John Wooden

One of my all-time favorite influential leaders is John Wooden.  If you aren’t familiar with him, do a quick google search, and you will find that he was one of the most successful basketball coaches in the sports’ history.  He led the UCLA Bruins to 10 NCAA National Championships in a 12 year span.  At one point, his team won a record 88 consecutive games.

However, if you were to have asked Wooden if all of those wins and championships equated to success, he would have told you, “no.”  According to Wooden, success is not measured by wins and losses.  His definition of success was this: “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

Wooden believed that winning was simply a bi-product of everyone on the team fully committing and giving their best effort at all-times.  Over the years Wooden developed what later become coined as his “Pyramid of Success.”  Wooden believed that if he could instill within in his players the attributes found on his Pyramid of Success, that his players would play to their full potential, and ultimately be successful.

pyramid of success

In his later years, Wooden wrote a book about his views on leadership, entitled “Wooden on Leadership.”  In the book he describes in detail all of the attributes found on his Pyramid of Success, as well as other insights into leadership, and how he went about leading young men in their pursuit of excellence.  This book is a must read for anyone interested in leadership and/or self-improvement.  Below is a Ted Talk that John Wooden gave back in 2001, give it a watch:



5 thoughts on “John Wooden

  1. I’ve seen many variations of “success” pyramids, but never this specific one. Wooden does a great job breaking it down. I like that his pyramid of success has a foundation composed of traits that make a good team, as opposed to many others that just focus on the individual alone.

    Great read, thanks for sharing!


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