“Darren Yaw believes that he would not be where he is today without opening himself up to new opportunities and consistently learning through increasing his knowledge. An avid reader, he frequently turns to books for inspiration and guidance on life, love and business. Here is a list of books that he has found to be of most help to him in trying to forge a successful career as an entrepreneur and investor.”
If I had thought I knew everything and decided I was not open to gaining new knowledge as well as changing my perspective on certain things, the Darway Corporation in Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia as it is today would never have existed. The years I have spent on this earth have taught me that life is a cycle of learning and that there is endless knowledge to be acquired. I have always been big on books. I enjoyed going to the National Library of Malaysia and that is where I met my wife Judie. During the early days of our relationship, my wife and I would spend our time bonding over books in the library. We would both go to the library every weekend. It wasn’t until then that I stumbled upon my first guide to business. At the time, I had just begun my business and I was struggling a lot. I knew something was lacking but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
Then, the minute I began reading those business books, it was like something in my mind clicked. I slowly started applying the knowledge I was getting from these books to my actual business and the improvement began from there. Slowly, I could see the positive effects of that knowledge I was applying to my business. The minute I discovered this worked, reading business-related books sort of became an addiction. Now, I wasn’t only bonding with the woman I knew I was going to marry but I was also able to share an activity she loved as well as benefit from it.
THE BIRTH OF DARWAY CORPORATION IN SINGAPORE
The main branch of my business was originally located in Malaysia but because I had now learnt so much more that I didn’t know about the business world which was causing my business to grow rapidly, I made a bold move and decided to open the corporation branch in Singapore. I wouldn’t call it a risk in terms of expanding my business as such because I knew that as long as I had the secrets to success which were my books, applied them into the business just like I had before then I was guaranteed to succeed and gain high rewards and returns.
My wife Judie and I would always read a little before bed. On one particular night, I had a look at the book she was reading and this quote caught my eye:
“You will never know what you can achieve if you remain in your comfort zone.”
I remember this quote kept me up that night. Here I was, married to the woman of my dreams, business was booming but I realised that I had gotten too comfortable and content with my current success. Deep down in my heart, I knew it was time for me to broaden my horizons and expand. That was what inspired me to start up in Singapore. Knowing that knowledge was power, I again read up alot and applied the same tactics the first time, but I had to make adjustments because the market was different. Thanks to my reading and research, within a year the business was thriving. I now had successful businesses in Malaysia and Singapore.
Darway Corporation in Singapore opened up a new way of thinking for me. I had the confidence that I had the information I needed to set up another branch elsewhere. With the knowledge and skill set that I had already acquired, I began dreaming and planning to do more.
MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS BOOKS LIST
I know how hard it can be when launching a new business in terms of finding capital, studying the market and how to make sure your business actually succeeds. I firmly believe that to be successful and to keep growing, every entrepreneur needs to cultivate a reading habit. I feel that my recommendations here can be helpful for both established entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in the making. So here are my picks for books that motivated me to succeed in my business, and I hope they do the same for you.
1. THE ALCHEMIST BY PAUL CUELHO
This was the book my wife Judie was reading on that fateful night that sparked the inspiration to open up my business branches in Singapore. It is also the book that made me get out of my comfort zone and broaden my horizons by thinking of the endless possibilities to success. It is a very easy book to fall in love with and a must read.
2. BLINK BY MALCOM GLADWELL
My wife Judie referred this book to me. What caught my attention was the front cover that has the quote “The power of thinking without thinking”. Intrigued in wanting to know how it was possible to think without thinking, I gave it a read and my life was never the same again. It taught me that the time you have before making a decision is the most important time in your life because it determines your direction. It also taught me about the importance of first impressions, just like the first time the book caught my eye. It is quite a captivating book to read and learn from.
3. THE TIPPING POINT BY MALCOM GLADWELL.
I must admit that I fell in love with Malcom Gladwell’s art of writing after I read his book Blink which my wife Judie had referred to me. When I had first encountered this book I remember my business was not thriving. By now we know Malcom is big on first impressions and the title of this book caught my attention. I managed to learn about how to be more innovative, the ideal structure of a business and understanding how the business sector works. Applying this to my business, I noticed a difference in how I ran my business and the role having these attributes played towards contributing to its growth.
4. SMALL IS THE NEW BIG BY SETH GODWIN
This book taught me how to make my corporations stand out from the rest. What is your story and can you connect it to your business? Having a story behind your brand connects you and the consumers as well. He also talks about the two paths to success and which one is most effective. If you are curious to find out I suggest you give this book a read.
5. HOW TO FAIL AT ALMOST EVERYTHING AND STILL WIN BIG BY SCOTT ADAMS
This book taught me how to deeply understand and learn your own character as well as how to build yourself and grow as an individual by taking care of yourself in ways such as eating right, spending time and pursuing your career. If you are looking for a way to maintain a healthy mindset this is the book.
6. CHOOSE YOURSELF BY JAMES ARTHUR
This book was one of the stepping stones towards me building my other business branches. I loved this book because as much as the author is such an entertaining writer, he educated me on how to leave the old way of thinking in terms of pursuing career paths and creating the future you want to live in.
7. WINNING BY JACK WELCH
When I initially set my eyes upon this book, I was expecting a serious business book however, it turned out to be such an easy read educating on the importance of embracing change.
8. PLAYING TO WIN BY A.J LAFLEY AND ROGER L. MARTIN
I was impressed by this book especially because it taught me how strategy works. It also made it very easy for me to apply what I was reading into my daily life and work. It really helped with my business growth in Malaysia right before I opened the Singapore branch.
9. BUILT TO LAST BY JIM COLLINS
My wife Judie introduced me to this book once she discovered my keen appetite for reading more business books. In this book you will be able to learn what it takes to run a successful business.
10. GREAT BY CHOICE BY JIM COLLINS AND MORTEN T. HANSEN
I still share quotes from this book up to this day. In a nutshell, this book teaches you the importance of persistence, how to be prepared and how to enjoy your business while working hard towards its growth. It also teaches the importance of being assertive especially toward your business and the decisions you make.
11. THE BUSINESS OF BELIEF BY TOM ASACKER
In this book, Tom Asacker amazed me completely in the way he defined the importance of a positive attitude and belief system. Your way of thinking determines your way of winning.
12. STEVE JOBS BY WALTER ISAACSON
A deep dive into the life of the iconic Steve Jobs and how he handled his family as well as his business. This book helped me find the balance between your family and your business.
13. THE UNDOING PROJECT BY MICHAEL LEWIS
This was such an emotional read because it not only taught me how to look at my business as a way of life instead of work but to also wholeheartedly love what I do. I don’t want to give too much away but this is a must read!
14. BETTER AND FASTER BY JEREMY GUTSCHE
If you’re looking for an entertaining book that explains business strategies and how to succeed in the modern world then this is it! I learnt that despite being successful, you still have to be open to new opportunities and make sure that your business is solid.
15. THE TALENT CODE BY DANIEL COYLE
The ability to succeed depends on how much work and effort we put into something as well as having positive thinking. A good read especially if you’re looking for motivation. The more we develop our skills the better we become.