Book Review: The Essential Wooden

I originally heard about John Wooden through John Maxwell. Wooden has mentored Maxwell for years! So I obviously had to pick his brain by reading his book. John Wooden is the Coach of the Century according to ESPN, his teams won 10 NCAA March Madness Championships, and 88 straight games at one point.

This book was incredible! It was the first book I’ve read written by a coach. It was very insightful as well as practical as he goes into the details of how he actually ran his teams, what he expected of them, his coaching philosophies, and much, much more.

Here were some of my key takeaways:

  • We need to believe in a standard higher than victory
  • Success may result in winning, but winning does not necessarily mean you are a success
  • Live as thought you’ll die tomorrow. Learn as though you’ll live forever.
  • For all the shortcomings I see in others, I keep in my that my own failings are many
  • Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming.


  • Work had; prepare properly; some day your chance may come. If opportunity comes and you are not prepared, it may not come again.
  • The role of any leader is to make those “many” become “much”
  • All that we accomplished each day in the gym could be quickly undone by poor decisions off the court.
  • The more concerned we become over things we can’t control, the less we will do to improve those things we can control.
  • The past is for reverence, the future is for dreamers; the present moment is where you create success.
  • Passion is unsustainable over the long term…Success is a long-term process. Passion is temporary!
  • Make each day your masterpiece!

I’d highly recommend this to anyone looking to live a better life, become a better leader or coach, or on how to live a successful life.

Final Grade: A+      Buy it here!


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