A Game Plan for Life: the Power of Mentoring
The book written by John Wooden is an outstanding piece of art, which attracts attention of any reader willing to learn more about the secrets of leadership. John Wooden proved that leadership is not possible to reach only by receiving some piece of advice and by reading various literature sources, which help understand the key principles of success. In fact, the book describes the majority of people, met by John Wooden during his life. The author decided to describe the lessons he received from the communication with every individual who influenced his life. The unique characteristic about the book is that it discusses people from Johns life from the perspective of both teachers and students. It is a unique combination of lessons learnt and lessons given to others based on the experience of a single person.
First, the book does not contain any practical recommendations on how to reach success in leadership. It does not offer its reader to follow specific steps towards achievement of the appropriate leadership position. In fact, the book is an inspirational type of literature, which provides the reader with his own conclusions on the stories from the book. The book describes eight mentors, who became the main leaders from the viewpoint of John Wooden. The author successfully included his father, his school principle, college coaches, and even his wife in the book (Wooden & Yaeger, 2009). All the people named above had a significant influence on Johns life. The book proudly describes every person as a mentor, who became the source of knowledge and wisdom for John. Abraham Lincoln and Mother Teresa also became mentors for John Wooden, which means that he has always been looking for lessons of wisdom from the legendary historical figures (Wooden & Yaeger, 2009). However, John had never met neither Mother Teresa, nor Abraham Lincoln. A pyramid of success provided by John reflects every piece of contribution of every mentor. It is a proof that John managed to obtain the appropriate amount of knowledge, which helped him throughout life challenges. The following picture reflects a well-known pyramid provided in the book (Wooden & Yaeger, 2009).
Fig. 1. The Pyramid of Success
John Wooden explains that the pyramid of success may look pointless at first sight. However, if someone tries to understand it, it will be possible to see the reflection of every block. The pyramid is a result of the authors life experience and communication with many people. In particular, the author mentioned that his pyramid of success can be applied in any sphere of life depending on the aspirations of the one who decided to use it. By the end of the book, it is possible to understand the root of Johns life and the lessons he received throughout years. In general, the book is a reflection of the authors experience and his thoughts about every challenge, which changed him. In addition, John provided the reader with seven rules of life, which should help understand how to reach personal goals towards success achievement. On the one hand, the rules are philosophic enough to make them difficult to understand. On the other hand, the author did everything to put much sense in every principle, which he successfully used.
Connection to the Theories
The discussed book has several connections to the topics discussed in the class. For example, in terms of leadership theory contingency, it is possible to mention the importance of the leader-employees relationship, which builds the core of any success. The book depicts the importance of building relations with the surrounding people in order to gain their respect and loyalty. From this point of view, it is possible to claim that the book is appropriate for the consideration of the guide towards building balance in personal life by making relations with others full of respect, responsibility, and tolerance.
Further, it is possible to find the connection between path-goal leadership theory, which also has some traces in the book. In this aspect, it is possible to see participation, communication, challenging goals, and the art of building relations in the book. From this perspective, the author makes a special emphasis on the diversity of leadership theories, which should contribute to the development of the appropriate leadership style for every individual according to his needs. On the example of the authors life, it is possible to see that there is a need to adhere to every challenge and take advantages from every experience. In addition, it proves that there is no receipt for success achievement or guide for the most effective leadership.
As for the behavioral theory, it is also possible to draw a parallel between the book and the class discussions. For example, the author mentions that a behavior of every individual is a result of the response to the stimuli coming from the external environment. In such way, it is obvious that there is a need to consider the behavioral theory in the success achievement. It can help explain the majority of decisions people make, as well as other factors, which influenced every choice. From the point of leadership, it can help predict the followers response to the leaders action. It is the primary thought, which occurs to a person after reading the book.
Transformational leadership has also been reflected in the book. The author successfully proved that there is a need to use different techniques and approaches towards building a personal way to goals achievement. Transformational leadership means having a clear vision, which everyone will be eager to follow. The book showed that spreading personal ideas and sharing personal experience can help others rely on the specific vision. Moreover, a leaders vision is expected to unite others and encourage them to achieve the common goals. Supporting others and helping them to move towards specific goals are the primary characteristic features of the outstanding leader.
Finally, the leader-member exchange theory is also mentioned in the book. John Wooden proved that his life experience was full of people of different ages and occupations (Wooden & Yaeger, 2009). The author pointed at the idea that treating everyone in the same way would lead to mistakes. Everyone deserves special attitude and attention due to the different worldviews, values, principles, and experiences. In such way, every member of a team is a personality who needs to have a special consideration in order to know how to learn about success achievement. John Wooden described different mentors from different periods of his life and taught him how to be an outstanding coach and leader in his activity.
Opinions and Real-World Examples
An overall impression of the book is that it is appropriate for everyone who has problems in the world of business. It is a guide towards looking for personal comfort zone in leadership. It teaches how to nourish mind with effective ideas and meaningful goals. The book helps accept every life challenge and consider it a part of the big journey towards success. In fact, one of the main messages of the book is that acceptance of the surrounding world with its difficulties is the key to realization of the personal approach towards leadership. In such way, it is possible to learn how to relate to other peoples experiences. In general, it was easy to read the story written by John Wooden, who dedicated his work to sharing his personal life facts.
The real world holds many examples of the same moments described by John Wooden. For example, a mother or a family member can become the most effective coach, while it would be difficult to realize it at once. In the majority of cases, people are looking for mentors in the surrounding world, rather than considering the dearest ones. The contemporary world is full of the beginners in business looking for guidance and support. However, nobody thinks that he has already obtained enough lessons for leadership. The book is a proof that life starts teaching us from the earliest days of life. Nevertheless, not everyone is capable of translating human relations into lessons, which can prevent from making mistakes again. The truth is that the book teaches how to notice every moment and consider it from different points of view in order to understand its value and worth.
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The book is a reflection of the most effective leadership advice, which can help everyone to understand personal values and principles of the routine activity. It is necessary to mention that the author managed to provide the reader with many suggestions on how to improve the communication pattern with the surrounding world. The book discusses the importance of keeping in balance the peace of mind, personal goals and aspirations, communication with the family, and motivation. In addition, the book is full of lessons shared by the author, which help understand that life is a journey full of challenges. In such way, the author supports the idea that it is impossible to learn everything. However, he explains that everyone has a specific secret of success and leadership according to his worldview and experiences. The rules given by the author can help concentrate on the development of the specific leadership strategy, which will be effective for every reader in a different way.
In general, the book is worth reading. It will help the reader develop the appropriate leadership model thanks to the inclusion of the outstanding figures in the light of the personal worldview. It is impossible to ignore this book or remain indifferent after reading it. John Wooden managed to design the book according to the perception of the common reader. In general, the author does not recognize his own excellence in leadership. However, the book shows much gratitude to every person who influenced the destiny of John.
The main leadership lesson taught by the book is that there is no receipt for success. Everyone is the master of destiny and decides how to achieve goals. However, the main lesson is that it is important to have a clear vision of the daily performance. Moreover, it is necessary to relate to the experiences of other people and take their success as an example of personal development. The book proved that leadership is not only connected to leading people. It is an approach towards obtaining an appropriate life balance full of wisdom helping in the decision-making process. The book became a philosophic approach towards understanding the secret of leadership on the example of the outstanding leader. In general, the most important leadership lesson in the book refers to the need of learning the surrounding world and acquiring the qualities based on the experience of the outstanding leaders. Thanks to John Wooden, it is possible to think about leadership from the new point of view, which inspires to expand the boundaries of the familiar world and find new orienteers in the personal development.
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