Book Review w/ J. Curtis | Coach Wooden

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Title: Coach Wooden: The 7 Principles That Shaped His Life and Will Change Yours
Author: Pat Williams
Publisher: Revell
Year: 2011
My Genre Category: Get it Together!


Synopsis (5/5)

John Wooden; extraordinary coach and extraordinary man! In this work, Pat Williams shares the 7-point creed that Joshua Wooden, John Wooden’s father, shared with Coach Wooden when he was a child. Coach Wooden lived by these creeds throughout his life and attributes his success as a man and a coach to his father’s wisdom. He also made sure to pass these points of wisdom along to others! Mr. Williams does a great job in telling many wonderful stories about Coach along with making these points applicable to daily living.

Content/Writing (4/5)

Mr. Williams delivers well on this goal. He shares the principles that Coach Wooden lived by in such a way that they are relatable and easily applicable. This is mostly done by the stories that he shares of Coach Wooden’s life as well as his own. Certainly straight-forward writing and not very artistic in that way, but this is to be expected in this type of work. Well done.

Design/Font/In Hand (3/5)

The book does feel good in hand. I used a hardback version from the public library. I like the front cover as well. The font is good size, but somewhat bulky. The chapters were broken up well and often had Wooden quotes boxed into the chapters on the margins. Again, a straightforward format which fit the style of the book.

Impact (4.5/5)

Overall, I probably would not rate the impact of this book quite so high. I would not consider this to be a must read. However, for me it has a high impact as I have looked-up to Wooden for many years now and I had read about these principles previously. Mr. Williams did a fantastic job capturing these principles well and making it an enjoyable ride. I thought these principles were profound when I first read them but enjoyed them even more when attached to the stories and challenging questions Mr. Williams shared.

Recommend (4/5)

I certainly would recommend this book for anyone looking to add some simple yet profound and wise principles to their lives. Also, for sports fans – especially basketball – since Coach Wooden is considered to be the greatest coach of all time in any sport. Lastly, for anyone looking to be an entrepreneur or leader, certainly worth considering! These are great principles to stand on.


I can’t get enough of Coach Wooden and his wisdom. And I can’t get enough of his father, Joshua Hugh Wooden – a man so wise and so rich in insight that he formulated these seven life principles:
1. Be true to yourself.
2. Help others.
3. Make each day your masterpiece.
4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
5. Make friendship a fine art.
6. Build a shelter against a rainy day by the life you live.
7. Pray for guidance and counsel, and give thanks for your blessings each day.

Williams, Pat, and James Denney. 2011. Coach Wooden. Revell. pp. 20-21

With each new morning, we receive the gift of 86,400 seconds, 86,400 ticks of the clock. We choose how to spend each second. We can invest each second, make it count, treat it as something rare and irreplaceable, or we can simply kill time. … Life is precious. Time is irreplaceable. You don’t have a moment to lose. So make each day your masterpiece.

Ibid, p. 84

A library of good books is a wise collection of friends, mentors, counselors, advisers, and encouragers. Books instruct and entertain. Books affect the course of our lives. Charles W. Eliot, president of Harvard University in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, put it this way: ‘Books are the quietest and most constant friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.’

Ibid, p. 101

Overview (4.1/5)

Mr. Williams delivers a solid read and a great way to interact with Coach Wooden and ponder the wisdom he graciously and humbly shared with those he interacted with day-to-day. If you enjoy reading about sports leaders or about leadership in general, this will certainly be an enjoyable and worthwhile read. Enjoy!


© J. Curtis, 2022

Published in: on 7 AMpFri, 04 Nov 2022 10:53:25 -040053Friday 2016 at 10:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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Book Review w/ J. Curtis | Denmark Vesey

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Book Info

Title: Denmark Vesey: The Buried Story of America’s Largest Slave Rebellion and the Man Who Lead It
Author: David Robertson
Publisher: Vintage Books
Year: 1999
My Genre Category: History


Synopsis (4/5)

Mr. Robertson has captured the remarkable story of Denmark Vesey, a free man in Charleston, South Carolina. Vesey was born into slavery and lead the conspired event of what would have been the largest slave rebellion in American history. How did this man, who gained his own freedom, get to where he almost overtook the city of Charleston?

Content/Writing (4/5)

Mr. Robertson did well painting the picture of the life of Vesey. He had strong descriptions and filled in the surrounding context very well. One of the things I enjoy the most about reading history is seeing all the surrounding context and backgrounds that helped shape the event of focus and Mr. Robertson accomplished this task. At times, you can see Mr. Robertson’s own political thoughts spill out. I had mixed feeling on this. On the one hand, I appreciate an author putting pieces of themselves in their work. I think this important. On the other hand, for a history book, I rather stay in the context of the story. However, although I could tell we would probably come to different conclusions and have a different sway of the topic, I did appreciate how Mr. Robertson’s own thoughts did not overshadow the story. He put pieces here and there, but it did not distract from the story. As such, I thought it was well done.

