While the classical debate rages in classrooms across the country as to whether true leaders are born or made, I posit that anyone who follows the guiding principles set fort by Wooden and Jamison will immediately become a stronger and more persuasive leader. Spiced with interesting anecdotes from past players and assistant coaches, Wooden on Leadership details the techniques of John Wooden, former UCLA Bruins basketball coach whose leadership guided the Bruins to a remarkable 10 national titles in 12 years.
The book begins with a discussion of Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success” – his 15 building blocks for leadership. Even Wooden’s definition of success is refreshing and unique: “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”
Unlike most leadership texts that are highly academic and contain a few “nuggets” that must be diligently mined, this book provides page after page of real-world examples of leadership through the eyes of a coach – or a “teacher,” as Wooden prefers to call himself. Each example is shared through basketball coaching experiences, but carefully applied back to everyday life and business. Wooden discusses the importance of budgeting every minute of practice time, setting his players’ sights on personal improvement rather than victories, and choosing hard-working team players rather than the most talented athletes. Taught to spurn emotion and never focus on the scoreboard, Wooden’s players concentrated on squeezing every ounce of ability out of themselves through conditioning, fundamentals, and team unity.
Anyone who has seen a “March Madness” game recently can testify that most modern-day coaches could learn a lot from the values-driven leadership style of Wooden. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was his development of his players off the...