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Wooden: A Coach's Life | [Seth Davis]

Wooden: A Coach's Life

No college basketball coach has ever dominated the sport like John Wooden. His UCLA teams reached unprecedented heights in the 1960s and '70s, capped by a run of ten NCAA championships in twelve seasons and an eighty-eight-game winning streak, records that stand to this day. Wooden also became a renowned motivational speaker and writer, revered for his "Pyramid of Success." The portrait that emerges from Davis's remarkable biography is of a man in full, whose life story still resonates today.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, August 2014 - As a sports fanatic, I was intrigued by the premise of learning more about one of the most prolific sports figures of all time. Sure, I knew who John Wooden was, but Wooden: A Coach’s Life provides a full perspective on the man who grew from humble beginnings in Hall, Indiana to the coach who won ten NCAA basketball championships in the course of 12 years – seven of which were in a row. What I liked most about this book, however, is that the author compiled chapters into smaller narratives that focused on significant moments in Wooden’s life, as well as some moments that lead to his UCLA success, such as the recruitment of Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill Walton. The book also calls to attention and debunks common myths about John Wooden. I highly recommend Wooden: A Coach’s Life for any sports fan intrigued by one of the most revered coaches of all time and by a life’s story few will ever come close to replicating. —Rob, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

A provocative and revelatory new biography of the legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, by one of America's top college basketball writers.

No college basketball coach has ever dominated the sport like John Wooden. His UCLA teams reached unprecedented heights in the 1960s and '70s, capped by a run of ten NCAA championships in twelve seasons and an eighty-eight-game winning streak, records that stand to this day. Wooden also became a renowned motivational speaker and writer, revered for his "Pyramid of Success."

Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports has written the definitive biography of Wooden, an unflinching portrait that draws on archival research and more than two hundred interviews with players, opponents, coaches, and even Wooden himself. Davis shows how hard Wooden strove for success, from his All-American playing days at Purdue through his early years as a high school and college coach to the glory days at UCLA, only to discover that reaching new heights brought new burdens and frustrations. Davis also reveals how at the pinnacle of his career Wooden found himself on questionable ground with alumni, referees, assistants, and even some of his players. His was a life not only of lessons taught, but also of lessons learned.

Woven into the story as well are the players who powered Wooden's championship teams - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Walt Hazzard, and others - many of whom speak frankly about their coach. The portrait that emerges from Davis's remarkable biography is of a man in full, whose life story still resonates today.

©2014 Seth Davis (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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  •  
    Rob - Audible 08-20-14 Member Since 2013

    Audible Editor, Car Enthusiast, Gym Go-er

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wooden: A Man Who Transcends Sports"

    As a sports fanatic, I was intrigued by the premise of learning more about one of the most prolific sports figures of all time. Sure, I knew who John Wooden was, but Wooden: A Coach’s Life provides a full perspective on the man who grew from humble beginnings in Hall, Indiana to the coach who won ten NCAA basketball championships in the course of 12 years – seven of which were in a row. What I liked most about this book, however, is that the author compiled chapters into smaller narratives that focused on significant moments in Wooden’s life, as well as some moments that lead to his UCLA success, such as the recruitment of Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill Walton. The book also calls to attention and debunks common myths about John Wooden. I highly recommend Wooden: A Coach’s Life for any sports fan intrigued by one of the most revered coaches of all time and by a life’s story few will ever come close to replicating.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen A. Isaacs 02-10-15 Listener Since 2009
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    "I feel like I know him so much better"

    I've always considered Wooden one if my coaching heroes. Not only is he possibly the greatest coach to ever love but I love the principals he stood for. Seth does a great job of telling who John Wooden really was. At times I was disappointed to find out how flawed my hero really was, but it's a realization that we are all human, even the great ones.
    My only issue with this audiobook is the presenter. It took me a while to get used to his voice, which I still don't care for. And, he pronounced a lot of words incorrectly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon Rosenthal 04-27-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Longgggg"

    Longggggggg....there was so much detail it might have been too much. Good because it gave another side to his story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger United States 04-09-15
    Roger United States 04-09-15 Member Since 2012

    Roger Laidig- Author of Finding Purpose and Joy, It's a Journey

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    "SETH HIT A HOMERUN!"
    What did you love best about Wooden?

