Wooden on Leadership Summary

Wooden on Leadership SummaryHow to Create a Winning Organization

John Wooden is one of the best UCLA basketball coaches of all time because he leads with principles – and never neglects any detail.

To dispatch a strong message to the world, one must be willing to take the hits coming in its way.

Who Should Read “Wooden on Leadership”? And Why?

When sports experts and other personalities write books on sport-leadership, they usually take the easy road, disregarding all the major “war-situations” and difficult surroundings that really shaped the new era of athleticism.

The straightforward way consists of – winning shots, athletic metaphors, game time pep talks, personal experiences, and other casual situations. The real fire happens behind the scenes, the mind games, the inner battle, etc.

The authors don’t strictly impose a theory related to sports; their views are broad because any sport carries set of principles and strategies with it. As such this book is highly recommended to all sport-oriented people, strategists, managers, coaches and ordinary people who want to leave a mark on this planet.

About John Wooden & Steve Jamison

John WoodenJohn Wooden was born on October 14th, 1910 in Hall, Indiana – U.S. During the WW2 he served in the Navy and retired as a lieutenant. In his early 20s, he played basketball for Purdue as a guard. From 1946, John began focusing on his coaching career, winning 10 NCAA national championships and becoming the first ever coach to come to double figures. ESPN has even named him as “The Coach of The Century”.

Steve JamisonSteve Jamison is John’s friend, a longtime associate and the co-author of this one-of-a-kind book.

“Wooden on Leadership Summary”

The famous basketball “celebrity” and coach John Wooden, realized that his coaching days are numbered when his name was associated with fame and glory. The celebrity status bothered him in all ways, and he didn’t want to disgrace the sport of basketball.

Generally speaking, his impact on and off the court meant a lot to basketball fans all over the world. On one occasion, at a gathering of coaches, the emcee politely asked John to go to the next room or to distance himself from the other coaches.

He was surprised and probably shocked to know that his presence can be the cause of a disturbance. His fame overshadowed everyone especially his colleagues; as a result of John’s basketball perfection and personal charisma. Sooner or later, John had to put an end to this; the decision fell on the “sooner”.

The Hall of Fame, membership sat on his shoulders, even though Wooden was only the son of a poor farmer. Probably that motivated him throughout his career. The point he proved remains engraved deep into all basketball fanatics’ hearts all over the world.

The “popular” stature, was not a part of his character, so being a celebrity distraction didn’t suit him. According to John, balance is everything, basketball or no basketball. A person without principles is a dead man, individual without ethics is nothing, and probably man/woman without ambition is mediocre.

Reaching success is a tricky business because you must be willing to undergo a drastic inner reform. In fact, only a small portion of the population is capable of doing that. He never emphasized the value of basketball, as much as John believed in all-around goodness, and integrity.

Spirit, body, mind, heart, and career – they all come as one unit, one cannot do without the other. This sort of balance still represents the foundation for prosperity and happiness.

This refreshing, and unique book confronts any superficial ideas even if they are related to legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. On numerous occasions, Wooden declared that practice makes perfect, but basketball is not the essence of life. Your game should speak about your behavior outside the court as well.

According to many, John Wooden is the greatest basketball college coach of all time. His reputation speaks for itself. Ten-time national champion aside, he brought principles to the game of basketball, John brought passion and devotion.

All of these things matter more than simple trophies and awards. Even the legendary Mike Krzyzewski claims that John Wooden left a mark on this game, and he definitely deserves the status of – the greatest ever. This book enables you to be the judge; it gives you the urge to understand basketball and adopt some of the core principles used by the basketball-legend.

His exact words were “Only show commitment, play with eagerness and desire, the result will come at the end”. These words were indeed a remedy for the players because he didn’t put any pressure on their performance.

According to Wooden, preparation is vital because details are all that matters. The obsessiveness he had, was only a part of his daily job, John didn’t bother anyone with it. On the court, the players followed his instructions to achieve balance, consistency and team cohesion. Wooden’s long-time assistant Steve Jamison contributes to this all-encompassing book by portraying, his friend in an unbiased manner.

Key Lessons from “Wooden on Leadership”

1.      The beginning of the end
2.      Winning is not important as it seems
3.      More and more details

The beginning of the end

In other words, as much as he enjoyed watching and being a part of basketball, the celebrity status was a distant thing for him. After winning ten national championships, John realized that the time has come to put an end to one glorious era.

Winning is not important as it seems

The funny thing is that Wooden didn’t ask anything from his players other than dedication and passion. Victory is secondary; a win is a consequence of sacrifice on the court. It may come as a surprise, but that was his attitude.

More and more details

If you disregard any details, probably basketball is not the game for you. Wooden, on the other hand, thought that everything on and off the court could create value – referring to the team performance. His fanaticism reached a new dimension if we take into consideration some his instructions related to – How to fold socks or clip fingernails.

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“Wooden on Leadership” Quotes

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. Click To Tweet The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching. Click To Tweet The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. Click To Tweet Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there. Click To Tweet You can’t live a perfect day until you do something for someone who will never be able to repay you. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Wooden on Leadership” covers many topics that extend far beyond the game of basketball.

