Art books

What Top 9 Powerful Art Books Should Managers Read

Experts spoke about art books that inspire or help them in their work. We asked not only to name Art Books but also to give a detailed answer to why a particular book is worth reading.

Dumas, Turgenev, and Bradbury

Anastasia Borzenko

Anastasia Borzenko , consultant, expert

The manager is, first of all, a person. His horizons are expanding due to various knowledge, including Art Books. Each book, read with pleasure and leaving an aftertaste, will certainly affect the behavior and perception of the world around us in the future. The list is really big, but the most beloved ones are:

  • “Count of Monte Cristo” – Alexander Dumas. The book is not just amazingly written, it is about such important things as love, friendship, faith and success. It, in fact, should be read to everyone.
  • “Fathers and Sons” – Ivan Turgenev. I was always indignant at how stupidly one-sided the school curriculum was on topics, because the book is not just about different generations, it is about love, about managing resistance, including internal ones.
  • “451 degrees Fahrenheit” – Ray Bradbury. This is generally my favorite, it is also interesting because any anti-utopia ceases to be anti-utopia over time and reflects reality to some extent, and therefore I want to reread it again.

What matters is how the book affected us, whether our perceptions became different, did we discover some new facets of something familiar, did we like or dislike our own feelings during these discoveries?

The work of any manager is connected with people, and it is extremely important to be a person in any situation. Do Art Books help with this? They certainly help. If it turned out to live and feel the story, if it turned out to discover something in ourselves, if after reading it we felt something inspiring, bright and wonderful, which we certainly wanted to share, we spent time with the book, not in vain.

Mikhail BodnarukHaruki Murakami, O. Henry, Joan Rowling

Mikhail Bodnaruk , CEO, Leader of Future, expert

It is important for the manager to understand the behavior of people, to understand what success is and what consequences this success can have. See the world deeper. I would suggest not only specific Art Books, but also three authors who have everything they need to understand business, society, and people.

  • Haruki Murakami. All books, but especially “Sheep Hunting”, a book about the choice of man, which describes the price of success very clearly, how much success is the goal of life and whether it is worth what you have to pay for it.
  • O.Henry. Especially his stories about business in the United States, during the formation of capital, have still not lost its relevance, since not everyone understands that business is not about fraud. The story “Kings and Cabbage” will give many reasons to think about the topic of power, responsibility and human honor.
  • Joanne Rowling. It very accurately shows the behavior of people, their worship of force, even if it is the power of evil and it is disgusting. The fact that people are complex creatures – every good person has its dark sides, and every bad person has its own bright sides. It is useful for managers to read all the parts of Harry Potter, but I especially recommend the last part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which reveals the complexity of man and society. I also advise you to read the “adult” book of Rowling’s “Random Vacancy” – accurately describes the relationship of people in society and the role of the leader in this system. Actual for those leaders who are trying to take everything on themselves.

By the way, if possible, it is better to read Joan Rowling in English, the translations are not very good, and most importantly, Joan Rowling writes in good, not difficult English, apparently because she is a teacher. O. Henry I do not advise reading in English, it is difficult to pile up designs, and the translations of O. Henry are excellent.

Sergey ShpitonkovLeo Tolstoy, Jack London, Ernest Hemingway

Sergey Shpitonkov, Program Director, RANEPA, expert

Fiction must be read by managers. It conveys not only cultural codes, forms a personality, but also develops thinking, the ability to find meanings, understand the motives of a person’s actions, correctly evaluate them, analyze and structure information, make choices and make decisions. In this sense, high demands are placed on literature and its readers. They must actively interact with each other, influence each other. Therefore, my choice is in classical literature.

For example, Leo Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace. What are we thinking about when reading this novel?

  • Analysis and goal setting, implementation of strategies at the macro-level (Russia – France – Austria, emperors Alexander, Bonaparte).
  • Decision-making, authority, responsibility, individual and team interaction (leave Moscow or not?).
  • Analysis of motives and actions, hidden desires of numerous characters (Pierre Bezukhov, Andrey Bolkonsky, Natasha Rostova, Anatoly Kuragin, Princess Trubetskaya, Helen …).
  • Search for the meanings of life (Pierre, Andrei Bolkonsky, Plato Karataev, Petya Rostov).
  • Personal growth (Pierre, Andrei Bolkonsky, Rostov).
  • Achievement of personal goals (reflections of Andrei Bolkonsky on the night before the battle).
  • Relations in the army hierarchy applied management methods and results (Kutuzov – adjutants – officers – soldiers).
  • The struggle of different characters (Pierre – Dolokhov, Marya Bolkonskaya – Anatoly Kuragin).
  • Real and imaginary patriotism (Nikolai Rostov – captain Tushin).
  • Psychology of relationships and communication (all characters).

