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This book saved Backstage Capital founder Arlan Hamilton’s life

This book saved Backstage Capital founder Arlan Hamilton’s life
[Illustration: Cameron K. Lewis for Fast Company]

1. Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

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Learning the origin stories of so many successful white men made me understand that success for myself was attainable. If they could do it, I certainly could.

2. This Naked Mind, Annie Grace

I’d struggled with an addiction to alcohol for 15 years when I came across this book and decided to give it a chance. I haven’t had a drink since finishing the book five days later. It may have saved my life.

3. What I Know for Sure, Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is such an inspiration and a living legend, and if this book doesn’t get you ready to face the day, I don’t know what will.

4. Losing My Virginity, Richard Branson

I’ve been a Branson fan since I was 15. He always seems to be enjoying the hell out of life while lifting others and making a fortune.

5. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

In the eighth grade, a teacher handed me this book. She thought it would spark something in me. It opened me up to a new way of seeing myself.

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