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Top Leadership Books

There are two kinds of people: those who are led and those who lead them. We’re guessing you’re here because you want to be one of the latter.

News flash:

It’s both a thorny path and a hell of a responsibility once you get to the end! So, just like Frodo, you better find a good fellowship before you embark on your journey.

And we’ve rounded up the usual suspects. The top leadership books are here! – just for you.

#1. “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu

The Art of War SummaryIf you haven’t heard about “The Art of War” before, we’re probably not living on the same planet!

Speaking of which: the author of this book, a Chinese military general named Sun Tzu, might have been from another planet as well! It’s kind of fascinating to think that he lived over two and a half millennia ago, and wrote something which is still widely read by CEOs worldwide.

In fact, it has influenced leaders as diverse as General MacArthur, Marc Benioff, and Bill Belichick!

In thirteen sections, each analyzing different aspects of warfare strategies, “The Art of War” serves as a perennial reminder that the business world is a modern battlefield. And that you need to be prepared for everything to gain the advantage and win.

#2. “Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times” by Donald T. Phillips

Lincoln on Leadership SummaryAbraham Lincoln is nowadays almost routinely ranked by both scholars and the public as one of the greatest – if not the greatest – US presidents. And this even though he had the unfortunate trouble of leading the country through its bloodiest war, and its greatest political crisis. In four years’ time!

Donald T. Phillips’ book was the first to go through the skills and talents which made Lincoln such a capable leader. And it doesn’t only examine what Lincoln did to overcome the insurmountable obstacles he faced. It also explains how his actions are relevant today, as well.

Read it! Especially, if you are ever in need of a strategy for some tough times. Because, let’s face it, you’ll never have more problems than Lincoln did.

#3. “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl

Man's Search For Meaning SummaryThe inclusion of Viktor E. Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” in a list of top books about leadership may seem a bit odd. After all, the book chronicles the experiences of the famous Austrian psychiatrist in Nazi prison camps during the Second World War!

But, that’s once again the point! Just as Lincoln can teach you something about leadership because he had to lead the US through the Civil War, Frankl can teach you even more because he survived through Auschwitz.

His main observation: the people who survived the Holocaust were the ones who didn’t give up. And they never gave up, because they had some purpose in life. A goal, which gave them the right mindset to understand that even suffering may be a teacher.

Possibly, the best one.

#4. “On Becoming a Leader” by Warren Bennis

On Becoming Leader SummaryOne of the ultimate leadership classics; maybe even the book to read if you want to learn what is a good leader. In fact, that’s the exact question Warren Bennis – once described by “Forbes” magazine as the “the dean of leadership gurus” – posits to hundreds of different people, from a wide array of professions.

In “On Becoming a Leader” you’ll find the question answered by a host of executives and entrepreneurs, but also by numerous philosophers, psychologists, scientists, and entertainers. Well-researched, broad, and thorough, “On Becoming a Leader” should be your Leadership 101.

#5. “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… And Others Don’t” by Jim Collins

Good to Great SummaryIt’s hard turning a mediocre into good company after years of averageness; and it seems impossible to turn it into a great one.

Based on a 5-year study which included an in-depth analyses and contrast/compare study of the strategies and practice of 28 different companies, “Good to Great” is Jim Collins’ attempt to get to the bottom of the causes which separate the great companies from the good ones. And his findings are both surprising and enlightening!

Want to become a Level 5 leader, that is, the humble guru who always does what’s best for his company? Read this book and find out how.

(Spoiler alert: Level 5 leadership is merely one of the seven characteristics of great companies.)

#6. “Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman

Primal Leadership SummaryObviously, vulnerability is not something you’ll look for in a good leader instinctively.

Let us rock your world:

Primal Leadershipfurther reinforces “Good to Great’s” conclusion that the most successful companies are led by humble leaders! Moreover, Daniel Goleman, the author who popularized the concept “emotional intelligence,” claims that great leaders possess something even more special: a quality called “resonance.”

It basically means that they are in touch with their emotions; and that they are able to channel even their negative responses in a positive direction.

Both revolutionary and long-lasting, as far as leadership development books go, “Primal Leadership” is a no-brainer on any top list!

#7. “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek

Start With Why SummaryAs Sun Tzu enlighteningly taught us in “The Art of War,” all the preparation works only if it’s put into practice. Or, in other words, we have strategies so that we know how to act promptly when some situations inevitably occur.

In “Start with Why,” our favorite humanity-lover optimist Simon Sinek, shows how it’s not only about the actions of the great leaders themselves, but it’s also about the actions they inspire in the people around.

And where does inspiration come from?

Well, it’s not in the “how” – it’s in the “why.” Because only when you know why you want to be the CEO of a certain company, you’ll know how to run that company.

And what to tell those around you to inspire them to act the right way.

#8. “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t” by Simon Sinek

Leaders Eat Last SummaryWhen we started making this list, we wanted each author represented with one book only. And just a few seconds later, we couldn’t decide which Simon Sinek book on leadership is the better one. So, we’ve decided on both.

