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Why This Book Matters:

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden is one of the most often-quoted icons in the sports world.

Wooden’s lessons on leadership and character development transcend the athletic arena and can teach anyone how to “be at your best when your best is needed.”

Key Takeaways:

  1. Focus on “the process” and success will follow
    1. Victory comes from a laser-sharp focus on the “process,” which Wooden thought of as all the building blocks of excelling at your endeavor.
    2. Example: Coach Wooden was famous for showing players the proper way of putting their shoes and socks on the first day of practice to avoid blisters and to bring their focus to the process rather than victory.
  2. Practice calm intensity on the task at hand and do not let emotions drive your actions
    1. Getting upset or emotional will only be a setback on your path to success. Instead, focus intensely on performing each aspect of the process to the best of your ability.
    2. Example: Coach Wooden’s players maintained absolute positivity by encouraging each other instead of critiquing or criticizing one another.
  3. How you do anything is how you do everything
    1. Plan and execute each step of the process to the best of your ability to put yourself in the best position for success.
    2. Example: Coach Wooden required his players to shave every day and planned each detail of every game half-time.
  4. Prioritize the collective over the individual
    1. Everything worth achieving must be accomplished as a team based on mutual respect.
    2. Example: Players were expected to treat each other with respect and offer each other only encouragement.
  5. Balance the spirit, body, mind, heart, and career equally
    1. You can never find victory in any pursuit if you neglect any one of these qualities.
    2. Example: Coach Wooden focused on helping each player become the best person they could be so they could become the best player they could be.
  6. Suggest, don’t command
    1. Forcing someone to do something doesn’t stimulate the internal motivation every successful team requires of its players. Giving suggestions allows your team the room to decide for themselves to follow your lead.
    2. Example: Coach Wooden suggested to other coaches the proper course of action, but also highlighted the possible consequences that could ensue if his suggestion was not followed.

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