Books

Review on Taleb's Black Swan#Books

30 Aug 2020

I've heard about the concept of Black Swan a few times in business school, as well as from the amazing book on negotiations "Never split the difference". I had very high expectations. I finally got to it when the COVID-19 broke loose, a Black Swan type of pandemic: an event that no one anticipated. If someone would tell me a year ago that next year most countries will voluntarily haul their economies by stopping production, asking their people to stay at home, suspending air traffic among countries and continents for months - I would say the person is out of her mind. And yet, we found ourselves in such situation - a true black swan. Surely, I wanted to read the book that talks about precisely these kinds of events. Read on...


Notes from Bob Iger's "The Ride of a Lifetime" book#Books

04 Jul 2020

Man, is there a better book genre than a biography of an accomplished person? Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, What It Takes by Stephen Schwarzman - and now Bob Iger's "The Ride of a Lifetime" are some of the most exciting books I could have read. Read on...


Key takeaways from audiobook Caffeine by Michael Pollan#Books

01 Mar 2020

Caffeine has helped us to build the modern world as much as steam machines and electricity. While engines have been aiding us in physical applications, caffeine has been powering our minds. While it is all wonderful, it must be admitted that caffeine is a drug in that it alters our mental state and invokes addiction. It is also the only drug that people all over the world provide it to their kids in the form of Coke. Modern western (or perhaps even global) society is dependent on caffeine so much so, that the baseline of consciousness has shifted from the default unaltered state to the state of caffeine addiction. Read on...


Steve Schwarzman "What It Takes"#Books

24 Feb 2020

Steve Schwarzman is an amazing investor, businessman and philanthropist. Having been raised in a regular middle-class Jewish family, he attended Yale University for his talent as a runner, then moved on to HBS for his MBA. He was a Partner and the Head of M&A at Lehman Brothers, when the company was torn apart by the power conflict between Pete Peterson and Lew Glucksman (a case studied at Berkeley-Haas in Power and Politics class). Pete and Steve went on to found Blackstone, the largest alternative investment funds in the world. Over the course of its existence, Blackstone became the major real estate owner and manager in the US, and gave birth to BlackRock. Steve has created an enormous wealth and generously donated it to prominent institutions such as Tsinghua University in China (to create innovative MBA program), Yale University (to better student life), MIT (to advance studies in Artificial Intelligence) and Oxford University in the UK (to advance studies in humanities). Read on...


Review on Shoe Dog, the memoir from the creator of Nike#Books

25 Dec 2019

Shoe Dog is a shockingly candid subjective interpretation of Nike's path to dominance in the world of athletic gear. My personal conclusion after reading the book: in order to become a successful entrepreneur of the kind of Phil Knight in a bloody red ocean like athletic apparel (previously dominated by players like Adidas, Puma, Converse, etc.), you need to have just a few ingredients straight. You need to be smart (Stanford MBA), have an A-team (consisting of former lawyers and accountants), be aggressive and assertive (not shy away from engaging into business-espionage and suing your former business-partners), be born in the right place (Oregon was big in track sports), be born into the right family (in which your father must be capable to sponsor your expensive education, trips around the world and give seed money to jump-start your business; and your mother is a relative of a US senator), be passionate about your field (Phil Knight was normally putting in 4-mile runs every evening), be lucky to have a creative genius in your network (Bowerman, a stellar olympic running coach contributed key design features to early Nike shoes). Even once you have all of the above secured, there still will be a few defining moments in which the survival of your business is a matter of pure luck (like when the financing company or the US government can end your existence based on a mere judgement call), so a wagon of luck is yet another key ingredient without which Nike does not become Nike. Read on...


Notes on Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin#Books

25 Dec 2019

Extreme Ownership is the best book I've read on leadership and management. The core of the principles stems from the elite military unit called Navy Seals and the experiences they've had during their deployment in Iraq. All the principles listed in the book are directly applicable to any client I have worked with previously and any management consulting firm as a whole. The extreme nature of these principles is what makes them so attractive to me: everything is your responsibility, you have no excuse. If your leaders expect time-consuming reports, it's your fault that you do not explain your work enough; if your troops made a mistake, it's your fault that you did not explain the operating procedures enough; if you are short on resources, it's your failure of securing sufficient resources by explaining why they are critical; if you think your mission is absurd, it is your responsibility to seek the understanding within yourself or with your leadership. Below I summarize the key principles from the book. Read on...




Learnings from "Never Split the Difference"#Books

01 Aug 2018

Here are the learnings from the most exciting book on Negotiations. One thing is clear: I will need to return to this book again, and again, and again to extract the full insurmountable value from it. Read on...



Сингапурские уроки для Казахстана#Books

15 Apr 2015

Недавно я добрался до книги цитат легендарного Ли Куан Ю "На пути из третьего мира в первый". Этот человек поднял Сингапур из отсталого клочка земли для земледельцев и рыболовов в финансовый, торгровый, экономический хаб мирового уровня. У него определенно есть чему поучиться. В этом посте я привожу наиболее актуальные для Казахстана, по моему менению, советы великого Ли Куан Ю. Read on...


McKinsey reading list#Books

25 Mar 2015

Here's the list of books you should read before or once you join McKinsey (or BCG, or Bain, or whatever). This is my subjective collection of reading materials, so I leave it up to others to comment and agree or disagree with the list. I should also mention that the list will be continued as I progress with my own reading plan. So stay tuned. Read on...