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Don Yaeger is an award-winning keynote speaker, business leadership coach, and an eleven-time New York Times best-selling author. He has published more than two dozen books and has profiled some top leaders, athletes, coaches such as John Wooden, Walter Payton, Michael Jordan, and many more.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Don Yaeger shares how John Wooden has influenced his life
  • How Coach K, Mike Krzyzewski, impacted Don and the lessons on leadership that he learned from him
  • Don talks about the time he played a one-on-one game against Michael Jordan – and won
  • What Don learned from Michael Jordan
  • Don discusses how he decides to write a book
  • Don reveals his upcoming books why he’s excited for them
  • Why Don wrote books about Joe Namath and David Ross
  • People Don would love to write a book about
  • Why Don would like to see the story of Warrick Dunn turned into a movie
  • What you can expect from Don’s online courses

In this episode…

“Make each day your masterpiece.” This is Don Yaeger’s favorite quote from Coach John Wooden, and he tries to live by it by choosing to write books that can only be described as a masterpiece. Don has published 11 books that have landed him as a New York Times best-selling author and he intends to continue writing stories with meaning and impact. He is intent on creating legacies that will leave an impression on people’s lives and he is able to do this through the multiple hats he wears that allows him to touch people’s lives, and quite possibly, to share it through a book.

Join Dr. Jeremy Weisz in this episode of Inspired Insider as he interviews 11-time New York Times best selling author, Don Yaeger, about his work, his relationship with his mentors, and the stories he tells through his books. Tune in as Don shares how John Wooden and Mike Krzyzewski have influenced his life, his one-on-one basketball game with Michael Jordan, and the book he has written that left an impression on him that says, “this should be turned into a movie.”

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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Episode Transcript

Jeremy Weisz
Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, Founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders. Some of the founders you’ve heard of some you’ve never heard of. And today’s guest Don Yaeger. I mean, if you haven’t checked out his work, you probably have already read his books and you didn’t even know it. They’re in your Audible queue. They’re in your Amazon cart. And, you know, Don, I love hearing the journey, not like okay, I won 10 championships. I sold my company for a billion dollars, but the challenge story is really the grit. And, you know, I remember when I talked to Tony Horton, a p90x. It wasn’t it didn’t strike me that yes, he said Hundreds of millions of dollars of p90x but I loved hearing when he talked about he was a street mine. Like that’s how he made food and rent money. early on. He put his head on the street. He do street miming, and that’s how we make his money. Rob Nelson of founder Bigley to talk about, he’s like just hanging out in the bullpen. Like he wasn’t being played. He wasn’t making the career like he was in the minor leagues. And he came up with this shredded GM that became a sensation. And so just hearing some of those journeys along the way, so check out that more and, and this episode is brought to you before I introduce Don today’s guest on episode is brought to you by Rise25 which I co-founded my business partner John Corcoran, and we help people basically, companies reach their dream 100 referral partners and clients and relationships through running your podcast. podcasting is I’ve not seen a better way of helping You know, encourage amazing relationships, giving your relationships creating a platform to give to your relationships. So, if you have questions about it, go to, email us. I’ve been doing it for over 10 years, and I’ve gone to people’s weddings, Don. I’ve formed business partnerships. I’ve gone on family vacations because of the podcast, um, and so today’s guest is Don Yaeger, okay? If you put Don, I don’t know if you know this if you put your name into Amazon, okay. You have so many books out there you get 88 results for Don Yaeger Great Teams, Thomas Jefferson, Running for My Life, Work Done. You have John Wooden: A Game Plan for Life. You have Never Die Easy Walter Payton. I mean, the list goes on. He’s 11 Times New York Times bestselling author. With so many books, you can’t even name them all. He profiles some of the top leaders, athletes, coaches, Duke basketball coach gave John Wooden, Walter Payton, Michael Jordan, many more. My personal favorite Don is A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring with John wooden. John Wooden in my mind is epic. I wish you know he was still alive. I would a chance to talk to a meet them. But um, thank you for joining me.

Don Yaeger
I’m honored. Thanks a lot. Thanks for having me here.

Jeremy Weisz
There are so many cool stories that you have, I’m sure from talking these people in leadership lessons and I want I know people, the way they can engage with you is they can check out your books. You also have some online programs to check out during the greatness and high performing teams. I was hoping that maybe some fun john wooden story that you have and maybe some of your favorite sayings, john wooden sayings, I think of his sayings every single day and there because I listened to your book. So

Don Yaeger
Wow. Well, Coach wouldn’t had a terrific impact on my life. I had a 12 year relationship with Him that allowed me every other month for 12 years. Fly to Cal fornia and spend a day learning from Coach which is pretty incredible. Incredible. can’t ask for a greater mentor. When my my son, we were talking about him before the show started my son’s 11 and when he was born shortly after is born one of the first letter letters that arrived here at our home address to my son was from Coach Wooden. It hangs above his bed even today, just encouraging him on how he might one day grow into the young man. Coach would would want him to be not any pressure in that right.

No pressure for us. Right. And so he coaches had just great impact on my life for for many, many years and and then we had a chance we wrote a book together on the power of mentoring and And that in itself was game changing for me because it allowed me to learn how to find a mentor and how to be a mentor how to be a great mentee. You know, John Wooden had a very distinct style about mentorship. His whole belief was, I’ll mentor you, but it’s your job to come. And to show up, well prepared, ready to learn. I’ll answer questions. When you run out of questions, the session ends. And so that inspired me to do a lot of work on the front end to make sure that I was a good mentor, a good mentee. And

Jeremy Weisz
how did you first meet him? How did that come about? I

Don Yaeger
actually had met him through my work at Sports Illustrated. But then I had heard a story that he was serving as a mentor of mine. awards to a young player for the Los Angeles Lakers named Shaquille O’Neal and, and i and i and i knew Shaq and certainly his college coach Dale Brown, who was a best man in my wedding and one of my best friends reached out to Dale and Dale said, Yeah, you and so I had the chance to actually listen in as Shaq and Coach Wooden shared a mentoring session and at the end of it asked Coach Wooden gosh, how does someone become mentored by someone like you and and he looked me in the eye and he said, you ask. And I and I said, Gosh, well, how many people ask and he said not as many as you might think. They think it’s unattainable. Yeah, they said they select themselves out of the opportunity to grow before they have Before the growth for the water is ever even poured and so, and it was just a great lesson A month later I called and I asked, and he I thought

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