jabbar is very articulate and has written several books, primarily about jazz and Harlem. This prompted me to read Bill Cosby's book, titled "Come On People". The movie titled "Invicta" (about rugby in South Africa) provides yet another opportunity to learn about mentorship and how sports can be used to transcend communication obstacles about between races, cultures, and generations.

I am 72 years old and have written my own life story (for my friends and family) titled "A Roadmap for Happiness When Traveling From Age 70 to 90". Each year I add another chapter, so my 2010 update will include the addition of John Wooden to my list of mentors!
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on December 26, 2011
Every so often, a great man or woman walks the Earth. Many times we don't realize or understand how great they were until they are gone. Such was the case with John Wooden. There have been many books written about John Wooden. This one ranks as one of the best--not just because it was the last one written before he died but because of the topic he addresses--the power of mentoring.

We are just starting to realize how important mentors are in the lives of our young people. The research and evidence regarding the power of mentors to help children break through poverty barriers is staggering.

The book covers seven people that were mentors in his life, and seven people that he mentored. His mentors include Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa, and his father who gave him this advice when he was young that he tried to live by his whole life:

1. Be true to yourself.

2. Make each day your masterpiece.

3. Help others.

4. Drink deeply from good books.

5. Make a friendship with fine art.

6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.

7. Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

John Wooden was faithful, consistent, and committed. His priorities were in order, and he never deviated from those priorities. In this day and age when a new thing comes along every 60 seconds and gets our attention off the main thing, it is nice to see an example of someone who kept their "hands on the plow" and achieved things in his field that are still unmatched. There are no shortcuts. Achieving greatness in any field takes time, effort, and persistence.
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on January 12, 2010
Legendary College Basketball Coach John Wooden along with author Don Yaeger recently published, A Game Plan for Life, The Power of Mentoring. Wooden now 99 years of age, offers his perspective in the book on the power of mentoring and the effects on leadership. I recommend this book for those who desire to be mentored and those wanting to mentor others. It's a great book on leadership and gives a seasoned perspective from a credible source in one of NCAA's all-time best coaches.

[...]
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on January 27, 2010
John Wooden exemplifies the best in the American character, as does this splendid book. There are many valuable and inspiring life lessons in A Game Plan for Life, co-authored by Coach Wooden and Don Yaeger.

While I have certainly heard of John Wooden and his remarkable success in coaching college basketball, I am a newcomer to his writing. And, having read A Game Plan for Life, I proudly count myself as one of Coach's mentees. Should you be lucky enough to read it, you will learn about seven people whom Coach Wooden-- at 99 years young-- considers his key mentors, and the lessons he learned from each of them. Coach's important mentors include his father, Joshua Wooden; his beloved wife, Nellie; his early teachers and coaches; and the historic figures whom he considers teachers, including Abraham Lincoln and Mother Teresa.

Equally interesting are the chapters penned by seven people who consider Coach Wooden their mentor, among them basketball greats Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Walton; leading basketball coaches Roy Williams of North Carolina and Dale Young of Louisiana State; CBS executive Andy Hill; Coach's youngest great-granddaughter, Cori Nicholson; and teacher and junior basketball coach Bob Vigars. Especially interesting are the unconventional stories penned by Hill and Vigars. As a young basketball player at UCLA, Hill had a difficult relationship with Coach Wooden, and only realized the value of what he had learned years later. Vigars has met Wooden only through Wooden's writing, and was included in this book on the basis of a letter he wrote to Wooden in 2008.

The theme at the heart of A Game Plan for Life is a maxim from Joshua Wooden, John Wooden's father: "There is nothing you know that you haven't learned from someone else." Each of us has multiple opportunities to learn from others, and to teach others. Be alert for learning opportunities throughout your life, and don't be afraid to ask for assistance from those from whom you can learn. As well, be a teacher to those who follow you, by deeds as well as by words. Coach Wooden makes clear that each of us serves in dual roles throughout our lives, both as student and teacher. And key lessons span generations-- lessons taught to Coach Wooden by his father are now being learned by the fifth generation of Woodens.

A more subtle lesson, also well-taught by Coach Wooden in this book, is that it may be necessary to step out of your comfort zone to ask for help, to recognize the lessons that you need to know, or to become a mentor to others. Some of us, like myself, are comfortable with mentoring others, but find it difficult to ask for support-- this book is useful in that it demonstrates how many accomplished people seek out the famed John Wooden for assistance. Others, like Wooden mentee Andy Hill, had a difficult early relationship with their mentor but realized the value of what they learned later on. Others find it difficult to teach what they have learned, or do not realize that their example is valuable to others-- but exert a positive influence.

As well, a Game Plan for Life draws instruction from Coach Wooden's justly famed Pyramid of Success. The Pyramid is a compilation of John Wooden's key building blocks of competitive greatness. A Game Plan for Life served as my introduction to the Pyramid-- I found these principles solid and worthwhile, and look forward to studying their subtleties more fully. Others will find this discussion a useful refresher. The principles incorporated in the Pyramid are virtues that have been central to the American character-- it is high time to revisit them and cement and expand personal and collective use of them once again.

I applaud Coach Wooden and his co-author, Don Yaeger, for producing this superb and readable book. I count myself fortunate to be a new mentee of Coach Wooden, and hope that he and his family will see this review. Thank you, Coach, for your help and your sterling example.

I hope that this book will be bought and circulated by readers from all walks of life, by schools and by libraries. With any luck, many will read this book and have the pleasure of being mentored by the remarkable John Wooden.
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on May 22, 2010
There is a rampant disease out in the world of coaching and leadership. Whether it be on the field, the court or from the corner office, out of their own frustrations and inability to positively enroll and engage their sports and business teams and keep them on the road to success, more leaders and coaches are resorting to shaming, blaming and "throwing people under the bus."

One of the greatest tragedies in sports and in business is when instead of setting talented people up for success, you set them up for failure.

Wooden's book on mentoring is an antidote to the leadership poison that is so widespread.

If you read it and heed it, you cannot help but be ennobled and enabled to get the most from your people.

Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone
Get Out of Your Own Way at Work...And Help Others Do the Same: Conquer Self-Defeating Behavior on the JobGet Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior
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VINE VOICEon May 16, 2010
Co-authored books by sports personalities often tend to take the approach of sharing career highlights and victories, which are meant to motivate the rest of us.

60 days ago, I offered a very positive review of WOODEN ON LEADERSHIP, and I am delighted to provide an additional one for a very different book. In A GAME PLAN FOR LIFE - THE POWER OF MENTORING, Wooden and co-author Don Yaeger do not share war stories but fundamental and valuable life lessons.

Wooden shares what he views as truly powerful in the examples of 7 people who mentored him and 7 others that he passed it forward to.

As in some of his other books, he shares his 15 POWERS OF THE PYRAMID, which continue to impress me (p.84) as a recommendation to individuals and executives who are looking for ways to lead people to "victory" and success in the "game" of life.

Feedback is always welcome
John Hogan
HoganHospitality com
HospitalityEducators com
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