Design/Font/In Hand (4/5)

The book feels good in the hands. It’s a nice size, has good supporting pictures – which I find highly valuable in a history book – has a capturing cover, and unique chapter headings. The only real critique I would give would be to use a different font, but it still works well.

Impact (5/5)

I am probably biased in this category. Being a history major, I think the more history we can read and learn from the better and the greater impact it would have on us. Especially when the author is being true to the actual history of what occurred, versus so much of the history we see today when authors write modern day thinking and convictions into the past. History must stay true to the context. I think Mr. Robinson does that well, even while sharing his own thoughts. As such, I would probably give this a 4/5. However, since this is a story that had such significance at the time and I have never heard of the story before, I bumped it up to a 5.

Recommend (3/5)

I would not put this in a must-read category for most people. If you are a history fan or a history student, then I would give it more weight. For the general public, I still think it holds value and would encourage it but wouldn’t consider it necessary. I will probably add it to my children’s reading list for late-high school.


“Die like a man!” From their common cell at the Work House, Peter Poyas and Denmark Vesey shouted this encouragement to each of the other blacks arrested and brought to the prison during the period from June 18 to June 30. Vesey’s and Poyas’s shouts gave voice to the fears and anticipations of each black man thrust, under guard, into the city’s prison for the confinement and torture of slaves: that once arrested and charged with insurrection, a black salve’s death was inevitable, and that a fair trial by whites was an impossibility. The only way to resist was to die stoically and silently, revealing as little about Vesey’s plot as possible.

David Robertson. Denmark Vesey: The Buried Story of America’s Largest Slave Rebellion and the Man Who Led It (New York: Vintage Books, 1999), 88

Overview (4/5)

Denmark Vesey tells a vivid story of this mysterious man who arose as a leader in his community and plotted and planned America’s greatest slave rebellion. His actions have created a quiet but definite slow burn on the timeline of our history as he periodically arises again through other leaders – even of the ranks of a Frederick Douglass. Certainly, an interesting read that was well written.


© J. Curtis, 2022

Published in: on 7 AMpFri, 28 Oct 2022 10:02:00 -040002Friday 2016 at 10:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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Book Review w/ J. Curtis | Knowing God

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Book Info –

Title: Knowing God
Author: J.I. Packer
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Year: 1993 (20th-Anniversary Edition)
My Genre Category: Christian Theology


Synopsis (5/5)

Knowing God is the 1973 classic by J.I. Packer. It is an overview of Christian Theology and Doctrine, written to be accessed by the layperson. It is intended to be an introduction to how Christians have interacted with Scripture throughout the centuries and also to help understand the character of God. In this fashion, to me it is reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’s work: theology to be ingested by the common man!

Content/Writing (5/5)

While tackling broad topics of Christian theology and the deep character traits of God, Mr. Packer does so with grace and wisdom. He not only makes these ideas easily accessible, but also firmly plants his feet and does not hold back the sharp edge of his pen when he feels it necessary!  

Design/Font/In Hand (4.5/5)

The cover is good, but for some reason leaves me slightly wanting. Beyond that, thoroughly appreciate this aspect of the book as well. It is a good size, fits in my hands well, the binding is pliable and easy to maneuver, and the font is crisp and clean; I really enjoy the question marks! The chapters can be long, but it’s a work of theology and this is to be expected. The chapters have good breaks in them.

Impact (5/5)

In this Lewis-style writing, the context is accessible, educational and challenging for a Christian at any point in their walk. Additionally, for those wanting to learn more about Christianity, or God in general, this work they also may find intriguing. Additionally, this book can be impactful for a seasoned and well-read Christian. Even if much of it is review, the way Mr. Packer writes and the questions he often poses, particularly at the end of some of the chapters, leaves you not only wanting more, but looking into your own spiritual walk.

Recommend (5/5)

For the reasons expressed in this work’s Impact, I highly recommend for those seeking to read anything relating to Christian Theology/Doctrine.


“What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God. What is the ‘eternal life’ that Jesus gives? Knowledge of God. ‘This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.’ (Jn 17:3). What is the best thing in life, bring more joy, delight and contentment than anything else? Knowledge of God. ‘This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me.”’ (Jer 9:23-24).”

J.I. Packer. Knowing God (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 33

Overview (4.9/5)

This is a great read to either learn about God or Christianity. Even for a seasoned believer, it serves with great reminders and penetrating questions. I will keep this book in rotation and reread it every few years. Grab a copy, get a large mug of coffee or tea, and make ready the pen, pad and highlighter!


Published in: on 7 AMpFri, 21 Oct 2022 10:02:00 -040002Friday 2016 at 10:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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