23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2005
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
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
on April 23, 2005
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
on May 26, 2004
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
on May 26, 2004
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!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2004
My husband and I truly enjoyed reading "My Personal Best" and learning about the important people in Coach Wooden's life who inspired and taught him. He shares with us these lifelong lessons he learned from them. All of us can use this in our own lives.
We highly recommend this book to parents, coaches and teachers. What Coach Wooden teaches us in this book is exactly what we need to teach our children.
Inspirational! Great book! Really enjoyable! Coach Wooden's wisdom is invaluable!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
John Wooden is one of my heroes. When I was growing up, his teams were dominant, but more importantly, they made the game beautiful to watch. After he retired at the peak of his game, he quietly stepped off the stage. With the rush of books on leadership in the 1990's through the present, it was inevitable, and overdue, that folks take time to examine Coach Wooden's approach to leadership. This has led to a cottage industry in Wooden books.
This book is short, personal and focuses on life lessons learned from the narrative of Coach's life. It doesn't attempt to be weighty, just a good read, that imparts wisdom without hitting you over the head with it. It touches on each chapter of Coach Wooden's life, and particularly shows the infuence of his father, his high school and college coaches and his growth thru experience
This is a fun, easy read that leaves the reader wiser. Highly recommend
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2008
I was raised in Southern California and now reside in Indiana. I could not be happier that Coach Wooden also called both places his home. Though he clearly is a midwesterner at heart---as am I now---his legend truly grew in Los Angeles.
As my title indicates, we need more coaches like John Wooden here in 2008. Can you imagine what the current crop of college ballers would be like if they had a mentor and role model like Wooden? He had depth, insight, was spiritual, a reader, a thinker, etc. This was not required, but he knew all these attributes were necessary to grow "student athletes" into successful players and adults. Even a hippie like Bill Walton, the antithesis to a noble, mature person like Wooden---respects and admires "Coach." Wooden knew how to reach all. His quotes---taken from other coaches, his father and his own mind---are ones to heed. I have the Pyramid of Success on my wall at work.
He hated dunking, showboating, selfishness, hedonism, etc. He'd loathe the brainwashing and lack of civility rampant on today's college and high school campuses.
This bio spans a wonderful, rich life, leaving no stone or thought unturned; no mind or theory unchallenged or ungrown.
A remarkbale living legend, G-d bless Mr. Wooden (who is still alive at the age of 97) and all he has done for the game and collegians everywhere.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2006
This isn't a book about basketball, but about the foundations of success; not just for a team of ball-players, but for a family, an organization, and even a nation. There is a great deal of wisdom contained in these few pages.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2014
John Wooden and his life have been an inspiration to me for many years. I have read this book to my son a number of years ago and he recently did a presentation on the book in his high school class. The book takes you on a journey from his childhood days in Indiana through the time of his wife's passing. There are so many nuggets of wisdom in this book that you could easily dispense a gem once a week for a year. Here's one of them he shared during the season with the UCLA BBall team when they were the shortest team to win the NCAA Tournament, " I don't care how tall you are, I care how tall you play! The life lessons you learn from this book will make you a better person, parent and coach if you desire to do so. I gave this book to my son as a high school graduation gift. One that he gladly accepted. Read it you won't regret it!