On March 25, 2010, the legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden inspired me to write this book.

The moment I walked into Coach Wooden’s small but homey condo, I saw testaments to his greatness: book after book about leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Mother Teresa, volumes about basketball, photos of the coach’s family and friends, and snapshots of the coach with various athletes, movie stars, and presidents. This collection captured the essence of his long, inspiring life—a life full not only of success but also of love and learning.

Standing in his home, I felt as if I had known him my whole life. You could say that I considered Coach Wooden to be my mentor—an idol, even—although I had never met him in person until that moment 39 ...

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