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Feb 04, 2020 | 6 min read

Best Books According to Smart IT Executives

Pavel Kaplunou , Marketing Communications

Picking your next best read is no easy task. Whether you are looking for self help, feeling an urge for personal development, seeking knowledge to increase business savviness or simply making an investment into personal and professional growth — a book is your best friend. And yet, however many books you read, some leave a more lasting impression than others. To make things easier and start off your year in reading, Smart IT senior executives share their recommendations for their all-time favorite books.

Read on to discover the runaway favorite book that cropped up unanimously on everyone’s lists. The curious discovery deserves a special mention and has been kept off the lists.

Denis ShugaevAs endorsed by Denis Shugaev, Head of Business Development

  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand 

Atlas lets you look at capitalism from a different angle, not from the point of view of capital, but rather from the point of view of living up to your potential.

  • The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan

The Gray House makes you live several lives, lives no one would willingly want to lead. To put it briefly, it’s just a wonderful book.

  • Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku

The book recounts where technological progress is going. It talks about what we can expect to happen and what we definitely shouldn’t expect to happen this century and, most importantly, it answers why. Basically, it helps to wrap your head around how the world we live in works.

  • Solving Complex and Competitive Programming Problems by Mikhail Dolinsky

My uncle wrote this book. He trains the national competitive programming team at the school level. If not for this book, I would not have studied Computer Programming and would not be where I am today.

Michael AstashkevichAs favored by Michael Astashkevich, Chief Technology Officer

  • Introduction to Algorithms by Thomas E. Cormen.

I was involved in competitive programming, when I read this book and most of the algorithms it described were quite familiar. However, reading how those algorithms were explained and supporting evidence it brought up helped me to better understand how they work, how and why they were derived.

  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
  • 45 Tattoos of a Business Manager by Maksim Batyrev

Sergey KonoplichAs approved by Sergey Konoplich, Chief Operations Officer

  • Everything is Negotiable by Gavin Kennedy

This one is definitely first in the list because it is a must have. Business talks can often seem like a competition, but in reality it is not like that. Using very intuitive examples it puts emphasis on cooperation, when business discussions can produce fair results for everyone involved. The author spells out well that each side should be able to listen and be heard. It is only on condition of this that the conversation can result in mutually agreeable terms.

  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by James C. Collins

The book stands out because the authors explore truly great companies. They analyzed real examples and real people to find what they share in common in terms of methods and principles of growing their company, the strategies and tactics they used.

  • The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

Most of the Machiavelli’s ideas are applicable to modern business, for example “Act —  do not leave things to chance” or “Always calculate your course of action even in the worst case scenario”.

It deals with power, leadership, and management techniques. It touches on the motivations of certain groups of people. It shows how to avoid being deceived and how to distinguish constructive criticism from manipulation by peers.

  • How to write strong copy (currently available only in Russian) by Maxim Ilyahov

The books is not just about copywriting, but also the main concepts of simple and constructive communication, where substance wins over form. It benefits anyone in a senior position by providing a framework for giving constructive, convenient and comprehensible tasks to teams in writing.

  • Iacocca: An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca and William Novak

The autobiography includes many fascinating facts and stories from the life and work of the surprisingly successful executive. It’s has great advice on managing business and teams.

Anton RadionAs valued by Anton Radion, Chief Financial Officer

  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

I think in our subconscious mind people are innately strive for collectivism and that can be good a good thing, but individualism and a healthy dose of egotism can be beneficial. This book is just about that, about creativity, power, love, hardship.

  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

A great read about the world and us, about how we got to where we are, who we are, where we are from —  it’s about our history. And it’s not the kind of book about history that makes you want to fall asleep.

Alex KulitskiAs recommended by Alex Kulitski, Owner and Chief Executive Officer

  • Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker
  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by James C. Collins
  • Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness by Frédéric Laloux
  • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (Incerto) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Final spotlight

As for the ‘special mention’ and apparent favorite among all senior staff of Smart IT, the previously teased book that ended up on just about everyone’s list was Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. 

If you are wondering why that is, here is the scoop:

Flow deals with the issue of burn-out. Everyone faces having to do something they don’t like and that’s fine for any domain. The book illustrates how different people cope with this problem. — Denis, Head of Business Development

Flow is simply a book about happiness and about spending your time with maximum value to yourself. — Michael, CTO

It’s a book about happiness, happiness at work, finding it when talking to others and seeing it the little things. It explores what it is and how it works. The title might come across as a little tacky. A couple of tarot cards on the cover might have made it seem more so that way, but the title should not mislead you. — Anton, CFO

04 February 2020


Pavel Kaplunou, Marketing Communications

Pavel is Smart IT's Marketing Communication Manager. He oversees content creation and is in charge of the official Smart IT blog. Contact Pavel to learn about potential media and content collaborations. [email protected]