Coach John Wooden won ten NCAA national championships in twelve years. John Wooden had a 620-147 record during his 27-year tenure as the head coach of the UCLA Bruins. John is a lover of maxims, sayings and poetry. Here are some of Coach John Wooden’s favourite sayings and maxims.

Be more concerned with what you can do for others than what others can do for you. You’ll be surprised at the results.

Be careful how you fight your fights because they will determine how you live your life. – Cus D’Amato

Mike Tyson’s autobiography: Undisputable Truth is a story of paradox and contradictions. Tyson used self-discipline to become the youngest heavyweight champion in the world at the age of 20. Tyson grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn New York, in his words “A place where dreams are broken and memories are best forgotten.” He was a student of the game, groomed for greatness by his trainer and legal guardian Cus D’Amato. Tyson’s story shows what is possible, even if you grew up in a high-crime environment, was raised in dysfunction, and had low expectations from your family and friends.

In The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life, Canadian elite performance and leadership writer Robin Sharma describes the morning routine of high achievers – he calls the regimen: The 5 AM Club. In the book, he shared lots of thought-provoking quotes and insights from high achievers and elite performers.

The hero does not become great during periods of comfort. The illustrious and noble souls of our world became strong, brave and moral whilst standing resolutely in the storms of adversity, difficulty and doubt. It is in the moment that you face your deepest weakness that you receive the chance to forge your greatest strengths. Real power, then, comes not from a life of ease but one of intense effort, devoted discipline and demanding action in the direction of what your supreme self knows to be right. To continue at a time when you ache to stop. To advance when you long to quit. To persist in the instant when you feel like giving up is to claim your membership among the great warriors and honorable characters who led humanity to a better place through their earned invincibility.

Ron Williams is best known for his leadership at Aetna, where he transformed a $292 million operating loss into $2 billion in annual earnings. He serves as chairman & CEO of RW2 Enterprises, and director for American Express, Boeing, and Johnson & Johnson. He holds an MS in Management from MIT Sloan School of Management.

In Learning to Lead: The Journey to Leading Yourself, Leading Others, and Leading an Organization, former chairman and CEO of Aetna, Ronald Williams shares his leadership principles for self-leadership, leading a team and leading an organization.

In Finding Me: A Memoir, American actress Viola Davis shares her story of personal transformation, reinvention and changing her story. Here are some great quotatable quotes from Finding Me: A Memoir by Viola Davis:

  • Memories are immortal. They’re deathless and precise. They have the power of giving you joy and perspective in hard times. Or, they can strangle you. Define you in a way that’s based more in other people’s tucked-up perceptions than truth.

An expert is someone with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject. It is often said that it takes 10 years to become an overnight success. It takes a lot of time to develop expertise in a particular subject matter (10,000 hours). A lot of great ideas and dreams have been killed by so-called experts that come in different shapes and forms such as parents, teachers, friends, colleagues, scientists, mentors and doubting thomases. As Will Smith told his son in the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness:

You got a dream. You got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves… they want to tell you, you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.

Here are some great quotes on expertise:

  • An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less until finally, he knows everything about nothing. – Nicholas Butler, American Philosopher
  • First people will tell you that you are wrong. Then they will tell you that you are right, but what you’re doing really isn’t important. Finally, they will admit that you are right and that what you are doing is very important; but after all, they knew it all the time. – Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine.
  • The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence. – Charles Bukowski
  • That is why I never employ an expert in full bloom. If ever I wanted to kill opposition by unfair means I would endow the opposition with experts. They would have so much good advice that I could be sure they would do little work. – Henry Ford, My Life, and Work
  • In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few. – Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice
  • Nothing is more confusing than people who give good advice but set a bad example. – Norman Vincent Peale

Don’t let your boy’s schooling interfere with his education.– Mark Twain

  • Experts tend to be confident that they have all the answers and, because of this trait, they can kill new ideas. But when you are trying to break new ground, you have no interest in getting stuck in engineering conventions or intellectual mud. – James Dyson, A Life by James Dyson
  • Definitely consider the expertise of those who provide counsel, but evaluate those opinions against things that may be beyond the expert’s vision—like your long-term goals. -Ken Segall, Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success
  • True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes. – Daniel Kahneman
  • For the beginner, novelty is anything that hasn’t been encountered before. For the expert, novelty is nuance. – Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
  • An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field. – Niels Bohr

Uncle said I’ll never sell a million records, I sold a million records like a million times – Jay-z, Crown (Magna Carta Album)

  • Too many leaders are like bad travel agents. They send people places they have never been. Instead, they should be more like tour guides, taking people places they have gone and sharing the wisdom of their own experiences.- John Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable laws of leadership
  • The average person suffers from three delusions: (1) that he is a good driver, (2) that he has a good sense of humor, and (3) that he is a good listener. – Steven Sample,The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership
  • Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience. – Denis Waitley
  • An expert is a man who tells you a simple thing in a confused way in such a fashion as to make you think the confusion is your own fault. – William Castle
  • I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. – Bruce Lee,

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

American record producer, Quincy Jones shares 12 strategies and insights that have helped him navigate the roller coaster of life and creativity. Quincy’s career spans 70 years in the entertainment industry with 80 Grammy Award nominations and 28 Grammy Awards won.

