There is no doubt about what Casey Neistat’s favorite books are. He’s been clear and consistent about which books rank #1 and #2 on his list of all-time favorites. Both books have had a major influence on Casey and he’s read each several times. We’ve also included Casey’s favorite book to gift others.
To hear Casey discuss each of these three books, check out his appearance on The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (starts at 1:02:00).
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X, Alex Haley & Attallah Shabazz
The story of Malcolm X resonated with Casey as he could see parallels in their early life struggles – both were troublemakers and both dropped out of school. Despite being self-taught (an autodidact), Malcolm X was able to become an incredibly articulate communicator and an influential figure in the Civil Rights movement. This was a huge inspiration to Casey, who had insecurities about his own lack of formal education.
Casey has read The Autobiography of Malcolm X more times than he can count and says that it’s written in a brilliant way. Even though he knew how Malcolm X died, he still cried at the end of the book.
The Second World War by John Keegan
After attending a dinner party, Casey was embarrassed that he had no idea when World War II occurred. The next day he went to a bookstore to pick out the most straightforward looking book on WWII so that he could be prepared if the subject were to come up in future conversations. He bought The Second World War and was so enthralled by it that he would stay up late to read at the expense of getting in trouble for being tired at work the next day.
Casey has read this 608-page book three times. He claims that all of his understanding of business and how life works comes from studying WWII.
John Keegan was a British military historian and lecturer who wrote several books about war including The First World War and The American Civil War. He passed away in 2012 and Casey said he was emotional when he found out as he had such a connection to this book.
It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden
Casey has been cynical about people who give books as gifts. He thinks most people care more about the gesture of giving a book to feel special than they do about the person receiving the book who will likely never read it.
Paul Arden was the executive creative director of the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, where he was responsible for several successful ad campaigns. It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be is about the art of advertising but also about how to succeed in life and business.
The book is a compilation of Paul Arden’s wit and wisdom using photos, illustrations, quotes and large fonts which are easy to read. One of the reasons why Casey gives this book as a gift is that it can be read in about 40 minutes (128 pages).