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A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring

4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  293 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
From the legendary basketball coach who inspired generations of athletes and businesspeople, an inspiring book about the power of mentoring and being mentored.

After eight books, many of them bestsellers, A Game Plan for Life is the one closest to John Wooden's heart: a moving and inspirational guide to the power of mentorship. The first half focuses on the people who help
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2009)
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Jul 06, 2010 Kris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bios, 2010
Don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t make excuses. Just do the best you can. Nobody can do more than that. Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self effort to become the best of which you are capable. (Joshua Wooden, John’s father page 23)
We are all called to give back. Since there is nothing we can take with us from this life, we should try to leave behind as much as possible—it’s a basic and well-known truth. Those of us who have been blessed with worldly success have an even gr
Larry Coleman
Mar 01, 2016 Larry Coleman rated it it was amazing
John Wooden, possibly the greatest coach in the history of sports (10 championships in 12 years!) has been a mentor to thousands of people, either directly through people he's coached and the pile of books he's written or indirectly through the people who have learned from him passing his lessons on to others. In this book, Wooden himself writes a chapter on seven people who he learned from, and then seven people (including legends such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, and Roy Williams) writ ...more
Sep 01, 2015 Cymiki rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 12, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Fast read......well, it took me a while to read only bc I chose to have other books on my plate as well. John Wooden was a rare human being who enjoyed teaching, mentoring, any chance he got. His humility is perhaps his most endearing quality for me. This was an enjoyable book.
This book is one of the best books I have ever read. Why? It is simple, inspiring, meaningful, and it provides me with an example of how to live my life completely and honestly, and inspire others to be the best they can be. It's a mushy review, but really, I think that any person who believes in giving and receiving mentorship should read this book. Any person who is in a position to lead, inspire, or provide examples for others, especially children, should read this book. I guess that leaves ...more
Apr 04, 2015 Daniel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible
Very easy, feel good read. Inspiring through out. I loved how you could see the positive influence of people spanning generations. John Wooden tries to show how mentors can be found in writing, especially biographies (uses his father's interest in Abraham Lincoln), family (his father, wife, great grand child), and of course teachers and coaches. Mentorship in Wooden's view boils down to something his father often said, "There's nothing you know you didn't learn from someone else." John Wooden re ...more
Ted Mallory
Oct 21, 2010 Ted Mallory rated it really liked it
Shelves: cheer, teaching
Many years ago, when I was teaching at Los Angeles Lutheran High, our friend and former Vice Principal had become a family therapist. The psychologists she worked with had developed what they called a "Life Model." One aspect of the life model was a mentoring continuum, having people older than yourself whom you learn from and friends younger than yourself whom you can try to spiritually parent.

