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Joseph Stalin's book recommendations

photo: Wikimedia
As historians say Stalin was an avid reader: in average he read about 300 pages a day. The leader of the communist Soviet Union on books that changed him
Buy on amazon “The Ladies' Paradise” by Émile Zola
Émile Zola was among the authors admired by Joseph Stalin

This novel of 19th-century Paris (and its BBC film production) may be no match for the grace of Downtown Abbey on screen, but Octave Mouret’s escapades in personal and professional sales can hold readers spellbound. The mixture of the innocent country girl thrust into city life and struggle (Denise Baudu) are reminiscent of Fantine in Les Misérables, while the exploration of business and politics also strike a similar note. The lion-like image of the department store ruling over human lives is symbolic of the highs and lows of consumerist culture today.
Buy on amazon “The Brothers Karamasov” by Dostoevsky
In one of the conversations with his daughter Stalin mentioned Dostoyevsky as an example of a deep psychologist. It is known that since his youth Stalin was reading Dostoevsky with great interest. While reading "The Brothers Karamazov", Stalin has made a lot highlights and notes in the margins

This is of the best allegorical novels to explain the fractured nature of 19th century Russia. Each character is representative of one of the ruling classes. There is the father Fyodor, the landowner who is negligent about his land, but greedy in using its produce for himself. There's Dmitri, who has been passed around from house to house, and has grown up an entitled but debt-ridden soul. There's the skeptic Ivan, who wishes to live more among cold concepts than people. Third is gentle Alyosha, the mystic and religious peacemaker, and the illegitimate Smerdyakov. Throughout are themes of love, law, and duty, which makes this one of the best Dostoyesky books to read besides Crime and Punishment.
Buy on amazon “The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind” by Gustave Le Bon
To some extent, echoes of Le Bon's book can be found in the works of Stalin, who has studied the work of Le Bon and has drawn his own conclusions from this book

Either meant for everyday reading or as an introduction to sociology, this book indicates why Wal-Mart crowds act both mindfully and mindlessly on Black Friday. The suppression of logic mixed with enhanced emotion makes for a charged atmosphere, as individuals lose their ability to be restrained while buoyed by a feeling of invincibility. The equality and unity of a crowd can be a powerful tool, or a double-edged sword. The secret lies in the capture of the imagination, for a crowd’s momentum can be enhanced or governed by images.
Buy on amazon ”The Knight in the Panther Skin” by Shota Rustavel
Stalin knew all the old translations of this book, and when the new edition of the book was being published in 1940-1941, he even made several amendments to the translation from Georgian

Buy on amazon The Bible
Stalin has been quoting long passages from the Bible

Buy on amazon Stories of Anton Chekhov
Stalin has been quoting passages from Chekhov many times

Out of these thirty top stories of one of Russia’s premier writers, Chekhov had a personal favorite: “The Student”. The mood shifts from contemplation of history (Peter and Ivan the Terrible) to a deep discussion with widowed neighbors about Biblical and spiritual topics, to the joyous uplift of past meeting present. This trajectory could describe many of Checkhov’s unflinching portrayals of poverty, marriages without affection, and older members of the family in a state of death near a stove. Almost every story has a redemptive note of hope mixed in with levels of bleak despair.
Buy on amazon "The Prince" by Niccolo Machiavelli
This is said to be one of the most favorite books of Stalin, from which he took advice on governing the state


Called everything from “ruthless” to “masterpiece” over its checkered publishing career, civil servant Machiavelli's posthumous work can be bundled on a reading list with the Art of War for true insight on how to build power and decimate enemies. (Perhaps this is also why Donald Trump has added “The Prince” to his reading list of books leading to success.) Though the advice was meant for the Medici ruling family in Italy, the principles can still hold true, or at least shed a light on how to weave through the murky waters of politics.
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