John Wooden was a legendary College Basketball coach. Under his tenure, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) won 10 NCAA titles, including 7 titles in a row at one point. Players who played under Wooden include Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Walton.

I think it was a Ryan Holiday email that introduced me to the book in question – Wooden: A Lifetime of Observation and Reflections On and Off the Court. This book is filled with gems and nuggets through and through. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I have read it thrice already this year, and I plan to read it several times more. John Wooden reels off one life principle after another in this book. Here is a very short selection of wisdom nuggets from the book. If you get a chance to read this book, please do so; you won’t regret it.

  • The more concerned we become over the things we can’t control, the less we will do with the things we can control. 
  • If we magnified our blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.
  • Time spent getting even would be better spent trying to get ahead.
  • Tell the truth. That way you don’t have to remember a story.
  • Persistence is stronger than failure.
  • Be slow to criticize and quick to commend.
  • There is deep joy and satisfaction in competing against an opponent who forces you to dig deep and produce your best.
  • There is a price to be paid for achieving anything of significance. You must be willing to pay that price.
  • Did I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions. Did I make my best effort? That’s what matters. The rest of it just gets in the way.
  • Forget favors given; remember those received.

Image Credit: By Associated Students of the University of California at Los Angeles – 1972 Southern Campus (UCLA yearbook), p.77, Public Domain,

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Prahalad Rajkumar

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