Excerpt: 'Influence'

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen pen a book about those who influenced them.

Oct. 28, 2008 — -- 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.

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


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.

The book you are holding in your hands is comprised of conversations my sister and I have had with artists, designers, photographers, writers, and personalities who come from different backgrounds, industries, age groups, and points of view. Risk takers in their own special way, they share a common belief that the world should never be a boring place. To put it bluntly, they have guts. I don't want the dialogue to stop at the end of each interview. It's my hope each one will remain a constantly evolving conversation that will continue to influence every project that I do—and perhaps by reading, you will be similarly affected by these interviews too. I believe part of the process of figuring yourself out is a way of connecting the dots between the fabulous and influential people around us all, like some sort of hidden constellation—you only have to know where to look. This book is just the start.

—Ashley Olsen

Lauren Hutton

Diane von Furstenberg