    I really appreciated the honesty the Seth Davis displayed in telling the story about Johnny Wooden. Most of us only saw the side of Johnny in his latter years. I always wondered if it truly was possible to coach UCLA to so many championships with what seemed to be a gentlemanly approach. This book tells it all.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    WOODEN, The Full Story of Johnny


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roman 03-26-15
    Roman 03-26-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Phenomenal Biography"
    What did you love best about Wooden?

    What I loved best about this book was the even handed treatment of this icon. I have seen the author on various television sports shows and expected more of an "apologia to St. John" than the disinterested, dispassionate, and extremely well researched book that resulted. I also appreciate the well deserved credit and recognition given to Jerry Norman, someone with whom I was only remotely familiar, but someone who clearly deserved an enormous amount of credit for Wooden's early success (shame on Coach Wooden for not doing a better job of recognizing this brilliant coach during the former's life). Finally, as a basketball, and particularly UCLA basketball junkie, I was surprised by how much I learned about the players, coaches and opposing players and coaches throughout (and following)
    Wooden's tenure as head coach.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Wooden?

    His double standard. His "firm rules for the players" were clearly not evenly applied. Behavior that would get most players kicked off the team was tolerated and even ignored by the likes of Alcindor, Allen, Wicks, Rowe, et al. I was also shocked, but not really surprised by Wooden's tendency to ignore "boosters" whose antics would have resulted in probation and severe penalties for most other programs by the NCAA. To say that the NCAA was (and still is) hypocritical) would be oxymoronic. Years ago, I considered it poor sportsmanship and petty jealousy when other coaches, particularly Jerry Tarkanian, would bad mouth UCLA and complain about preferential treatment, but I now see that they were very clearly justified.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Stephen McLaughlin’s performances?

    Not unless he was the only reader of a book that I simply could not resist listening to. On second thought, make that a flat unqualified "no." If he were the only reader, I would buy the book. As another reviewer noted, his slow and monotone voice was so annoying that I had to increase the speed on my Ipod. McLaughlin was also guilty of several unforgivable mispronunciations. Unfortunately he has a lot of company in this area, but to butcher names that anyone with even a passing knowledge of basketball would pronounce correctly is reprehensible. Two prominent examples, Adolph Rupp's surname was pronounced as "roop," and in his first mention of Don Chaney, it was pronounced "chancy." The latter was particularly sloppy since subsequent references to Chaney (but not Rupp) were pronounced correctly.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    If it were physically possible and if there were a different reader, yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Seth is an excellent writer. The only other book I have read by him (and the only other book I am aware that he has written) was one about Earvin Johnson and Larry Bird---not available on Audible---was also very good, though not as good as Wooden. I hope he continues to write more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill MC CORDSVILLE, IN, United States 10-27-14
    Bill MC CORDSVILLE, IN, United States 10-27-14
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    "Great Coach...Great Book"
    If you could sum up Wooden in three words, what would they be?

    Tough, Tenacious, Tainted?


    What did you like best about this story?

    The intricacies of each season and the personal stories


    What aspect of Stephen McLaughlin’s performance would you have changed?

    Learn how to pronounce Adolph Rupp


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A Coach for All Time


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig Cunningham 09-23-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Well written and researched book. Dry narration."
    Would you try another book from Seth Davis and/or Stephen McLaughlin?

    This was the best book I have ever heard/read about the legendary Coach Wooden. Seth Davis did a masterful job! I only wish I would have taken the time to read this book instead of listening to it. I have no idea why narrators like McLaughlin stay employed. He was as dry as dust. I had to double the speed on my iPod to endure his monotone droning.


    How could the performance have been better?

    See my initial comments.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    This story would not make for a good movie.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marin 09-17-14
    Marin 09-17-14 Member Since 2006
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    "Very Balanced View of John Wooden"

    I'm constantly surprised at the detail of this book. Seth Davis would tell you what Wooden had for breakfast on random dates in the 1960s. This was a very thoroughly researched book and since I didn't have very much exposure to Wooden, I was gripped by the storyline.

    This book is well written and definitive. He also digs into the Samuel Gilbert so thoroughly that this book is practically a biography of Gilbert as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph 01-28-15
    Joseph 01-28-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Awesome story"

    I'd heard of wooden and what he accomplished but this story brings up areas that I never knew about. Upset players, coaches and peers. In the end I'm a better coach because I listened to wooden's mistakes and learned from them.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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