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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2002
Listen to anyone who speaks about him, or read anything that anyone writes about him, and you will instantly know that John Wooden is truly a national treasure. This book of Wooden's wisdom and life philosophies is definitely on my short list of the best books of all time about character and leadership.

This book is a collection of the simple and direct beliefs and observations of John Wooden, arguably the best (college) basketball coach of all time. Interestingly, very little of what Wooden wants to teach is about basketball. His quick stories, short vignettes, and detailed memories focus on life and relationships with others.

Coach Wooden is a gentle man with the courage and discipline to live his life according to his deepest held ideals, values, and principles. Despite his teams' unbelievable success (10 NCAA national basketball championships in 12 years (including 7 in a row!), 88 consecutive victories, and 38 straight NCAA tournament victories), and his own fame (many coach-of-the-year honors, "Sports Illustrated's" sportsman of the year, a lifetime winning percentage of over 80%, and the first man to be elected to college basketball's hall of fame as both a player (3-time All-American at Purdue) and coach), he resisted the public pressures and temptations to stay true to himself and his beliefs.

Coach Wooden defines success as the "peace of mind that is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming." The book finishes with 30 pages devoted to Wooden's legendary "Pyramid of Success" and another 5 pages of his favorite sayings - 35 priceless pages in a priceless book.

