“I have a passion for great writing. The exquisite beauty of a powerful idea expressed in words, whether through a single sentence or a five-hundred-page novel, is something that has stirred my soul since as long as I can remember. And it changes people’s lives. That’s why I do what I do.”
John David Mann has been creating careers since he was a teenager.
Before turning to business and journalism, he forged a successful career as a concert cellist and prize-winning composer. At fifteen he won the prestigious BMI Awards to Student Composers and received the award at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, where he met such twentieth-century-music luminaries as William Schumann and Leopold Stokowski. He apprenticed as a choral conductor under his father, Dr. Alfred Mann, which gave him the chance to meet more legendary figures of classical music, including Randall Thompson, Leonard Bernstein, Boris Goldovsky, Robert Shaw, and George Crumb. His musical compositions were performed throughout the U.S. and his musical score for Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound (written at age thirteen) was performed as part of a theatrical production of the play at the stone amphitheater in Epidaurus, Greece—the very one, in fact, where the play was originally premiered a few thousand years earlier.
(That was a good day.)
At age seventeen, he and a few friends started their own high school in New Jersey (called Changes, Inc. — you can read about it here and here). “Alternative” though they were, his school successfully placed its students in such universities as Harvard and Yale. After graduating, he joined the school’s faculty. In the years since he has taught children in affluent Boston suburbs, Indiana farms, and the poorest neighborhoods on the outskirts of Philadelphia.
John never planned to go into business; it just seemed to keep working out that way. He has founded one school, one food distribution business, one graphic design business, and two publishing companies.
John’s diverse career has made him a thought leader in several different industries. In 1986 he founded and wrote for Solstice, a journal on health, nutrition, and environmental issues. His series on the climate crisis, “Whither the Trees?” (yes, he was writing about this back in the eighties), was selected for national reprint in 1989 in Utne Reader for a readership of over one hundred thousand. In 1992 John helped write and produce the underground bestseller The Greatest Networker in the World, by John Milton Fogg, which became the defining book in its industry. During the 1990s, John built a multimillion-dollar sales/distribution organization of over a hundred thousand people. He was cofounder and senior editor of the legendary Upline journal and editor in chief of Networking Times.
As a public speaker he has addressed audiences of thousands.
John is an award-winning author whose writings have earned the Axiom Business Book Award (Gold Medal, for The Go-Giver), the Nautilus Award (for A Deadly Misunderstanding), and Taiwan’s Golden Book Award for Innovation (for You Call the Shots). The Go-Giver was also honored with the Living Now Book Awards “Evergreen Medal” in 2017 for its “contributions to positive global change,” and cited on Inc.’s “Most Motivational Books Ever Written” and HubSpot’s “20 Most Highly Rated Sales Books of All Time”; The Go-Giver Leader was listed on Entrepreneur magazine’s “10 Books Every Leader Should Read” and Forbes magazine’s “8 Books Every Young Leaders Should Read.” His 2012 Take the Lead (with Betsy Myers) was named Best Leadership Book of 2011 by Tom Peters and the Washington Post. His first novel, Steel Fear (2021, with former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb), was hailed by Lee Child as “an instant classic, maybe an instant legend” and nominated for a Barry Award. Jeffery Deaver called the sequel, Cold Fear (2022), “one of the best crime novels of the year.” You can read his thoughts on entering the world of crime fiction here.
His books are published in 38 languages and have sold more than 3 million copies. John coauthored the international bestselling classic The Go-Giver (with Bob Burg), the New York Times bestsellers The Latte Factor (with David Bach), The Red Circle (with Brandon Webb), and Flash Foresight (with Daniel Burrus), and The Answer (ghost-written for John Assaraf and Murray Smith) and the national bestsellers The Slight Edge (with Jeff Olson), Among Heroes (with Brandon Webb), Out of the Maze (with Spencer Johnson) and Real Leadership (with John Addison). He has written for American Executive, CNBC, CrimeReads, Financial Times, Forbes.com, Huffington Post, Ivey Business Journal, Leader to Leader, Leadership Excellence, Master Salesmanship, Strategy & Leadership, and Wired. You can find his writings on Huffington Post here.
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