Also in this context, these textbooks are works:

  • Jack London “Martin Eden” – striving for a goal, personal growth, choice of means, evaluation of results.
  • William Golding “Lord of the Flies” – psychological and social interaction, the psychology of human behavior, the struggle for power.
  • Ernest Hemingway “For Whom the Bell Tolls” – decision making, personal values, responsibility.
  • From modern authors: Eugene Vodolazkin “Laurus”, “Brisbane” – a dream, motivation, goal formation, effort, evaluation of results.

Maxim DenisovAnton Makarenko and Valentin Pikul

Maxim Denisov, chief engineer, StroyTechService, expert

Art Books are not only intellectual entertainment but also a mirror of our life, no matter how corny it sounds. In each story, an attentive reader will find a grain of wisdom and apply it in work or life. Even in children’s tales, the manager will find wise advice. In the fairy tale about turnip, it says that for great results you need a strong team, and in the fairy tale about the tower, that with the growth of the company, they change their structure.

But from the whole set of Art BooksI will single out two, after reading which I rethought work and life:

  • “Pedagogical poem” – Anton Makarenko. This is a business novel, at or even above Goldratt’s works. Makarenko described in detail and in good language how he created a real-life enterprise out of nothing. How he assembled and developed the team, motivated, instilled common values, solved problems, successfully completed projects and all this in the most difficult time of the NEP. And like a cherry on a cake – the author’s witty humor. The “Pedagogical Poem” is not about pedagogy, but about management.
  • “Bayazet” – Valentin Pikul. A strong feature of Pikul is a description of the characters. They are alive. When I read his Art Books, I imagine the appearance of each hero, how he walks, speaks and how he will act in a simple situation, but the author does not create simple situations, so the heroes constantly make decisions. Complex decisions. Unpleasant decisions. Characters Pikul describes, as expected, the actions of heroes, not words. “Bayazet,” of course, is about the courage of a Russian soldier, about the honor of a Russian officer, but also about decisions in difficult situations. About value-based solutions. Some have formed values, so decisions are made quickly, while others are constantly fluctuating. The author, in contrast, showed two leaders: the wise “father of the garrison” Khvoshchinsky and the tyrant Patsevich, which makes the gap between them seem huge.

Elena BasalaevaTheodore Dreiser and Dick Francis

Elena Basalaeva, consultant, expert

I recommend Theodore Dreiser’s trilogy “Stoic”, “Financier”, “Titan”. Even in Soviet times, she opened the veil and made it possible to discern what and how the “sharks of capitalism” do, how they think and how they act. Yes, and now you can find many interesting and non-standard solutions that work well.

The Count of Monte Cristo is extremely modern if read correctly, with an understanding of economic realities. What is only the remark of Danglar, who has become both a baron and a banker: “What kind of bankruptcy is this if it does not enrich?” – It sounds very modern if we recall the recent innovations about the bankruptcy of individuals. And the “business” operations of Monte Cristo are also applicable to our realities – there would be a goal.

Pushkin, “our all,” also teaches a lot, if you understand what, in fact, he says: “So, maybe another lady is interpreting Say and Bentham” – haven’t they forgotten the course of economic history? Or Onegin’s knowledge about “how the state is getting richer and how it lives, and why it doesn’t need gold when it has a simple product … Father couldn’t understand it and pledged the land”, and much more – just read it yourself! Incredibly interesting reading.

Dick Francis has a wonderful fine-tuning of professional business issues – Banker, Shards. Yes, everything revolves around horses, but the business is described not only “equine” and is described in detail. His Art Books are remarkable in that Dick Francis himself tried all these businesses, and then simply described in detail his own, in fact, experience. I also recommend the books of Yaroslav Sokolov. 

Yes, he wrote about accounting and bookkeeping – but how he wrote! Lively, interesting, easy (and what depth is behind this seeming lightness, you understand later, when you already laugh heartily or get sad together with the characters)! He wrote about his contemporaries, wrote about the history of his native Peter and the people he knew. Read, even if the topic of accounting is not close to you – you definitely will not regret it!

There are wonderful “business” characters in the “Foresight Saga” by Holworthy: what a grasp, what a look at things from the perspective of a “businessman”, what foresight and working methods! In general, read any art books if they are written by a talented and talented author. Read and re-read, open your own, and let it give you joy!