I remember thinking that it was a noble ideal, but wasn't sure how I could put it into action. I didn
Feb 28, 2015 John rated it really liked it
I read this because we're starting a mentoring program at work next month (tip to Mission Mexico friends: it's in the Consular Leadership Library). It's good. Coach Wooden describes seven of his mentors, and then seven people mentored by Coach Wooden describe that experience. This is the kind of book that makes you wish you were a better person, it's both down-to-earth and inspirational. I hope I can carry some of the lessons forward.
Natha Anderson
Feb 11, 2015 Natha Anderson rated it it was amazing
Beautiful! Every single teacher - whether they care about sports or not- must read this book! The principles John Wooden taught might have been applied to basketball - but they were really lessons on how to live a full and productive life. Just W O W!!!
Kevin English
Apr 01, 2016 Kevin English rated it it was amazing
Shared with me by my boss, I quickly realized that everything Wooden shares about his own intentionality and beliefs was strikingly similar to the few informal mentors I've had in my own life. A powerful read that is making me rethink my interaction with students as well.
Chris Armer
Jan 27, 2015 Chris Armer rated it it was amazing
Books can be life changing. It's often not the book as a whole but certain quotes or paragraphs that are so powerful. This book contains such life-transforming material. I am a better person for having read it and hope to pass on what I've learned to others. Coach Wooden was an inspirational person to so many. After reading the book it's easy to see why.
Sep 22, 2016 Jessica rated it really liked it
I really love anything written by John Wooden. While the subject (mentoring) isn't totally relevant to me, the information was still very inspiring.
David Barney
Jul 16, 2015 David Barney rated it really liked it
Another wonderful book by and about John Wooden. A good powerful read, emphasizing the importance we can make in a persons life.
Dec 13, 2010 Rachna rated it really liked it
A quick read - this is a nice inspirational book that gives very valuable messages about being a role model to others (not just as a formal teacher, but realizing the teachable moments in your daily life). Wooden has this incredible way of making very poignant statements that have a lasting impact on how you choose to live your life. What was even more effective about this book was that, not only did he talk about his own role models and how they influenced him, but he also asked those in his li ...more
Jim Larkins
Dec 31, 2015 Jim Larkins rated it it was amazing
amazing. I wish I had discovered Wooden earlier in my life.
Jul 22, 2010 Tommy rated it liked it
It's a slim book, but there are a few nice little bits of advice here, and the second half of the book contains chapters by people who have considered John Wooden a mentor. My favorite was Andy Hill, a CBS executive who was a bench warmer for UCLA's basketball team in the 1970's. He never played much, and he held that against Wooden for over twenty years before he realized the influence his coach had on his life. If you're a fan of Wooden's, you'll find something to like here.
Aug 23, 2010 Dave rated it liked it
It is an interesting perspective about a man who is famous for coaching basketball. He was a real people person. It caused me to think how men who become famous at coaching are usually men who can coach others in life, not just in their sport. It seems like the really good coaches are really good teachers about how to live life. I guess the elements of success on the court on the field are the same elements needed for success in life.
Jonny Hale
Apr 25, 2016 Jonny Hale rated it it was amazing
If you want to see how to leave a legacy through mentoring you need to read this book.
Rusty Booth
May 13, 2015 Rusty Booth rated it it was amazing
I love this man. what a great mentor and teacher. I will always keep this book on my shelf
Bob Monek
May 31, 2014 Bob Monek rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. John Wooden was the teacher I aspire to become. Mentors are so important, both having them in your life and being one. Wooden explains his philosophy and the importance of mentoring in great detail with stories to which any of us can relate. Highly recommend for those who want to make a difference in the lives of others.
May 01, 2015 Jason rated it it was amazing
There may be no other man I would most like to become like than John Wooden. I sit at his feet, reading, hoping something will rub off on me and I can become a little like him.

A book full of wisdom that clearly shows the value and importance of mentorship and how we all can be both mentored and mentor those around us.
Pat O'brien
Jan 09, 2014 Pat O'brien rated it really liked it
A good reflection and lesson on what it takes to be a mentor and leader..
Aug 10, 2013 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Very inspirational! What an amazing man with strong values and a simple approach to life which gave him great success not only as a basketball coach, but as a husband, father, and man. He saw his role as a teacher.
Nov 25, 2011 Eric rated it really liked it
John Wooden was a legend in his field. This book gives some insight into who impacted him and also 7 different people who were profoundly effected by him.

An easy read and well worth anyone's time.
Nov 14, 2010 Luke rated it really liked it
I'm usually not interested at all in books written by sports figures, but John Wooden seems to transcend all that with his sage wisdom and immutable life.
Ryan Seamons
Jan 13, 2013 Ryan Seamons rated it really liked it
Great read on mentoring. 7 people Wooden mentored and 7 people who mentored him. Great principles and stories.
Jul 28, 2012 Kemp rated it it was amazing
if you are a leader, or want to be, read this book.
Kyle Ladd
Aug 07, 2011 Kyle Ladd rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I have read to date.
May 06, 2010 Kim rated it it was amazing
What an admirable man...a man of integrity.
Tim Plett
Dec 02, 2013 Tim Plett rated it really liked it
Make every day a masterpiece
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John Robert Wooden is a retired American basketball coach. He is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (class of 1961) and as a coach (class of 1973). He was the first person ever enshrined in both categories; only Lenny Wilkens and Bill Sharman have since been so honored. His 10 NCAA National Championships in a 12 year period while at UCLA are unmatched by any other college bas ...more
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“How many of us have conflicts with someone else- and how many of us pray for that person? We have individuals with whom we are competitive, or whom we dislike or have a quarrel with; but very few of us have true enemies in the martial sense. And yet if Lincoln could pray fervently- and contemporary reports indicate he did- for the people who were opposing him, how much more can we do for someone we just find a little irritating?” 46 likes
“It’s always about focusing not on the mistakes but on the lessons learned from them.” 6 likes
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