As a 14-year-old, Daymond John had yet to be diagnosed with dyslexia but knew that he struggled with reading.
But there was one book — Napoleon Hill’s 1937 classic “Think and Grow Rich” — that so enthralled him that he not only pushed through it, but decided to read it again every year.
In John’s own book, “The Power of Broke,” he writes that the tome profoundly changed his mindset from focusing on what he didn’t want to become to instead concentrating on what he did want to become. This shift allowed him to start the FUBU clothing brand in his early 20s and then grow it into a multimillion-dollar business, he says.
In a recent Reddit AMA, the “Shark Tank” investor shared several books that he thinks every new entrepreneur should read. We’ve collected them here along with some books John previously told Business Insider had changed his life.
‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill
When the legendary businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie met Hill as a young journalist in 1908, Carnegie decided he liked Hill so much that he would use him as a vehicle for distributing the strategies he considered responsible for his success. This essentially launched Hill’s career as one of the founders of the personal-success genre.
Hill’s greatest work, “Think and Grow Rich,” was first published in 1937 and became one of the top-selling books of all time. It’s a collection of insights derived from interviews with Carnegie, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford that teaches readers how to develop the drive and habits necessary to maximize one’s potential.
“The main takeaway from that was goal-setting,” John says. “It was the fact that if you don’t set a specific goal, then how can you expect to hit it?” One of the fundamental ideas in the book is determining your purpose in life and working toward concrete milestones.
John says that “Think and Grow Rich” made him realize that when he didn’t set very specific goals for himself, he could find himself making excuses for why he wasn’t working as hard as he could.
‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie
John says that he’s a fan of all of Carnegie’s books. Carnegie was a contemporary of Hill’s, and his writings on how to maximize success have had just as much longevity.
Carnegie’s most widely read book is “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” first published in 1936. It is a collection of advice on self-promotion and describes how the most influential people listen more than they speak.
Warren Buffett famously took Carnegie’s class on the subject when he was 20 and still has the diploma he received for it in his office.
‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Spencer Johnson
Johnson’s parable has been a consistently best-selling business book since it was released in 1998. It tells the story of two mice and two sprite-like people living in a maze where the location of the cheese suddenly starts changing every day.
When Johnson wrote the book, companies around the world were adapting to the rise of a more accessible internet and new ways of doing business. Its lessons on how to let go of a fear of change, however, are timeless.
John says that he used to think that throwing money at a failing business would somehow save it, but at this point in his career he understands that he needs to take a more measured approach.
“Money’s not going to make it any better. It may make the opportunity come faster, but it also can hurt you if you think that money’s going to solve it,” John says.