At a time when America is re-defining and searching for true heroes to lead us forward from our darkest days, this book is a beacon of hope and guidance and should serve as a blueprint for making heroes of us all.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Having once coached varsity high school basketball for 13 years and having heard Coach Wooden speak at numerous clinics, I can personally attest to the authenticity of this book's contents. It correctly suggests both the man's wizardry and humanity. Jabbar and Walton have almost nothing in common except their talent to play basketball and their love and respect for Coach Wooden. He is proud of them but probably just as proud of hundreds of other players (most known only to him, their families, and friends) who are physicians, educators, artists, attorneys, public servants, corporate executives, entertainers, etc. He set very high standards, especially for himself. He prepared for each practice and each game with meticulous care. He hated losing for lack of a maximum effort but accepted defeat (after a maximum effort) with exceptional style and grace. Anyone who has any association with children, especially those privileged to coach at any level, should read this book. And may I add, anyone who feels adrift in her or his life should also read this book. The "lessons" provided helped to win so many NCAA national basketball champlionships; they also helped to develop the character of those who played on the U.C.L.A. teams which won them.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2000
I bought this book while visiting the UCLA campus to attend a mens' basketball game. I received "Practical Modern Basketball" from my high school coach as a gift when I began my teaching and coaching career in 1976. This became my coaching bible for years to come. When I saw this new book, Wooden, I bought it without hesitation, thinking that John Wooden's "Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court" was as much a mystery as it was curiosity relative to my appreciation and utilization of the words of wisdom provided in the book I received as a gift in 1976.
My career in public education has allowed me to seriously reflect on my life as it pertains to personal gratification of preparing for unknown opportunities and being able to rationalize with poise and confidence. I attribute many successes in my life to the Wooden philosophy that I followed in my early years of my career. Wooden's, reflections, is an outstanding assessment of what a man of Mr. Wooden's character achieved through hard work, dedication to his own philosophy, and the love for life and people. I have recommended this book to personnel within my organization,to coaches and friends. It is also a great asset for parents who need direction in how to raise their children, basing all dialoge and communication on respect. I truly respect the real value of this book as an asset to my future and my family and my responsibities as Assistant Superintendent of Schools!
Thanks, Eddie Booth, Winnemucca, NV
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2001
John Wooden had one of the most successful basketball careers as both a player in coach. He also had a strong family life with his parents, wife and kids. In this book, you'll read all his secrets to success that makes him a truly special person of strong moral values and organizational skills. He surely was a great influence on almost everyone he associated with.
There's nothing here about basketball strategy. The book is broken up into 1-4 paragraph anecdotes about subjects relating to family values, organization, and success.
His basic philosophy in winning was not which team scored the most, but whether or not his team played to their maximum ability. He also has some interesting stories about Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
The best part of the book, in my opinion, is where he outlines his pyramid of success. The pyramid is a step-by-step, building block of characteristics you must master which lead you to maximizing your potential and perform at the highest level possible, whether it's sports, business, or family. A must read.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2000
John Wooden, former UCLA Basketball coach, came together with Steve Jamison to compile a book based on John Wooden's philosophies. This book, "A Lifetime of Reflections and Observations On and Off the Court" appeals to everybody. If you're a fan of basketball, play basketball, or are a father or mother, son or daughter, John Wooden gives his advice to everybody. Most people will think that this book is only about basketball, not at all. If you're looking for answers for any kind of problem you are facing, I'm sure John Wooden will have some affect on you.
John Wooden is an 88 year old who was a former UCLA basketball coach, leading the Bruins to 10 championships in 12 years. He grew up in a small town and has lived a simple and basic life. In the book, he talks about success as a person, personal goals, acting towards others, behaviour, discipline, parenting, leadership, adversity, and numerous other topics - of course including basketball.
This book has made me a better person and a better basketball player. It has taught me that I can learn from experience, not things that I can learn before-hand. It has taught me how to constantly improve and how to always work harder. To be industrious and enthusiastic in everything I do! With that said, I'll leave you with a quote from John Wooden that has helped me improve in school, on the court, or whenever I'm working; "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail."
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 1999
Quite simply the most impressive book of this nature I have ever read. John Wooden provides all readers with inspiration and a challenge. I only wish I could have met the man. All the people who have been behind the creation of this masterpiece, should be congratulated. It will stand the test of time.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
John Wooden is more content with his role in this world than any person I know. But that's easy when you have touched so many people positively. I hated the Bruins until they beat my beloved UofMemphis Tigers in 73 behind Walton's 21-22 shooting, still considered on of the greatest performances in basketball. After that I listened to Wooden as a television analyst and it was inspiring. No words were wasted. Not maximum entertainment. Just pure knowledge for those willing to listen and learn.
That's what Wooden was and wanted to be, a teacher. In this one book, he states his simple principles, where he learned them, and why they are important. Imagine a man growing up early in this century in Indiana in a hardworking Midwestern family. That's what Wooden was and that's what this book relays to the reader.
Don't read this book to get a basketball lesson. Read this book to learn life's lesson and relish in a man who has no ego because he knows that it is a detriment.
I cannot say enough good things about this man and the life he led. This book was given to me by a friend of John Wooden's, autographed and enclosed with his personal business card. The business card contains the Pyramid for success. John Wooden, always coaching, always teaching.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
It's just a small little book, how can it be anything more than a collection of cliches? Hmmm, good question. This is all I can tell you: it works. Philosophy often has so little practical application in the real world. Not so with Wooden's message. Read it, absorb it, live it. You'll see.
Ten year's ago I wrote a letter to coach Wooden. He was so very kind to respond. His letter remains on my wall to this day, and the words of wisdom in that letter are within this book. I asked Coach Wooden how you can get players to "over-achieve." He corrected me. "Nobody can overachieve," he wrote, "you can only do the best that you're capable of doing. It's the leader's job to create an environment where the followers can rise to their own level of competence."
That is the key.
Create an evironment where you can become the best that you can be. Follow his words of advice and before you realize it you are within that "healthy environment." Next thing you know, good things just start happening more often than they did before.
Life is hard no matter what you do. Coach Wooden doesn't claim anything different, but his philosophy, which is really a country blend of Christianity, Zen, and a host of other philosophies simplified, creates that "healthy environment."
Short, simple, genius.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2001
I have long been a John Wooden and UCLA fan. Growing up in N.C., everyone was expected to be a UNC or NC State fan. I was neither.
I have owned "They Call Me Coach" for many years, and recently purchased Coach's "Lifetime Observations". While most of the information is similar to "They Call Me Coach", this book reinforces the solid principles and values upon which Coach Wooden has built his life. It contains fewer stories about basketball, and more about life, values and worthwhile achievement. It is another opportunity to gain insight into how this man has accomplished such great success as a person, not just as a coach. For the reader, it is also an opportunity for for self-examination.
Thanks to Coach Wooden and Steve Jamison for offering to those of us who cherish the Coach's contributions to life another chance to absorb the teaching of a lifetime.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 1999
This book has had perhaps the greatest influence on me as of late. I have drank from this book deeply, and read it several times. In fact, when I seek advice, I open up the little blue book and look for something that says about problems. Not only has this book took my basketball skills to a whole nother level, but it has made me a better person all around. I have changed many of my bad habits, and I'm pretty glad I have changed, as many of my friends like my new attitude, etc. For basketball players, this book will get you into it mentally. Before I read this book, I only had the physical talent to play the game, now I feel as if I have a stable mental view and I am in the game mentally. This book teaches you so much, I cannot say enough. Coach Wooden even guides you step by step, pillar by pillar, through the period of success. This book is a must for basketball fans, players, and for the average person. Even if you despise sports, this book contains information on life itself, it's a must for all.
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