Pavel Durov’s impressive book choice5 min read

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photo: TechCrunch

Founder of VK and Telegram suggests the books that helped shape his thinking

“Flow: The Psychology ofOptimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

In his interview to The Huffington Post Pavel Durov has named this book the one he is most likely to give out to a friend

Now a household word used mostly in a business context, the author’s book debut in 1991 unleashed a groundbreaking discovery – being at the top of your game takes complete concentration and involvement. The kicker is that the author uses psychological tools to show how this state can be achieved by choice. If the ability is manageable, so is your state of fulfillment and satisfaction. The eight elements include a lack of self-awareness as the focus shifts into uber-drive, and time awareness recedes. Good points are made about the difference between satisfaction in an absorbing task, rather than low-level entertainment or recreational drugs.

The Power Of Now” byEckhart Tolle

How to become enlightened?

Read The Power of Now by Tolle

– twitter.com/durov

Also mentioned in Self-Help Books Recommended By Oprah Winfrey

This Zen Buddhist work of philosophy has made quite an impression on a number of reading lists of famous celebrities, from Paris Hilton to Oprah Winfrey. As might be deduced from the title, Tolle promotes the perspective of living in the moment – but not in a shallow way. Styled as a spiritual teacher, Tolle goes beyond the practical necessity of living moment-to-moment, but says that the present is truly all that there is, and should be lived with intensity – because time is purely an illusion. The rejection of struggle by implementing mindfulness, and moving from inactive waiting to the integrity of action, are also intriguing themes.

“Tao Te Ching” by Laozi

Pavel Durov has recommended this book in his Instagram account

Also mentioned in Jack Dorsey’s 5 Favorite Books

This Book of the Way offers wisdom balanced by the experience of perspective. The book’s appeal rests on the idea that eternal principles can govern all that is mysterious and wonderful about life. This classic text dates back to the fourth century, but the applications of the 81 sections range from cosmological to political, all accessible through «the gate of many secrets», although the focus rests on awareness rather than naming (or blaming).

“The Black Swan” by NassimTaleb

Pavel Durov has recommended this book in one of his tweets

While it’s easy to be awed by the power and order of the universe, Taleb points out again that the orderly has a good deal of randomness attached for the ride. Moving on from statistics in Fooled by Randomness, he explains in this work that futuristic predictions contain many landmines. The path of past repetition gets marred by large and unplanned world events that throw all forecasters out of their Wall Street grooves. From Google’s unplanned success to the actual discovery of black swans in Australia, it’s possible to ignore the outlying areas outside of what man knows.

“Hackers & Painters:Big Ideas from the Computer Age” by Paul Graham

Pavel Durov has recommended this book in his interview to sobaka.ru

Also mentioned in Evan Williams’ Book List, Chris Anderson’s Book Choice

Graham has developed the promotion of unpopular, go-against-the-grain habits of nerds to a fine art. A common pitfall for large companies, he says, is simply imitating and improving on someone else’s innovation, like Hollywood blockbusters that use a tried-and-true formula with a few new plot twists. Startup companies can nip around bureaucracy, please customers, and award those who get things done, joining in the true joy of wealth creation. InSITE, a New York City hub, featured his work on a top 10reading list for 2012, along with startup job promoter GetWakefield.com.

The Art of Non-Conformity” byChris Guillebeau

Pavel Durov has recommended this book in one of his tweets

The author’s stated intent of giving away his profits to a personally meaningful charity in Ethiopia is a good indication of the message that doing good can work for both you and others. For those who love real-life adventures and the lure of vagabonding, mixing goal-setting with personal development has never felt so free. While corporations are slow to validate the growing tribes of non-conformists who want their visioneering to have an effect beyond themselves, Guillebeau’s message is that no one has to wait for them to catch up.

“An Introduction to Zen Buddhism” by D. T. Suzuki

Pavel Durov has recommended this book in his Facebook account

Perhaps the best link between Zen next to the famous ‘Motorcycle Maintenance’ guide, this book breaks down the barriers of the East to the readers of the West. The blending includes an introduction by famous psychologist Carl Jung, who recognized the value of the author who trained at the Kamakura Zen monastery. This book provides the philosophical background for those who seek balanced enlightenment in the here and now, through unconscious acts unspoiled by self-awareness or self-aggrandizing behaviors.

“The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene

Pavel Durov has recommended this book to one of his colleagues at VK

Presidential candidates and readers of ‘The Art of War’ will find a home for this work on their shelves. The 48 Laws are a summary of the principles of great wielders of invisible weapons, from Queen Elizabeth to P.T. Barnum. It’s possible to read the text in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, as a guide to avoidance of habits that become destructive in the long term, or as a real-life way to protect yourself against those who are just as ruthless in crushing their enemies in the boardroom as in the war room. At the very least, the tips on saying less than necessary and concealing one’s intentions can be good advice in a troubled business world.

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