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Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization Hardcover – April 26, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 209 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A compelling look inside the mind and powerful leadership methods of America’s coaching legend, John Wooden

Praise for Wooden on Leadership:

“What an all-encompassing Pyramid of Success for leadership! Coach Wooden’s moral authority and brilliant definition of success encompass all of life. How I admire his life’s work and concept of what it really means to win!”
--Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People and The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

Wooden On Leadership offers valuable lessons no matter what your endeavor. 'Competitive Greatness' is our goal and that of any successful organization. Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is where it all starts.”
--Jim Sinegal, president & CEO, Costco

John Wooden’s goal in 41 years of coaching never changed; namely, to get maximum effort and peak performance from each of his players in the manner that best served the team. Wooden on Leadership explains step-by-step how he pursued and accomplished this goal. Focusing on Wooden’s 12 Lessons in Leadership and his acclaimed Pyramid of Success, it outlines the mental, emotional, and physical qualities essential to building a winning organization, and shows you how to develop the skill, confidence, and competitive fire to “be at your best when your best is needed”--and teach your organization to do the same.

Though he was better at it than almost anyone in American history, building a sports dynasty was never a goal for UCLA head coach John Wooden. Rather, it was Wooden’s passionate desire to teach his players how to become the best team they could be. To Wooden, “Competitive Greatness” was a tangible and teachable force.

One of the lesser-known aspects of Wooden’s career is the private notebooks in which he regularly recorded his observations, goals, and leadership concepts as they applied to basketball, success, and life. Wooden on Leadership draws from those personal notes to share practical and powerful leadership skills that anyone can use to improve performance and overcome self-imposed limitations.

Wooden on Leadership contains the best of Wooden’s observations, covering everything from teamwork (“It takes 10 hands to score a basket”) and self-control (“Emotion is the enemy”) to concentration (“Don’t look at the scoreboard”) and dealing with defeat (“Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out”). Featuring pivotal moments in Wooden’s own leadership journey, it explores the 15 fundamental leadership qualities--building blocks--of his famous Pyramid of Success, illustrating their relevance in building a winning organization. Each chapter concludes with Wooden’s “Rules to Lead By,” point-by-point action steps covering the chapter’s key concepts. along with pivotal moments in his own leadership journey.

“On Wooden” summary sections throughout the book feature penetrating insights on Coach Wooden’s leadership methods from players and coaches who worked with him during his career, including All-Americans Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gail Goodrich, and David Meyers and assistant coaches Denny Crum, Gary Cunningham, and Eddie Powell. As participants and contributors to Wooden’s legacy, their words provide a revealing and personal perspective.

Wooden on Leadership reveals the leadership wisdom of John Wooden. It presents the core concepts, methods, and beliefs that Wooden used to teach his teams how to attain Competitive Greatness, and true personal success.

About the Author

Author Profiles
John Wooden (1910-2010), guided the UCLA Bruins to ten NCAA basketball championships over a 12-year period, including four perfect seasons and an 88-game winning streak. He was named ESPN’s “Greatest Coach of the 20th Century” and voted “#1 Coach of All Time” by The Sporting News. Sports Illustrated said it best when they said: “There’s never been a finer man in American sports than John Wooden, or a finer coach.” In 2003 John Wooden was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Steve Jamison is America's foremost author and authority on the life and philosophy of John Wooden. Mr. Jamison is a consultant to the UCLA Anderson Scool of Business’ John Wooden Global Leadership Program. He has collaborated with Coach Wooden on an award-winning PBS presentation as well as several books, including the classic book on teaching and mentoring, Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1st edition (April 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071453393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071453394
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (209 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
To me, the words "Wooden" and "leadership" are synonymous. On and off various basketball courts, first as a player and then as a coach, John Wooden demonstrated talents, skills, and qualities of character seldom found in a single person. He led others by example but also by the force of his convictions. After reading this book, some may conclude that he was "idealistic,' "naive," "corny," "old-fashioned," etc. Not so. In fact, he was a strict disciplinarian with non-negotiable values who had zero-tolerance of attitude and behavior he perceived to be selfish, rude, unsportsmanlike, or indolent. He invariably accepted his team's defeat with grace but was saddened - sometimes so angered he exclaimed "Goodness gracious sakes!" -- by anything less than a best-effort, not only by his assistant coaches and players but also (especially) by himself. It should be added that, according to those who know him best (including coaches of opponents' teams), he has always been an exceptionally thoughtful, caring, and decent person.

What we have in this volume is an on-going narrative provided by Coach Wooden during which he shares everything he learned about achieving and then sustaining excellence. Of special interest to me is the series of "On Wooden" commentaries which include those provided by Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Denny Crum, Gary Cunningham, Gail Goodrich, and Lynn Shackleford. Although the specifics vary from one to the next, all of their authors agree on Coach Wooden's greatness both as a coach and as a man. One of the most interesting anecdotes is provided by Eddie Powell, who played on the South Bend Central High School varsity team which Wooden coached. The bus was about to depart for a game against Mishawacka High School. The co-captains were absent.
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Format: Hardcover
Unless you have never seen a college basketball game, you probably know quite a bit about coach John Wooden and his success at UCLA. Several excellent books have attempted to capture the essence of his coaching philosophy. All of those books made you admire coach Wooden and want to emulate him. But you ended up feeling like you were dealing with a saint who emerged full formed from a clam shell. How could a mere mortal follow his foot steps?

Wooden on Leadership takes a revealing look at how that philosophy evolved, the mistakes he made along the way, how he corrected those mistakes and the regrets he has today. A high point for me came from seeing his notes during the years that the philosophy evolved.

You still feel like you are dealing with a saint, but a saint who (like Paul when he was Saul) started out with some imperfections that you may recognize in yourself.

I came to appreciate several dimensions of the Wooden philosophy that I hadn't understood before. Here is my new learning:

1. Focus on helping each player become the best they can be in contributing to the team, and help the players understand how they can and are contributing to the team.

2. Attract people with good values who are eager to improve in team contributions.

3. Set a good example.

4. There are no little things. Everything is important.

I hope that anyone who ever coaches children's or school sports will read this book and be encouraged to become a better leader. Even if you coach fencing, you can learn a lot from this book!
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Format: Hardcover
When sports figures write books on leadership, they often take the easy route - athletic metaphors, game time war stories, tenuous applications of sports experiences to business. This refreshing book breaks through such superficial ideas as decisively as a dunk by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his prime. Ten-time national champion UCLA basketball coach John Wooden - generally considered the greatest college basketball coach to ever hold a clipboard - delivers a leadership book that stands alone at center court. Remarkably, none of Wooden's players recall him urging them to win. Instead, he urged them to do their best every moment. Take care of the process, he says, and the result will take care of itself. To Wooden, preparation is pivotal and every detail matters. Despite his almost obsessive focus on getting the little things right, Wooden believes in balance and consistency. He avoids extremes. Wooden's long-time collaborator and co-author Steve Jamison does a wonderful job of portraying, through the coach, a range of qualities, philosophies and characteristics that apply to every field. We strongly recommend this book to managers and executives who want to know how to lead people to victory in every game.
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Format: Hardcover
Coach Wooden, the legendary basketball coach outlines his pyramid for success in this wonderful book. I read a lot of business and self help books, and rarely make notes. I used my highlighter pen on almost every page in this great book. I absolutely suggest you read this wonderful book, endorsed by Stephen Covey, another wonderful author. I also strongly suggest Optimal Thinking: How To Be Your Best Self, also endorsed by Stephen Covey, because it provides the key to making the most of any circumstance, and life.
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