Wisdom from Coach Wooden

John Wooden learned important lessons from his father, Joshua Wooden. Below are Joshua Wooden’s Two Sets of Threes and his Seven-Point Creed.

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Two Sets of Threes

  1. Never lie
  2. Never cheat.
  3. Never steal.
  1. Don’t whine.
  2. Don’t complain.
  3. Don’t make excuses.

Seven Point Creed

  1. Be true to yourself.
  2. Help others.
  3. Make each day your masterpiece.
  4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
  5. Make friendship a fine art.
  6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
  7. Pray for guidance, and count and give thanks for your blessings every day.


“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” John Wooden

I have been a fan of John Wooden ever since I read his book They Call Me Coach. I admired him as a teaching coach and as an exemplary man. The four books below will bless your life with wisdom taught by Coach Wooden. All are written by John Wooden and Steve Jamison.

My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004).

A wonderful and inspiring self-portrait of a humble man, an effective teacher, and America’s most successful coach. I recommend reading this book first.

“Meet the man from the beginning—his family, his struggles, his triumphs, his character development, and his earned wisdom.” Steve Covey

“There has never been a finer coach in American sports than John Wooden. Nor a finer man.” Rick Reilly

Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and off the Court (Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1997).

Summarizes the wisdom of John Wooden. He shares his personal philosophy on family, achievement, success, and excellence. Organized into short sections making it easy to read and useful for parents, teachers, and coaches.

Wooden on Leadership (with rare excerpts from Coach Wooden’s private notebooks). (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005).

Wooden’s 12 Lessons on Leadership and his Pyramid of Success. Leadership principles that will help one develop the skill and confidence to be able to do one’s best in every area of life.

The Essential Wooden: A Lifetime of Lessons on Leaders and Leadership (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007).

A Collection of Wooden’s opinions, observations, principles, and lessons for preparing and building a team or organization to be successful by instilling personal drive and determination. Includes his pre-season letters to players and his analyses of some famous players and coaches.

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