Daymond John recommends3 min read

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Famous entrepreneur and Shark Tank investor shares his favorite business and self-improvement books

“Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill

– from an article on

This book was published before World War II, when the names of Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie still evoked personal memories. Hill’s Law of Success is now so widely known that it may seem like old hat. However, the reminders of the age of success (most people don’t make it big until their forties) is a good antidote to the Age of Entertainment mentality that success must be reached before age 30 or you’ll never achieve your dreams. The ideas on developing an all-consuming focus, or the sex transmutation idea of channeling desire into business, may not have quite the same impact as in the 1930’s, but still holds quite a bit of value.

  “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

– Daymond John in an interview on

“Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson

While you could skim the book in an hour, the value of this parable is that it simply focuses on three topics: change, supply, and demand. The two humans and the two mice must go on a journey of discovery that slowly removes the crippling effects of fear of change, fear of social repercussions tied to careers, and fear of the future. The cheddar is waiting, but wishing and waiting for sustenance to magically reappear isn’t a viable solution.

 “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki

This book launched a thousand ideas about the nature of leveraging, paved the way toward fame and acclaim for Kiyosaki, and also created a pathway to a business friendship with Donald Trump. Kiyosaki’s best storytelling ability arrive in the first few chapters, while he describes the difference in perspective of his biological father who worked as a teacher, versus the man educated until the eighth grade who ran his own company – and his own investments. The idea of making your money work for you, and produce little seeds of wealth that could sprout as you managed other enterprises, still holds a great appeal.

   “BlueOcean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

Collaboration rather than cut-throat competition are the order of the day in this post-2000 world. The authors examined 30 industries over a century-long span of time, found 150 strategic moves made, and condensed the results into one idea; it’s easier to find pools of untapped profit in the wide blue ocean of commerce than to fight over the same grounds where every fishing boat goes. If Rudyard Kipling’s Captains Courageous were turned into a business guidebook by protagonist Harvey Cheyne, the result would look something like this appeal for business leaders to look for the fishing opportunities, and ignore the heavy trendy areas where sharks roam.

 “TheOne Minute Manager” by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

Still a business classic, this instructional book leads to more efficient communication and goal-setting in 60-second increments. The simplicity offered by a book that could fit in your back pocket should not be underestimated, especially since most managers spend far more time multi-tasking than marking items off their growing to-do lists. Praise, clear feedback, and clarification of duties are some of the most helpful tips; this book has been featured on People magazine and the Today Show.

“Super Freakonomics:Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy LifeInsurance” by Steven D. Levitt

Also recommended by Malcolm Gladwell, Bill Gates

After publishing Freakonomics in 2005, Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner didn’t stop. Having worked a lot, unrevealling new sides of current situation in the world, they present SuperFreakonomics, a book that will twist our way of thinking once again! Can television rise crime levels? What do prostitutes and department store Santas have in common? These and many other at first sight looney questions that can arise in the head of everybody are answered by the authors. It’s not an analysis, it is a freakalysis!

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