Excerpt: 'Influence'

The nation watched as twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen grew up. From their beginnings as the youngest Tanners on the sitcom "Full House" to their successful clothing and movie enterprises, there isn't much the Olsens haven't done.

By age seven, they had their own company and spent their next years growing their brand to DVDs, toys and a line of children's books. Last year, Forbes magazine listed them among the top 20 wealthiest women in entertainment.

They seem to live a life of glamour. They are frequently spotted on the red carpet or seated in the front row of fashion shows from New York to Paris.

Now the pair has written a book called "Influence" to give readers insight into the people who helped shape them into the women they are today. Read an excerpt of their book below, and click here to see more from the "GMA" library.

A picture of Ashley Olsen on GMA.

Also, check out Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson's website by clicking here.


Hard work has never been something someone taught me or something I simply picked up from someone else. Maybe it's a by-product of landing my first job at six months old, but I've never believed that there were boundaries or limits to anything I set my mind to. For the first time in my life, I'm in complete control of my destiny. Like everything you put out there for the universe to see, it all comes back to you. I'm finding out that taking my life to the next level is all about discovery. Being aware of the world around you requires you to pay attention to everyone and everything. But in order to stay grounded, you have to stay true to yourself. Diane von Furstenberg once told me, "You have to be your best friend." I believe that.

None of us is in this game alone. With each project I begin, I'm reminded of the importance of listening, of appreciating and taking advantage of all the creative, dynamic, and wonderfully bizarre people in my life. And like any good listener, I know it's my duty to share this wealth of influence with others. Whether it's my family, my friends, a novel I've read a hundred times over, or my favorite painting, I'm really just the sum of many different parts. Ultimately, that's what this book is all about. I've been inspired, surprised, supported, and, yes, influenced by every person I've talked to in this book. Their stories, bodies of work, and lives are like open vaults of creativity for me. Some, like Christian Louboutin, I talk to all the time. I admire him both as a friend and as an artist. Others, like George Condo, I am just beginning to get to know. And then there are people like Lauren Hutton, who can give you a thousand pearls of wisdom with just her smile. Whenever life feels like a dreary place, these individuals know how to make the most out of any situation. I turn to the people on these pages, in one way or another, to keep me afloat.

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