After all, they are a perfect pair! Because, if “Start with Why” is about the “why,” then “Leaders Eat Last” is definitely about the “how.”

And, just like many of the books on this list, it’s once again about the “hows” of being a good leader; not a Machiavellian one. The latter one is obsolete nowadays, says Sinek here. The good one eats last, and, thus, creates a Circle of Safety, i.e. a group of loyal coworkers and employees who love him and follow him blindly – because they believe his vision.

You know: a fellowship.

#9. “Turn the Ship Around: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders” by L. David Marquet

L. David MarquetTurn the Ship Around Summary takes Simon Sinek’s advice and raises it by one!

Why not, he says, instead of creating a nice little camaraderie of colleagues/friends who follow you for the right reasons, try to turn your subordinates into leaders just like you!

Bearing in mind the fact that Marquet is a former U.S. Navy captain, this may not seem like such a wise idea. However, as he explicates in “Turn the Ship Around,” it more than works! In fact, it’s what transformed the crew of the USS Santa Fe submarine from “worst to best”.

Think operating your company is harder than captaining a submarine?

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#10. “How to Win Friends and Influence People: The Only Book You Need to Lead You to Success” by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People SummaryWhen it was first published in 1936, the subtitle of Dale Carnegie’s bestseller might have seemed a bit pretentious. Fast forward a century, and 30 million people would certainly beg to differ! No wonder the book made it in the Top 20 of “Time Magazine’s” list of most influential books. Ever.

But, what can today’s leaders learn from “How to Win Friends and Influence People”?

Well, mostly the same they would from reading Socrates – a little between the lines. And that is, that people are egotistical and think they know everything, when they actually know little.

Carnegie’s advice: use it your benefit. A combination of charm and the right number of compliments can turn self-dubbed lions into hand-eating sparrows.

And the best part: they’ll think they lead you whilst you’re pulling the strings!

#11. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen R. Covey

7 Habits of Highly Effective People SummaryThe first non-fiction book to sell more than one million copies of its audio version, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” proved to have been both a paradigm shifter, and a timeless leadership manual.

Engagingly and with a lot of bravado, Stephen R. Covey claims that good leaders are good people as well, and that they all share seven characteristics.

The first three define their independence. Namely, they are proactive, with a mission statement, and a personal vision. The second three habits talk about their interdependence. In other words, they value people, respect and understand their opinions, and are capable of combining their strengths. Finally, they continually improve.

Covey would later go on and add one more habit – but, that’s a different book.

#12. “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You” by John C. Maxwell

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership SummaryEven across two books, Covey ends up with 8 habits which define leaders. In “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” John C. Maxwell lists three times more. Obviously. Even more obviously – he thinks they are indisputable.

Now, a short summary may do enough for seven rules – but 21? No, we’re not even going to try to list them.

But, we’ll tell you that, for example, Maxwell’s law of influence explains why Abraham Lincoln was demoted from a captain to a private. Or, that if McNamara knew his law of solid ground the Vietnam War might have been a different affair. Or, that the law of buy-in is the inspiration behind the passive resistance movement.

Now – did we tickle your fancy?

#13. “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” by Adam Grant

Originals SummaryIf you want to be the leader of the pack, you have to be someone who doesn’t belong in the pack. And in “Originals,” Adam Grant teaches you how – and why – you must be different. For the sake of humanity.

Because, as he shows through a lot of interesting studies and real-life-examples, if it was left to the conformists, humanity may have never moved an inch!

For example, did you know that the pilot episode of “Seinfeld,” possibly the greatest sitcom ever, was deemed to be “weak” and “unwatchable”? And that it was saved by a TV executive who didn’t even work in comedy?

The conformists believe in the holiness of the status quo. The originals try to disrupt it. In which group do you think the good leaders belong?

#14. “Wooden on Leadership” by John Wooden

 Wooden on Leadership SummaryIf you’re not a sportsperson, you may have never heard of John Wooden. Which is a pity, because he was so successful and revered as a coach, that they nicknamed him “Wizard”!

In “Wooden on Leadership” – one of the seven books on leadership he authored – you can easily see why. Everything is so magical. Neatly structured and organized, and, yet – inspirational as hell! (After all, he was a basketball coach, so no lack of inspirational messages here, folks!)

So, what are you waiting for? Acquire this book and start leafing through the reasons behind Wooden’s achievements. You’ll be hooked by Chapter 1 already, dedicated to his triangular 25-behavior high “Pyramid of Success”!

Oh, you know that pyramid? Well, it’s his!

#15. “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In SummaryWe can tell you so much about the significance of this book by merely going through Sheryl Sandberg’s portfolio.

First, chief of staff for United States Department of the Treasury Lawrence Summer. Then, a vice president for online sales at Google. And then, the first woman to serve in Facebook’s board of directors. Finally, Facebook’s COO.

Also, a billionaire and a Time 100 laureate in 2012.

If she can’t tell you a thing or two about gender equality – who can? Here’s a quick preview for all the members of the gentler sex: seize the day! Lean into your careers. And take back what you’ve been unjustly deprived of for millennia!

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