Emma Grede’s best reads include Ray Dalio, Jim Collins, more


Emma Grede is a self-proclaimed bookworm.

“There is nothing I love to do more than read,” said the 39-year-old. co-founder and CEO of denim brand Good American, and founding partner of shapewear clothing line SKIMS, told CNBC Make It.

Grede recently appeared on the ABC commercial reality show “Shark Tank” for the season 13 premiere, making history as the show’s first-ever black female investor to join the panel.

Her path to success began at the age of 24 when she launched her own marketing agency, ITB Worldwide. She quickly landed big brands like Dior as clients, opening the door for famous clients like Natalie Portman and Kris Jenner..

From there, Grede launched two clothing lines with Kardashian’s sister, partnering with Khloé Kardashian on the plus size denim line Good American in 2016 before co-founding SKIMS with Kim Kardashian two years later.

Throughout each of her endeavors, Grede says, she draws on a few key books that she constantly keeps by her side. Here’s what you’ll find in his library:

1. “What They Don’t Teach You in Harvard Business School: Notes from a Smart Street Executive”

By Mark McCormack

Grede is no stranger to getting the deal, a skill author Mark McCormack details at length in his book.

Books like this, Grede says, gave her the confidence to approach and land clients like Kris Jenner. Grede’s relationship with Jenner then helped her connect with Jenner’s daughter to launch Good American, which generated $ 1 million in revenue on the day it launched alone. according to Glamor UK.

McCormack is considered the founder of the modern sports marketing industry. After a handshake with golfer Arnold Palmer and under $ 1,000, he launched the global sports, events and talent management company International Management Group (IMG). Over a period of four decades, McCormack turned the company into a multi-billion dollar business.

Grede says it’s a must read for developing negotiation skills, which she says has helped propel her own success.

2. “Principles: Life and work”

By Ray Dalio

It’s one for your highlighter, says Grede, noting that she filled her copy of the book with post-its to highlight various “little gems of wisdom” that she likes to come back to from time to time.

These gems include learning how to recognize your weaknesses, free your mind from distractions and ‘fail well’. Ray dalio is one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs – and the book contains the principles he has developed, refined and used for over 40 years.

“This is the one I constantly reread,” says Grede.

3. “Good to excellent: why some companies take the plunge and others not”

By Jim Collins

Can people turn mediocrity into superiority, even if the odds are stacked against them?

That’s a burning question for author Jim Collins and his 21-person research team. Together, they read 6,000 articles and generated over 2,000 pages of interview transcripts as part of a five-year study of company performance.

Collins identified a set of elite companies that went from “good to great” in terms of their share prices significantly above the market average – and then maintained that performance for at least fifteen years. Then he outlined the skills and characteristics that helped them be successful.

“It’s just some kind of mind-growing book that everyone should read,” says Grede. “Not just those who are in business.”

4. “Caste: the origins of our discontent”


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