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Bogdan Lucaciu, Adore Me's CTO, Uses Books to Shape His Worldview

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The book-talk you’re going to read next is with entrepreneur Bogdan Lucaciu, CTO of Adore Me.

Bogdan has been an entrepreneur for his entire adult life, a journey that started back in 2003, when he partnered with Dragoș Manac at System & Network Solutions (SNS) – a company specialized in programming and system / network administration.

Five years later, Bogdan started a software development company, Sinapticode, as a SNS spin-off. In 2013, he merged Sinapticode into Adore Me, a company that challenges the status-quo of the lingerie market. He initially acted as a technology advisor for it, but things evolved and he merged his engineering team and joined as AdoreMe’s CTO – his first real job.

Bogdan is currently in charge of a tech team of 70+ people, striving to achieve a democratic way of working. He’s “into org design, engagement, open source, building disruptive products and shipping awesome software”.

He is also mentoring a team of teens at Made by Teens incubator, and in the previous years he was a mentor at MVP Academy and SeedCamp (Prague and Dublin).

Keep on reading to find out more about the books that had an impact on Bogdan, put him on a journey of understanding, acceptance, change, how meditation helped him improve his ability to focus, and more.

Estimated reading time for this interview is 9 minutes. If you'd rather listen to it, you can do it on iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.

What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

Reinventing Organisations, by Frederic Laloux.

Completely unrelated people told me about it at the same time, for different reasons. People that I really looked up to. Quite serendipitous.

It was almost spooky reading it, I didn’t expect such a highly regarded book to be so close to my unconventional beliefs about organisation design.

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, by Jack Weatherford

It provided a sense of perspective on humanity as a whole (much like Sapiens). It connected many dots and it was super engaging, total binge-reading material.

Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?

I do tend to read a lot as a mean for soul searching, so most books help me.

I think Rewire (by Richard O’Connor) helped me a lot at the time, it was the first neuropsychology book, and it shed light on my bad habits and behaviour.

It opened my appetite for “brain” books and started a journey of understanding, acceptance and change.

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents” is also worth mentioning, it allowed me to tame some old demons.

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What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)

I recently read “The Book of Joy”. It’s a series of dialogues between Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu (beautifully narrated in the audio version). They share their view on living a happy life in the face of adversity.

The book brought profound clarity on topics like compassion, gratitude, generosity, and it deeply resonated with my worldview. If there’s one book you end up reading from my list, I hope it’s this one.

What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

All the books I mentioned with the other questions 🙂 Plus these:
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – it was frustrating to read: “Where was this book 20 years ago!?”
Co-Active Coaching – Very well structured material on coaching. I’m a better listener now.
Speaking Peace: Connecting with Others Through Nonviolent Communication – I recommend any book written by Marshall B. Rosenberg – my personal and professional relationships changed for the better after finding his work
The Talent Code – Greatness can be cultivated through deep practice, ignition and master coaching.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Spoiler: it’s autonomy, mastery, and purpose
Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success – a light & entertaining read, the anecdotes illustrating each concept are super inspiring.

I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

I probably listen to 3-4 audiobooks and read one paperback book every month. So at any given time I’m reading one book and listening to another.

I have to say, I had difficulty listening to audiobooks for the first 6 months, my mind would wander. Meditation helped me quiet my mind so I can now focus on listening for extended periods of time.

To indulge my need for reading actual paper books, I started an intentional habit: I walk to my office every morning, and mid-route there’s this coffee shop where I get my espresso & reading hit for the day.

In the past, my biggest trouble was pausing books for a long period of time, which usually led to abandoning them.

My habit creates a sense of continuity, so I can now read for 3 hours on a flight, then read 5-6 pages every day with my coffee, then read another hour on a Saturday and so on.

Tell us more about your meditation habit – How and why did you start? What helped? Are you using any guided meditation apps or YouTube channels?

I don’t really remember how I started. I tried yoga a couple of times. I read about mindfulness in lots of places, including Rewire.

At the time I was trying to find ways to be more present and aware of myself and the ones around me. Then someone showed me Insight Timer and that was it.

I follow my breath while falling asleep sometimes. I meditate before public speaking, it keeps me coherent.

Sometimes I just take a quick breathing break between tough meetings to reset. I manage to do a morning meditation a couple of times every week.

A good intro for your first try is Be Calm from Tom Evans. I also like Just for Today for my morning meditation. Smiling Relaxation from Andrew Johnson is quite interesting as well.

Besides meditation, is there anything else that you do when you feel overwhelmed or unfocused?

Mind maps. I dump my worries on paper or in Mindmeister. It clears my mind and generates clarity.

How do you make time for reading?

I listen to audiobooks in all my idle moments. Waiting in line. Driving. Walking. Subway.

Honestly, I started listening to audiobooks in order to find time for reading. I try to spend as much time as possible with my family, so carving up time dedicated for reading is something special I can’t do very often.

Also, I don’t watch TV or Netflix and I try to stay away from social media (I use Freedom!) so that buys me back a lot of time that I can use for reading.

Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

I’m not too happy with current methods. I think I’ll browse The CEO library to see what other people do 🙂

What works best for me is doing mindmaps with the key takeaways.

How do you choose what books to read next?

I tend to focus my curiosity and learning in a certain area of wisdom for months (e.g. organisation design, engaging people, will power, empathy, software architecture, devops etc)

So I read articles, watch talks, meet experts, grill them on “how could I learn most about X” , maybe I get some book titles.

I rarely read books without having a strong feeling they will make a difference. I put books on my list after a long search for answers to my big questions.

Do you prioritize the books recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

Andrei Roșca and Marius Ștefan.

Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

I’m re-reading “Difficult Conversations”. It’s written by the “Harvard Negotiation Project” guys that also wrote “Getting to Yes” and “Thanks for the Feedback”. It allowed me to navigate super important conversations by shifting from a “who’s right” stance to a learning stance. Giving it another spin after two years from the first read as I’m working on my assertiveness.

In parallel I’m also listening to “High Performance Habits” on Audible. If you get past the introduction, which is a bit too “self-help” in tone, the content is amazing.

I consider myself a high performer, but it comes and goes, depending on so many things like mood, stress, energy. This book does a good job at setting a vision for long-term, consistent high performance in all areas of life.

Links where you can follow Bogdan Lucaciu or find out more about his projects:

All books mentioned by Bogdan in our interview:

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