'Shark Tank' investor Daymond John shares 9 business books he thinks everyone should read

Daymond johnPaul Morigi/Getty Images‘Shark Tank’ investor Daymond John.

As a 14 year old, Daymond John had yet to be diagnosed with dyslexia but knew that he struggled with reading.

However, there was one book — Napoleon Hill’s 1937 classic “Think and Grow Rich” — that so enthralled him, 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 book 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 FUBU in his early 20s and then grow it into a company that brought in 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

Wilder Publications

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 Hill 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 maximise 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 realise 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.

Find it here »

'How to Win Friends and 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 maximise 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 years old and still has the diploma he received for it in his office.

Find it here »

'Who Moved My Cheese?' by Spencer Johnson

G.P. Putnam's Sons

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 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.

Find it here »

'Rich Dad Poor Dad' by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Plata Publishing

This book, a collection of parables about how two different fathers approach life, counts Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump among its biggest fans. Supporters praise it for the same reason its detractors have critiqued it: The message is simple and non-technical. It focuses on breaking a mindset that limits you to the lower or middle class you were born into.

According to Kiyosaki, the rich don't work for money; they make their money work for them.

John says that aspiring to be rich didn't work for him, but thinking like a rich person did.

'I think that in the earlier days, when I was a 'wantrepreneur,' I was really doing things because I thought what I wanted was to be rich,' John says. 'For the most part, those businesses failed, and then later when I started doing something casually because I loved it, that business burst.'

Find it here »

'Blue Ocean Strategy' by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne


Kim and Mauborgne are INSEAD professors who first published 'Blue Ocean Strategy' in 2005. It proposed a system that would allow businesses to 'create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant.'

In the past decade, they have worked with INSEAD to develop a robust Blue Ocean Strategy network that has inspired leaders across industries and sectors, from Box CEO Aaron Levie to the mayor of Orlando, Florida.

Find it here »

'The One Minute Manager' by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson


This book from 1982 is a guide to effective communication between bosses and their employees. The 'one-minute manager' whom Blanchard and Johnson describe can explain a task for his or her employees within a minute, as well as take just a minute to give motivational praise or necessary criticism.

It's all about lowering barriers between managers and their teams and being as direct as possible.

Find it here »

'Freakonomics' by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner


John says he's enjoyed all three books in the 'Freakonomics' series.

The original book from 2005 is essentially a celebration of not being afraid to explore concepts that people may initially find absurd, including a study of how a person's name affects lifelong success and whether legalised abortion has had a role in reducing crime.

Find it here »

'Jab, Jab, Right Hook' by Gary Vaynerchuk

Courtesy of Harper Collins

John's friend Gary Vaynerchuk is many things: the CEO of a successful digital ad firm, a prolific writer and speaker dishing out free coaching for entrepreneurs, and a social media star.

His 2013 book is a branding best practices guide on how to land 'jabs' by regularly adding value to fans and potential customers with quality content and the occasional 'right hook' that drives massive sales with a major campaign.

Find it here »

'Invisible Selling Machine' by Ryan Deiss


John thinks that Digital Marketer founding CEO Ryan Deiss' 2015 book is a great introduction to sales tactics for the new entrepreneur.

'Invisible Selling Machine' includes Deiss' advice on everything from how to set up your site's homepage for maximum impact to how to write emails that actually get replies.

Find it here »

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