Ilya Vasilenko
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Book recommendations

This page contains only books that I personally read and can highly recommend.

Life wisdom and self-development

"Daily Stoic", Ryan Holiday

This is the book that I've highlighted, commented on, and gifted to friends the most in recent years. It contains a short one-page article per day that references one of the Stoics and provides a contemporary interpretation for our daily life. It is an incredible source of daily wisdom. For me, the best way to read this book is to read a page in the evening, write down my thoughts at the bottom of the page, mark the pages that stood out the most for me, and revisit the best pieces on a regular basis. Wisdom is not just about understanding, but also about execution.

"A Monk's Guide to Happiness". Gelong Thubten

This wonderful book is an insightful exploration into the nature of happiness and the practical steps one can take to achieve it. Thubten, a Buddhist monk and meditation teacher, presents happiness as a state of completeness, presence, and freedom, emphasizing the importance of being content with what we have, focusing on the present, and letting go of attachments to the past and future. The book critically examines the external sources of happiness promoted by modern society, such as material possessions and social media, and illustrates how they contribute to a perpetual state of discontent. Thubten advocates for meditation as a tool for developing the mental skills necessary for genuine happiness, guiding readers through techniques to anchor the mind, notice its wanderings without judgment, and gently return focus to the present. The practice extends beyond formal meditation to incorporate mindful moments throughout daily activities, transforming routine actions into exercises in presence and awareness.

Read my summary of the book!


"Negotiating the Impossible: How to Break Deadlocks and Resolve Ugly Conflicts" by Deepak Malhotra

it is an incredible masterpiece written by a Harvard professor with a long record of field experience in negotiations. The book is full of hands-on recommendations that are backed up by examples from all kinds of industries and organizations. I highly recommend this book both for private and working life.

"Never split the difference", Crys Voss

This is one of the best books on negotiations of all time. There are many other great sources, but you should definitely read this one as it contains very hands-on tips that you can start using in your daily life straight after reading it, not just in contract negotiations, but in daily conversations. It is also very interesting to read because Chris Voss provides many examples from his own practice to illustrate the techniques.

"Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations" by William Ury

The book is incredibly useful for both professional and private life. It is highly recommended regardless of your job title and daily tasks. We negotiate on a daily basis. Understanding your negotiation partner and maximize the win-win for both sides is an incredibly useful skill. I grabbed this book from the recommendation list of Tim Ferriss and do not regret a single page.


"Extreme Ownership: How US Navy Seals Lead and Win" by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

If you don't know Jocko Willink, watch his TEDx Talk on Extreme Ownership ( - these 15min are really worth it. He has successfully applied extreme ownership concepts to coach leaders in all types of organizations and industries after retiring from the Navy. This book has changed my life in the way how I look at who is responsible for my challenges, how to feel about them, and, more importantly, how to address them. Highly recommended for both private and professional life. Note: If you don't like the army-stuff, he only uses it for illustrating principles. The application of them to non-army life comes after that for each of the principles and is the bible of leadership.

Business books

"Winning" by Jack Welsh

Jack Welsh worked his way from the bottom to the CEO of General Electrics and was leading this company for 20 years. This book is a set of recipes for all aspects of company management - how to set company goals, how to hire and manage people, how to expand and others. It is a total must-have.

Ilya Vasilenko