Customer Reviews: Coach Wooden: The 7 Principles That Shaped His Life and Will Change Yours
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on March 31, 2011
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:

1. Have a VISION
2. Communicate your VISION
3. Possess People Skills
4. Understand that Character counts
5. Have Competence
6. Possess Boldness
7. 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:

1. Be True To Yourself
2. Help Others
3. Make Each Day Your Masterpiece
4. Drink Deeply from Good Books, Especially the Bible
5. Make Friendship a Fine Art
6. Build a Shelter against a Rainy Day by the Life You Life
7. 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.
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If you ever need a book to bring the reality back into check then this is the book for you. A very good friend loaned me this book, (which was personally signed by Mr. Williams), because he knows that I am a positive thinker. Let me tell you if I can emulate first Coach woodens philosophies, and then Pat Williams by just a fraction of what this book brings to the table I know I will be a much better person.
My wife plans on buying the book for me for my birthday, just so I can "drink from it" whenever I need a refresher course in life.

Thanks Mr. Williams, thanks coach, and thanks David D. for the loan.

Thomas F. Matt
2231 Beechnut Trail
Holt,Michigan 48842
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on July 7, 2011
Many books have been written on Coach Wooden, who has been the model for many young men in the sports field. The principles are as true for real life as they are in the sports world. Coach Wooden himself has written a lot of books.

The author of this book is Pat Williams, a senior vice president of the NBA's Orlando Magic team, the the co author Jim Denney has written many books with Pat Williams. It was the first book I had read on Coach Wooden, so I have no reason to think it is any better than any other book. What makes the book good, is the subject material. There are two Appendix. One with Coach Wooden's Legendary Record of winning teams and the other with a list of the 18 woodenisms, or famous sayings. My favorite of the 18 was DISCIPLINE - Discipline yourself and others won't need to.

Coach Wooden proved you don't have to intimate a play to motivate him or correct him. The introduction to the book was written by Tony Dungy and included this poem which they are not sure of the author, but it could have been John Wooden.

"Talent is God given: Be humble

Fame is man given: Be thankful

Conceit is self given: Be careful."

It is generally believed that John Wooden learned by the example of his father Joshua Hugh Wooden, and passed on the knowledge that he was raised by to men of all sports but especially basketball.

The format of the books is complete with excellent footnotes and history with examples of many fine players. Coach Wooden dead June 26, 2010. I am a non sports reader but I do enjoy basketball and the book is proof positive that the role of a good father is the strongest example one can give to his family.

The Seven principles can be applied to all walks of life. If you don't have a book on Coach Wooden this would be a good choice.

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 live.

Pray for guidance and counsel, and give thanks for your blessings each day.
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on August 1, 2016
This is a review of the book itself, and not of the 7 principles, which are in themselves quite valuable.
This is not a biography, nor is it a thorough examination of the 7 principles John Wooden's father gave him to live by. The book is filled mostly with anecdotes about people who knew John Wooden, loosely weaved together into the context of each of the seven principles. There is almost zero logical progression to each chapter, so each paragraph comes off as a bullet point on a list of cliche platitudes. Unsurprisingly, the profitable sections of the books are direct quotes by Wooden himself, and taken from his book "Wooden" and others he himself has authored.
Early on in reading the book, I came to the conclusion that this is a poorly written cash grab by Pat Williams and his ghostwriter. I have bought and will read "Wooden" by John Wooden, and I expect it to be much more profitable.
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on November 11, 2015
This is one of the better books that I have read.

We bought enough to pass out to all of our leadership group at work.