Yuri GurinJames Clavell

Yuri Gurin, Managing Partner, Center for Intelligent Solutions, expert

Book by James Clavell “The Shogun.” A novel about the fate of an English sailor who found himself in Japan: events unfold in the 16th century: a Dutch ship is in distress near the Japanese coast; part of the crew throws ashore, including the English navigator. The shipwrecked are captured by the local samurai prince (daima). For your entertainment (but for the wrongdoing), first, one European sailor daima cooks in a boiler. To the accompaniment of the cry of a living brewing, samurai is having fun. The sailor’s comrades are in a trance of violence, and only the English navigator finds the courage to seek a way out and negotiate with the locals.

Gradually, the Englishman begins to understand the complex samurai laws and customs. He learns Japanese, delves into the psychology that is absolutely alien to Europeans and step by step, having accepted and absorbed the local mentality (“You can even learn how to drink green tea from an empty cup”), he becomes a samurai, despite an acute desire to go home (where he is expected wife and kids). 

The Englishman survived in a very closed Japanese society, became a samurai and close to one of several influential people of Japan at that time. The Englishman became a leader for his samurai and an example for others earned the respect of the rulers!

As one reader wrote: “The most interesting thing in the book is the perception of each other by the Japanese and Europeans. Each culture has its pros and cons. After reading the novel, you will understand why the Japanese are what they are – even today, after 400 years. You will understand why the taste of nonexistent tea gives meaning to life, learn to listen to how stones grow, how to cleanse the consciousness of other people, you may gain an incomprehensible gift – perfect peace. You will understand why the law can trample the cause, but the reason can not trample the law. “

Victor EsikAlexey Tolstoy and Oleg Kuvaev

Victor Esik, Sales Director, expert

I read the Soviet edition of the complete works of Alexei Tolstoy in volumes of yellow in full at 12 years old. In the 1990s, he bought this publication for a penny in a second-hand bookstore. Since then, every two to three years I re-read the novel “Peter the Great.” The language of that era, as well as the powerful and unshakable will and work of the king to reform the weak patriarchal state into a powerful European power, is amazingly beautifully conveyed.

The first-year student read Oleg Kuvaev’s novel “Territory” about the work of geologists in Chukotka. The author managed not only to convey the spirit of one hundred percent dedication to his work and super responsible attitude to work but also the manner of communication and relations among people in the far North, which I myself had the opportunity to observe after working in those parts for several years. I want to say to the fans of cinema that a film shot several years ago based on a novel with a star cast of actors absolutely does not convey the mood and spirit of the novel.

Maxim ChasovikovNikolay Nosov and Ain Rand

Maxim Chasovikov, Leading Specialist, Moscow State University Lomonosov, expert

It seems to me that Art Books will be interesting now:

  • “Dunno on the Moon” – Nikolai Nosov. Or, as I would call it, “A brief artistic exposition of the foundations of a capitalist economy.”
  • “Big Soldering” – Julius Dubov. The film, in my opinion, is much worse. The book is quite large, but contains a good description of our history of the 1990s.
  • Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand. Rather, about the choice to do business or not do business.

Lyubov GvozdilinaSergey Dovlatov and Andrey Astvatsaturov

Lyubov Gvozdilina, independent consultant, expert

During my work in business and in the field of business education, I met with some “intersections” in opinions about Art Books, which I myself join and want to share.

  • Classical fiction, Russian and foreign (Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dickens, Thackeray, Balzac …). About the world order. Human and society. It is no coincidence that one well-known political economist said that the great novelists of the 19th century “revealed more political and social truths to the world than all professional publicists and politicians combined”.
  • Sergey Dovlatov – “Speech without a reason … or Editor’s column”. Emigration with an honest look at the country from which he left, and the one he came to. Without Chanukah and pouring mud. And not because the author selected politically correct words, but because smart and talented people are given a special vision of reality – not white or black, but with a variety of shades. And a good sense of humor.
  • Andrey Astvatsaturov – “Do not feed and do not touch the pelicans.” An unexpected recommendation for me by a 35-year-old top manager, but the book was hooked (and the author is popular with young people). “We are all a little pelicans …” In my opinion, young people got tired of majors and A-males. It is not a fact that a “loser” will become the “hero of our time”, but a shift away from the brave hat-takers is obvious. Maybe someone wants to take a closer look.
  • I would also like to add folk tales (for example, edited by Afanasyev), Antoine Exupery (The Little Prince, The Citadel), Isaac Asimov (The Gods themselves, etc.). All these Art Books are about eternal truths (truth, love, faith, justice) and the path that a person walks in search of these truths.