Lynn Guerin and Jason Lavin’s Coach ’Em Way Up: Five Lessons for Leading the John Wooden Way explores an evergreen topic, the wisdom of late iconic college basketball coach John Wooden, and how its lessons are applicable in a professional context. Guerin focuses on two elements above all others, the Individual Assessment part of the John Wooden Course and time-tested principles of leadership, but he likewise covers the underlying foundation of Wooden’s ideas about how developing our characters and connections with one another promote personal success, among other concepts. Guerin boasts unique qualifications for this role.
He works as President of the family-owned firm Guerin Marketing Services while also steering the ship for The John E. Wooden Course as the organization’s CEO. Wooden’s history can scarcely be covered in this review. The Indiana born college basketball coaching giant led the UCLA Bruins program for 27 years and, during one memorable stretch, seized ten NCAA championships within a twelve year span. Wooden, years after his death, remains a steady pick for greatest college basketball coach of all time and his former players speak of him in tones of hushed respect. Far more than just a basketball court wizard, Wooden viewed himself as a teacher and the game as a larger experience than the score.
The amount of ground he covers in only a little more than two hundred pages is impressive. He includes a lot of exercises for readers to take part in; they are not a gimmick but, instead, enrich the reading and learning experience. Guerin shares the book’s point of view with co-author Jason Lavin and additional contributions from Jim Eber. This may suggest to some readers Guerin could not produce enough material on his own to justify book publication, but Lavin’s input is crucial.
Guerin’s presentation of Wooden’s ideas is convincing, but Lavin’s presence deepens its authoritative stamp. Lavin illustrates in important ways how Wooden’s principles work in modern professional life. The prose throughout the book’s entirety has cool confidence from the outset and communicates with readers in a straight-forward, conversational fashion. The structuring for Coach ’Em Way Up has the same focused thrust. It unfolds methodically for readers and can be revisited for further insights. Guerin wants readers to have an ongoing experience with this book and never intends for it to be perused a single time.
It almost harkens back to a bygone time. Wooden was a product of a different kind of America, a culture with far different values and priorities, but his lessons possess abiding value. Lynn Guerin’s personal experiences working alongside Wooden make him an excellent person for carrying on the late coach’s message and the book Coach ’Em Way Up: Five Lessons for Leading the John Wooden Way will likely stand for decades to come as one of the best books on leadership and personal character you will find. It encompasses the full range of life, as well, rather than having value to professionals alone. Lynn Guerin and company have performed a great service assembling this book for the reading public.