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Editorial 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
  • 20-08-2014

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeff
  • 25-06-2015

Sadly, this is the only Wooden audiobook.

Go buy "They Call Me Coach" and read it. It's far far better. This book is more of a history lesson than a meaningful lesson.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Brandon Rosenthal
  • 27-04-2015

Longgggg

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephen A. Isaacs
  • 10-02-2015

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Roman
  • 26-03-2015

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • M. Inman
  • 22-09-2018

Very well written and researched book about a national treasure

Unfortunately the narrator butchered the pronunciation of so many names and words that it was very distracting. I also would have preferred not to have heard Sam Gilbert’s name so many times. Otherwise this book was so interesting I couldn’t stop listening. John Wooden made such a huge impact on the lives of the young men that he coached and not only taught them how to be better basketball players and teammates, but also how to be better men. To see the impact he made and the great respect that he had from his players and all those he came in contact with was truly heartwarming. Well done Seth Davis!

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  • shomik bhattacharya
  • 05-04-2018

a flawed man and interesting one. A legacy marred

a great man marred by a flawed and illegal recruiting system . great coach but also great support and boosters helped for good or bad.

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  • Karl Norton
  • 12-03-2018

The Teacher

An honest presentation of a man who tried to do and give his best. It was heart warming to see him reconcile with his “boys” in his later years.

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  • Kaleigha
  • 21-07-2017

Narrator issues.

I had a really hard time with the narrator. Once I sped him up a bit, it was significantly better, but still frustrating. His pronunciation of various sporting names and terms were off dramatically and quite distracting.

As for the content. It was very informative. Only negative in that front was that I felt that the author tried too hard to show the imperfections in the coach, without stressing the good qualities enough.

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  • Jesper
  • 23-04-2017

not About wooden, About tur time wooden live

not About wooden, About the time wooden live and his Player. read dont ring dels eks