I think you could use the principles from this in any setting (church small group, work, individual, with your kids, etc). Very well written and very applicable and practical advice.
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on March 9, 2015
Had to put down the book to call my dad and tell him how much i appreciate him! Coach Wooden is an amazing human being and i agree that he is the best coach in any sport, ever, but Pat Williams is a superstar here. He does an incredible job writing about the relatiionship Coach Wooden had with his father and this book is as much about that relationship and the passing on of the 7 point creed, as it is about coaching basketball. Mr. Williams writes simply and softly and a seperate chapter is devoted to each of the seven principles and told through stories from athletes and friends of Coach Wooden. The book was an easy read and rarely has a book has such a huge impact on me in one read. I've seen Pat Williams speak on leadership and he is a master communicator as well a man a mission with an intense message. With so many books published on the life, career and principles of Coach Wooden, and I'm sure they are all pretty good, I'm glad i started with this one and recommend that you do as well!
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on June 17, 2014
The legendary coaching and teaching ability of Coach Wooden lives on in this fantastic book. The 7 principles that shaped Coach's life can be applied to any profession and any life. I have used this as a teaching platform for high school students in a mentoring program and also been able to apply it to my work life as well. Cannot say enough good about this book. You NEED it!
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on June 24, 2015
This book was given to me on Fathers Day........I must say that I was deeply moved by this story through the whole book...such a great testimony of Men of God who are not ashamed of the gospel and live it...I would love to see a movie made about the life of Joshua Hugh Wooden....I would certainly buy it and pass it on....I will be giving a copy of this book to family and friends... Such a blessing to me the past few days as I pondered through this wonderful book of much wisdom....a humble man years ago set the stage for his son to be a blessing to many by teaching him how to live for God and teach His ways....
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on January 21, 2013
Coach Wooden followed principles written on a small card. Once you've read the principles and understand how to apply them, the story is told. It gets repetitive, redundant, and even boring as you read the entire, and mercifully short, book.
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on August 11, 2013
Pat, I bought your book "Who Wants to be a Champion". I liked it so much I've read several more of your books. I've especially liked your How to be like series. I've read the Jesus, Walt Disney and just finished the Coach Wooden book. He was a fantastic person and a man of God. He has a heart for his fellowman as I believe you do. I'm always looking for things that can help the people God has put in my path, including or especially the employees he has entrusted me with, 123 of them. Your books have been very helpful in doing this. I'm writing this email to encourage you to keep doing what your doing, speaking and writing. When I read about Coach Wooden it so reminded me of our current football coach, Bill Snyder at Kansas State University. If you ever decided to do a book about him I think you would find him as inspiring as Coach Wooden.

Anyway, just want to say thanks for being a part of my life through your books and your faith in God. My life was turned upside down this last Christmas when my 26 year old son was killed in a car accident. Reading your inspirational books along with my faith in God has helped me through all this. To close this email I thought you might like what I wrote about Jason a few days after the funeral. It is a message that I have a passion to pass on to others. Thanks again.

Thoughts of Jason

We want to thank all of you our wonderful friends for your generous prayers and support. Kristi and I are grieving the loss of our wonderful son, Jason. It hurts. We have never felt a pain so great. It will continue to hurt for a long time, but even now the hurt is being replaced with healing thoughts of his life. Although his life was all too short, it was well lived. He lived life with a passion. A passion for his relationships,(both family and friends). A passion for his art. A passion for life. We know this to be true through all the things that have been written and said about him in recent days. Jason was well loved because he loved well!

Our wish for you dear friends, is to follow his example and find those things in life to be passionate about. Be passionate about your relationships. Your relationship with God, with family, with friends and even with yourself. It is so important that you work on this now. Time to do this later may not be there. In the seconds that resulted in the terrible accident Jason didn't have time to work on his relationships. He had already done all of the important things. The most important relationship he had was with God. He had accepted the salvation given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ when Christ died for us to forgive us our sins. Jason had a relationship with Jesus and is with him now. If you don't have a relationship with Jesus now, you can't have one after you die. The time for deciding is now, because none of us know how much time we have. If you have a relationship with Jesus now, make it better by spending time with him in your thoughts, prayers and his word (the Bible).

Although relationships are the most important, especially with God, living life with a passion is also important. We urge you to find that God given passion in your life that excites you. Jason's was his art. From a small child he love to create. He did it constantly. We have reminders of this all over our house. It's good to have the reminders of him. When he was deciding what he wanted to do as a profession it was obvious that he was going to be an artist. We were a bit concerned that he would be able to support himself, but he had a plan. He would teach while he did his art. He found that he was a gifted teacher and could share his passion for art with others. Our hope for you is that you find that thing in life that you are passionate about and pursue it. Don't let anything stand in your way. Find a way to make a living at it, to make it your life.

Kristi and I will continue to grieve, but we know where Jason is. He is in heaven with Jesus, his grandparents and others that he loved so much. We know where he is, but we miss him. As you see us in the coming days, months and even years it is good for us to talk about Jason. We love him and want to remember him. We know that you loved him and us and that you may not know what to say, but that's ok. We can work this through together.

We all loved Jason and want to remember him and his life with us. His was a life well lived. We love you Jason and look forward to celebrating with you someday!
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