Casey Neistat's First Selection for His Book Club May Surprise You

Casey Neistat's First Selection for His Book Club May Surprise You

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From filmmaking to vlogging, Casey Neistat is now sharing another one of his passions: reading.

That’s right, the YouTube personality, filmmaker, vlogger and entrepreneur has started his own book club. In a recent vlog post, Neistat shared his plans of the book club to express the joy that reading brings him. And he wants his fans to share the experience with him. “Reading is like leaving the house,” he says in the video. “Yes, you can go your whole life without doing it, but you’re not really experiencing all life has to offer if you never leave the house.”

Related: 5 Lessons for Success From YouTube Star Casey Neistat

So what’s first on Neistat’s list? The YouTube star made a rather dark choice, kicking off the club with journalist Nick Bilton’s American Kingpin. The nonfiction book tells the story of Ross Ulbricht, the man behind Silk Road, a billion-dollar website hosted on the dark web where people could buy and sell drugs, firearms and more.

While his first choice might come as a surprise to some, if you read the book, you’ll find you might relate to some of Ulbricht’s characteristics and the events throughout his journey. “In so many ways, the programmers and entrepreneurs Ross met were just like him,” a line from the book says. Like Neistat, Ulbricht was an entrepreneur (a criminal, nonetheless) himself — building a billion-dollar business, taking risks (perhaps too many), pushing boundaries and creating something that people wanted.

Related: 10 Books Every Leader Should Read to Be Successful

Still curious? Check out these three excerpts from American Kingpin about entrepreneurship, inspiration and pushing boundaries.

1. On being inspired

“The CEOs of these other startups were no different from Ross, either. They had all read the same Ayn Rand books. These chief executives shared the same quotes on Facebook as he did: ‘The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.’”

2. On setting new boundaries

“Ross vehemently disagreed. ‘As long as we don’t cross [a] line in our pursuit,’ DPR wrote to Variety Jones, ‘ then we are only doing good.’

‘Ha, dude, we’re criminal drug dealers,’ VJ responded. ‘What line shouldn’t we cross?’

‘Murder; theft, cheating, lying; hurting people,’ DPR replied, resentful of the question. ‘That line. We are drawing a new line I guess you could say. According to that line, we aren’t criminals.’”

Related: Reading Books Makes You Smarter, Richer and Surprisingly Healthier

3. On running a business

“In the current version of the site, it was Ross’s world, and he got to decide what went and what didn’t. He dictated who got a raise and who didn’t. People who worked hard were rewarded, as he has recently done with some focused employees, giving some of them an extra few hundred in Bitcoin when they excelled.”

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