Remembering 'The Wizard of Westwood'
Title: The Essential Wooden. A Lifetime of Lessons on Leaders and Leadership;
Authors: John Wooden and Steve Jamison;
Publisher: McGraw-Hill, 2006;
ISBN: 978-0071484350, 188 pages
Review: The Essential Wooden
By Rolf Dobelli, Chairman, getAbstract
Each page in this terrific book offers nuggets of wisdom from one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time. John Wooden's UCLA teams won 10 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships in 12 years, including 88 consecutive winning games, setting legendary and enduring records. But the way Wooden's players behaved was even more impressive than the number of games they won.
Never arrogant, the Bruins epitomized self-control and teamwork -- unselfish, disciplined and intense. An outstanding tactician, Wooden recruited superbly talented athletes. However, he always believed that basketball was merely a vehicle for teaching his players about life and what really matters, hence this book of maxims and advice.
Coach Wooden's principles about leadership and individual potential extend far beyond the basketball court. He does not define success just as victory, but as a full, complete team effort. getAbstract recommends this book to everyone, no matter what game you play or lead.
John Wooden credits his father, Joshua, with instilling the core beliefs that shaped his philosophy. Joshua was a self-schooled, determined farmer who appreciated literature and poetry, completed crossword puzzles in ink and had a remarkable memory. He taught John and his three brothers to base their lives on integrity and to shun lying, cheating or stealing. He instructed them not to engage in self-pity when faced with adversity, and explained that complaints and excuses have no value. His most important lesson was, "Be true to yourself." John Wooden stubbornly followed his father's convictions throughout his life, as he succeeded on and off the basketball court.
Leading by Example
Almost without exception, good leaders also are inspirational teachers who motivate their students to maximize their individual potential. Solid leaders build strong teams whose members share similar goals and powerful, lasting bonds. Sometimes, if they are fortunate, such organizations win sports championships or achieve greatness in the business world.
Leadership means instilling proper values and emphasizing character. Honesty is absolutely essential in building trust. Leaders accept setbacks and defeats without pitching tantrums, assigning blame, or moaning and groaning. This consistent approach enables them to avoid emotional peaks and valleys. They exhibit self-control, and know the difference between "strength and force."
Depending upon the situation, persuasive leaders can both coerce calmly or insist firmly. They can be very businesslike, and, at the same time, understanding and gentle. They are never mean or disrespectful. Excellent leaders recognize that some individuals require sensitive handling, while others respond best to a more direct approach...
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