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Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court Paperback – January 1, 1997
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- Publisher : Contemporary Books; First Edition Paper Back (January 1, 1997)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 0809228696
- ISBN-13 : 978-0809228690
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
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John Robert Wooden (October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010) also known as the "Wizard of Westwood," was the men’s basketball coach during UCLA’s dynasty years. Over his career he won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including a record seven in a row, and his team won a record 88 consecutive games. In 1960 he was the first to be enshrined as both a player and a coach in the Basketball Hall of Fame. ESPN named Coach Wooden the Coach of the Century.
But at his core, Coach Wooden was a teacher. The life lessons he taught and his quotes, known as "Woodenisms", have become legend. Fortunately, he shared his philosophy, credo, witticisms, and his pyramid for success with us all and with generations to come through lectures and books.
I was introduced to Coach Wooden’s teachings years ago and then reintroduced to them again when a manager of mine gave me a copy of the book, “Wooden, A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court”. I devoured it and once again I was hooked. In it, he lays out his philosophy on life, leadership, success, and personal fulfillment. He teaches through short simple inspirational messages that strike you as both common sense and deeply profound at the same time.
So I pulled out my copy of “Observations and Reflections” full of post-it’s marking key pages and re-read it. My objective being to honor him, but as usual I ended up once again learning from him.
Coach Wooden credits his father (as I do mine) with giving him the foundation for his life. In “Observations and Reflections” he refers to the two sets of threes – direct and simple rules from his father about how you should live your life that his father gave to him on a card.
• Never lie.
• Never cheat.
• Never steal.
• Don’t whine.
• Don’t complain.
• Don’t make excuses.
On the back of the card was his father’s creed, titled “Seven Things to Do”. I’ll let you do some research or read the book to learn them.
I am always struck by how similar his basic life lessons are to those I learned from my own father.
My father a man of few words (or who as my oldest son referred to in the eulogy he gave at his funeral - “a man of few words who somehow could give a one-sentence answer to any question about life no matter how complex”) had his own “rules” or as my children came to know them as “Poppa-isms”. He had many of them, some serious and some funny – but in each one there was a lesson.
Like Coach Wooden my father seemed to have an innate understanding of life that he could express in the simplest of terms. My Father passed away this past year, so I guess when I was reminded of Coach Wooden’s birthday I somehow subconsciously connected the two men in my mind.
Over the years I have gifted Coach Wooden’s “Observations and Reflections” book to friends, to young people graduating from High School and College, and to managers that I have coached (using it as a developmental tool) in my career - - and yes, it was required reading for all three of my children.
Take a moment to acquaint yourself with Coach Wooden and allow the teacher to teach. You might be surprised how familiar some of it sounds. In today’s complex world where at times overthinking things tends to happen, sometimes simplicity is the best medicine. Happy Belated Birthday Coach, and thanks Dad.