Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court

John Wooden is one of the most successful basketball coaches in history winning 10 national championships at UCLA including 8 consecutive. In Wooden, he details principles and lessons he’s learned throughout his 80 years of life.

The book format reminded me of Seth Godin – short chapters that piece together to form an overarching narrative. I came away with quite a few highlights. It’s a quick read, but it won’t hit my all-time best list.

My favorite quote was actually a poem from Ogden Nash

Sometime when you’re feeling important,
Sometime when your ego’s in bloom,
Sometime when you take it for granted,
You’re the best qualified in the room.

Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how it humbles your soul.

Take a bucket and fill it with water;
Put your hand in it up to the wrist.
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining
Is the measure of how you’ll be missed.

You may splash all you please when you enter;
You can stir up the water galore;
But stop, and you’ll find in a minute,
That it looks quite the same as before.

The moral in this quaint example
Is do just the best that you can.
Be proud of yourself, but remember,
There’s no indispensable man!