Lesen bildet*

*In German, we say "lesen bildet", which means "reading educates" in English. Not only does reading help you learn about the world, it also improves your writing skills (and your foreign language ability, if you read in another language). And: It is a perfect way to relax your mind and improve your ability to concentrate in a world that is more and more dominated by digital distraction.
Here, I will share my all-time favorites, as well as current reading suggetions. If you have any feedback on the list, or would like to share your own suggestions with me, please contact me

All-time fiction favorites

> 430K Amazon reviews cannot lie: A great novel about a little girl growing up on her own in the marshland of the North Carolina coast, and a crime whose solution remains open until the very end.

Probably the greatest story of revenge in the history of literature. I read this classic for the first time more than 20 years ago, and am still thrilled by Edmont Dantès strive for retribution.

If you want to know how it was to live in the Berlin of the Third Reich, and how dangerous it was for ordinary people to take a stand against Hitler's regime, Fallada's long-unappreciated novel is unrivaled.

Probably the most page-turning book I have ever read, and the one that had the longest-lasting effect on me. Just try it out! 

All-time non-fiction favorites

Eye-opening book by Wharton organizational psychologist Adam Grant why givers (unlike takers) succeed in the long run, by helping the people they support achieve their goals. 

Deep work and concentration is an increasingly rare skill in times of constant push messages, social media distraction and Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting. This book helps to regain focus and maximize productivity.

Former marketing professor Hermann Simon is the German management thinker. Next to pricing, the hidden champions (unknown world market leaders who are the backbone of many economies) are his legacy.

Fascinating in various dimensions: The memoir of the entrenepeur who started selling imported Japanese sneakers in the 1960 and went on to build the largest brand in sports.

Project "26 books a year": 
Current reading tips

Short stories by the most internationally respected contemporary author about everyday topics. Short stories are great because they are just that - short. I still read the entire book in about 3 days. (So far only available in German)

Volker Kutscher's novel series is the basis for the highly successful Sky and Netflix series "Babylon Berlin". This is the latest novel within the series about police officer Gereon Rath, playing in Berlin and New York City in the 1930s. (So far only available in German)

Many talk about interdisciplinary work, Dirk Brockmann lives it. This book combines knowledge from fields such as network research, epidemiology and social sciences to show that everything belongs together in an increasingly complex world. (So far only available in German)

A book about an unusual friendship between a young man who tries to escape his working-class upbringing and find his place in live and a peculiar, but highly amiable older lady. 

Germany, unlike other countries, has only had a small number of political leaders in the past 70 years. But the families of the chancellors from Adenauer to Merkel (the book does not cover Olaf Scholz yet) could not be more different. (So far only available in German)

Not the best read for those who are looking for a babysitter or nanny. For everybody else, a great thriller, and a fantastic portrayal of the dichotomy between high performance family and work life. 

Language shapes how we see ourselves and others. In this poetic book filled with wise citations, Gümüsay shows that language is also one of the greatest causes of discrimination. 

A nice father-son story about a dad whose life lies in ruins after the death of his wife and the loss of his job. In German this book is called "Pandatage" ("panda days"), which nicely summarizes the protagonist's way to end his misery. Both very funny and at times very sad. 

Judea Pearl is a luminary in artificial intelligence and causality research. This book provides a summary of his work. Interestingly, not many marketing researchers have picked up on his approach (given that "causality" is such a big topic there as well).

I got this book from a cousin of mine since "it plays in Belgium" (thanks Thommy). Unfortunately, the book suffers from a boring and often unrealistic plot. The 2.9 Amazon stars are thus well deserved. (So far only in German and French [original language])

The 16 years of Angela Merkel's government are an epoch in which Germany and its image in the world changed dramatically. This book is an often critical portrait of the lady who Barack Obama called "an outstanding partner". (So far only available in German)

On Instagram you are often confronted with life coaches that tell you how to make money quickly, with sales, trading or (worst of all) crypto. The German saterist and podcast host Sebastian Hotz (aka El Hotzo) makes fun of this fakeness. An very funny and sometimes very sad read. (So far only available in German)

Mona Ameziane is a German "bookfluencer", TV and radio journalist and podcast host with Moroccan roots. This inspiring book tells the story of her upbringing between two cultures, and is also a lively portrait of the "in" country Morroco. (So far only available in German)

I read this book because it was very positively evaluated (> 140k Amazon 5-star reviews), and because it plays in academia. It's ok, but it still took me 6 weeks to read it, which is not a good sign. 

The diaries from the years 1998/99 of German actor legend Manfred Krug ("Auf Achse", "Tatort", "Sesamstraße") are a great portrait of the late 1990s. Helmut Kohl is voted out of office, Steffi Graf ends her career, and a former KGB agent called Wladimir Putin takes over in Russia. Great for everybody born in 1985 or earlier (So far only available in German)