Thursday, April 7, 2011

‘Coach Wooden: The 7 Principles That Shaped His Life and Will Change Yours’ by Pat Williams and Jim Denney – Book Review

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I am a pretty big sports fan. One of the legends in that realm is Coach John Wooden, legendary coach of the UCLA basketball teams from 1948 to 1975 (he passed away on June 4, 2010 at age 99). Pat Williams and Jim Denney have written a new book entitled ‘Coach Wooden: The 7 Principles That Shaped His Life and Will Change Yours.’

Here is a synopsis of this inspirational book:

Legends aren’t born. They’re made. When John Wooden graduated from eight grade, his father gave him a handwritten card and said, “Son, try to live up to this.” On the card, his father had written seven simple yet profound life principles:

Be true to yourself

Help others

Make friendship a fine art

Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible

Make every day your masterpiece

Build a shelter against a rainy day by the life you live

Give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day

These principles were the key to Coach Wooden’s greatness – and his goodness. Through powerful stories and advice, this book shares the wisdom that made Wooden happy and successful, not just in his career but in his life. This inspiration and conversational book will encourage, challenge, and motivate you to build these principles into your own life so that you can impact the lives of others.

Here are the biographies of the authors:

Pat Williams is senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. He has almost fifty years of professional sports experience, has written seventy books, and is one of America’s most sought-after motivational speakers. He lives in Winter Park, Florida.
Jim Denney is a writer with more than eighty published books to his credit. His collaborative titles include Reggie White in the Trenches: The Autobiography, with the Super Bowl champion; Undefeated, with father-son Super Bowl/Rose Bowl champs Bob and Brian Griese; A Model for a Better Future with Kim Alexis and numerous books with Pat Williams, including Go For the Magic.

I had the great good fortune to read another title by Pat Williams (co-written with his wife, Ruth) – ‘Happy Spouse Happy House: The BEST Game Plan for a Winning Marriage’ (you can read my review – one of my first - here).

Here is a clip of Mr. William in the Green Room at the ‘700 Club.’ He correctly predicted the winner of this year’s NCAA Basketball tournament; he also gave some wise advise to Tiger Woods:

Here is a video of Coach Wooden from 2001 as posted by TED
(a remarkable organization; I encourage you to check it out!). It’s lengthy, but well worth your time:

Coach Wooden was profoundly and positively influenced by his father, Joshua Wooden:

Joshua Wooden used those tough times to impress life lessons on his four sons. “Blaming, cursing, hating doesn’t help you,” he told them. “It hurts you.” It was also during this time that he taught his four sons what he called “the two sets of threes”: “Never lie, never cheat, never steal,” and, “Don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t make excuses.” (p. 33)

One of the seven life principles that Coach Wooden was taught by his father is ‘Be True to Yourself’:

What does it mean to be true to yourself? This is not a command to be selfish or self-absorbed. It’s a command to be faithful to your highest self, to your values, your honor, your integrity, the reputation you wish to maintain. Be faithful to your commitment to be a person of character, courage, commitment, devotion, perseverance, and diligence. Refuse to compromise yourself. Never sacrifice your principles. Refuse to betray your values. If you remain true to the best that is within you, you will never be false or disloyal to any other person. (p. 45)

Coach Wooden’s faith was strong. His life reflected his love of the Lord:

Fred Hessler, UCLA radio announcer, said, “John Wooden tried harder than any man I have ever met to be like Jesus Christ.” And Los Angeles sportswriter Bud Furillo observed, “John Wooden proves that Christian ideals must work. They do in his life.” And longtime UCLA golf coach Eddie Merrins said, “Coach doesn’t wear his faith on his sleeve, but everything he does in life is designed to please God.” (p. 160)

This book includes two appendices. The first one details Coach Wooden’s Legendary Record; it is truly remarkable, and unmatched by any coach in any sport. In fact, on July 29, 2009, the Sporting News named Coach Wooden the Greatest Coach of All Time in any sport, college or professional. Appendix 2 highlighted ‘Woodenisms,’ words of wisdom (most Biblically based) that he shared with people throughout his long and distinguished life. Here are a few:


Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished but by what you should have accomplished with your ability. (p. 177)


Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. (p. 178)

Coach Wooden left a remarkable legacy! And this is a wonderful book! My husband, Fred, has been an admirer of Coach Wooden for many years; I will be passing this book along to him to read. This hardcover would make a terrific book for a high school or university graduate (of either gender!); it would also make a great Father’s Day gift for the fathers and husbands in your lives. I plan on making some changes in my life to exemplify the life of a man who impacted a multitude of people to live better lives.

You can order this book here.

Available February 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This book was published by Revell and provided by them for review purposes.


torcon said...

Andrea, great post about the Wooden legacy; generational transfer and the true definition of success. Thanks for sharing and I'm thrilled to have found your blog.

Andrea Schultz said...

Hi Tor. Thanks for the kind words! And I appreciate the follows! Coach Wooden had an amazing life!
Blessings -

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