Quincy’s former teacher in Paris, Nadia Boulanger used to tell him: “Quincy, there are only twelve notes. Until God gives us thirteen, I want you to know what everybody did with those twelve.” Bach, Beethoven, Bo Diddley, everybody . . . it’s the same twelve notes. Isn’t it amazing? That’s all we have, and it’s up to each of us to create our own unique sound through a combination of rhythm, harmony, and melody.”


In 12 Notes: On Life and Creativity, Quincy breaks down his principles, approach to life, and philosophies, along with standout stories from his journey in twelve chapters called “notes”.

The 12 Notes are:

Recycle your pain, if you can see it you can be it, go to know, establish your guideposts, always be prepared for a great opportunity, sharpen your left brain, avoid paralysis from analysis, understand the power of being underestimated, do what’s never been done before, value relationships, and most important, recognize the beauty and inherent value of life.

Here are some great quotable quotes from 12 Notes: On Life and Creativity by Quincy Jones 

Henry Ford is one of the most influential entrepreneur of the 20th century. He founded the Ford Motor Company that revolutionized transportation through the introduction of the Model T which was the first affordable automobile that middle-class Americans could travel in. The Model T was named in the 1999 Car of the Century competition as the most influential car of the 20th century.

Henry Ford developed the assembly line technique of mass production, reduced working hours and the five-day work work, and he changed the transportation industry through his eponymous company. His autobiography: My Life And Work is a great book about how he built the Ford Motor Company, his business and life philosophies, his approach to philanthropy and success.

In his memoir, The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty, Chairman Emeritus and former CEO of The Estée Lauder Companies Leonard Lauder shares the business and life lessons he learned as well as the adventures he had while helping transform the business his mother founded in 1946 in the family kitchen into the beloved brand and ultimately into the iconic global prestige beauty company it is today.

As the “Chief Teaching Officer,” of the The Estée Lauder Companies, Leonard reflects on his childhood, growing up during the Great Depression, the vibrant decades of the post-World War II boom, and his work growing the company into the beauty powerhouse it is today. He pays loving tribute to his mother Estée Lauder, its eponymous founder, and to the employees of the company both past and present, while sharing inside stories about the company, including tales of cutthroat rivalry with Charles Revson of Revlon and others. The book offers keen insights on honing ambition, leveraging success, learning from mistakes, and growing an international company in an age of economic turbulence, uncertainty, and fierce competition.

In his 2020 memoir: The Cobbler: How I Disrupted an Industry, Fell From Grace, and Came Back Stronger Than Ever, American Fashion designer Steve Madden writes about the origin story of Steve Madden, his battle with alcoholism, drug addiction, parenting, family trauma, dealing with grief, going to prison and bouncing back. He started the brand with $1,100 and as of March 2022, the Steve Madden brand has a market cap of $3.13 Billion.

Sometimes taking a step back enabled you to see the path that could move you forwards in the future.

Reebok was founded by Joe and his late brother Jeff in 1958, following the footstep of their family heritage of shoemaking. Their grandfather had established J. W. Foster & Sons in 1895, the company pioneered spiked running shoes for runners and athletes in the early 20th century. Joe writes about the origin story of Reebok, the lessons learned, the successes, failures, losses, grief and the price of greatness.

Shoemaker: The Untold Story of the British Family Firm that Became a Global Brand by Joe Foster, is a great biographical account of how they built one of the most recognizable athletics footwear brand in the world. The book contains lots of great lessons, anecdotes, insights, strategies and tactics for building a great business brand.


Here are some great quotable quotes from Shoemaker by Joe Foster:

Lululemon is a leadership development company disguised as an apparel brand.

In The Story of Lululemon: Little Black Stretchy Pants, Canadian Entrepreneur Chip Wilson describe the origin story of founding yoga-inspired athletic apparel company Lululemon Athletica Inc in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood. Fromhumble beginnings, Lululemon redefined how generation of people trained, exercised and lived.  Little Black Stretchy Pants is a story of goal setting, self-belief, personal re-invention and the roller coaster of building a global brand.

Lululemon was a social experiment to determine if putting people development above profits would yield extraordinary profits. The experiment proved successful.


The book is full of insights, lessons learned, mistakes made, and many quotable quotes. Here are some great quotes from: The Story of Lululemon: Little Black Stretchy Pants by Chip Wilson

 Lululemon was inspired largely by university graduates drawn to this unique, athletic, semi-hippie-like part of the city. I didn’t have enough money or product to rent a regular store location, so I found a space behind an inconspicuous door and up a drab-looking flight of stairs, instead of an inviting street-level storefront.

Oprah Winfrey referred to Will Smith’s autobiography as “The best memoir I’ve ever read”. In Will, American actor Will Smith takes the reader on a journey about his life, growing up in West Philadelphia, his parental influences, his rapping and acting career. Smith was very vulnerable about his failures (divorce, tax issues), successes (box office chart breaking records and movies).

What you have come to understand as “Will Smith,” the alien-annihilating MC, the bigger-than-life movie star, is largely a construction—a carefully crafted and honed character—designed to protect myself. To hide myself from the world. To hide the coward.