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Disclosure & Image Rights: Here you will find hand-picked book recommendations from our editorial team in cooperation with our partner on the topics of economics, business and non-fiction. The editorial team includes: Stephan Lamprecht, Christiane furrier, Wolfgang Hanfstein, Oliver Ibelshäuser & Damian Sicking. The books were made available free of charge by the publisher, image rights from the publisher. 
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38Here writes for you: Wolfgang Hanfstein is among other things co-founder and editor-in-chief of, the leading bookstore for executives, entrepreneurs and the self-employed. Wolfgang Hanfstein is co-founder and editor-in-chief of the review magazines and as well as from, the leading bookstore for executives, entrepreneurs and the self-employed. For many years he has been evaluating and reviewing the relevant new publications in the areas of business, management and self-management. To do this, he combs through the programs of all the major publishers with the editorial team of With the aim of guiding readers to the right book quickly. And to win a lot of readers for good books. All texts by Wolfgang Hanfstein.

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The 5 best books on economic history Politics & society: 100 years of learning from successful companies {reading tip}

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To do something Aboutthat have existed for more than 100 years, actually different from the less successful ones? Why did some stock market crashes and world wars survive, others don't even make it through the first year? Christian Stadler and Philip Wältermann investigated this in their book “The Century Champions” and uncovered astonishing things.

Tip: You can download these books here directly view & order (via Amazon)!
The 5 best books on economic history Politics & society: 100 years of learning from successful companies {reading tip}

The larger, the longer the service life?

Why do some companies grow old while others don't even survive the first few years? The average age of companies in Europe is only 12,3 years.

Exchange-listed companies are already better off with an average age of 28 years. And the oldest are the very large tankers (via 10.000 employees) with an average of 48 years.

Learning from the successful

Christian Stadler and Philip Wältermann have digged deep into the facts and figures. Her interest was to find out whether we can learn something today from the most successful companies of all time, from the “century champions”.

What is a century champion? And how does it differ from the other companies? The first question is easy to answer. A century champion must exist for at least 100 years.

100 years successful - despite world wars and stock crash?

The authors of “The Century Champions” answer the second question with the condition that they beat the most important stock indices by a factor of 15.

And in a time when there were two world wars, the global economic crisis, oil crises, globalization, digitalization and the current financial crisis.

The duel of the first against the second

To find out what these companies have done differently than the others, Stadler and Wältermann choose an interesting way. They compare the champions with the second best in the market. From this approach, the book develops its own drama.

Siemens is against AEG. Galaxo vs. Wellcome. The alliance against the Aachen and Munich. Lafarge vs. Ciment Francais. Legal and general against prudential. The Munich against the Cologne Re. Nokia against Ericsson. And Shell versus BP. “Duels” at a high level, which nevertheless produced clear “winners”.

The five principles of success

The keys to the success of the champions were found in the archives by the two authors, Christian Stadler and Philipp Waeler. For several years, they have been rolling company data and reports.

Stadler and Wältermann have molded the commonalities of the champions and what sets them apart in terms of second-best in the market in five principles:

  • Efficiency prevails Innovation: Even the most successful pioneers fail if they fail to exploit their performance.
  • Diversification into related business areas: “Companies cannot play different games at the same time and win in the process”.
  • Learning from mistakes: “Century champions create the right framework”, for example the “willingness of managers to learn from others.
  • Manage finances conservatively and manage risks: “Only the best companies resist the temptation to throw caution overboard and constantly expand.
  • Change the way culture is organized: The champions create the balancing act between continuity and change by taking the culture of the company seriously.

Central questions of corporate management

It is the very central questions of corporate management that are unfolded and answered in this very well written and exciting book to read. And from the unique perspective of the really big superstars among companies. Conclusion: absolutely worth reading for entrepreneurs, managers and everyone who has something to say to companies.

It seems that Twitter has taken all of these tips to heart: With 165 million users worldwide, the new hype-Network to become. Long old hat for veteran social media bunnies, the founding story behind Twitter is all the more exciting. Because it began in 2006 in a shabby barrack.

From the shabby barrack to the stock market

In November 2013, Twitter successfully went public on the New York Stock Exchange. The microblog service has long been owned by Facebook and YouTube to the most important social networks worldwide. Over 165 million people submit more than 90 million status reports every day.

The limitation to only 140 characters is the success secret of the Zwitscher service. Such a rapid success story was not to be expected when Evan Williams 2006 gave birth to the little bird in somewhere in San Francisco with some friends in a shabby barrack.

The founding history of Twitter: company biography and milieus research

In his book “Twitter”, Nick Bilton tells the story behind the scenes of the news service - from birth to the present day. He “conducted hundreds of hours of interviews” and “eMails, presentations and newspaper articles ”were evaluated in order to draw a uniquely detailed picture of an unusual start-up.

This succeeded very well because Bilton completed his notes with fictional elements to create an atmospherically dense narrative. “Twitter” reads like a novel, is a company biography, a crime thriller and a milieu study by West Coast hackers and programmers of the early 21st century.

Looking for the business model

The author will take you back to the windowless backyard room near the South Park, where Ev, Noah, Jack and Biz will find new online business models for beer and pizza and reject it until the idea for Twitter is. More random than planned.

The Internet service has long registered a six-digit number of users when the question of the actual business model is still open. As a company, Twitter is slowly approaching the laws of global players in the Internet business.

Modern Beatles: Between Management Mistakes and Family Problems

This makes the company appealing and above all its founders, Ev, Noah, Jack and Biz, to whom Nick Bilton devotes lovingly equipped portrait studies. Regardless of whether it is about the first programming attempts by the founding team ("Rabble often programmed with one hand on the keyboard and scratched the testicles with the other").

Or about the self-image of the founders (“modern Beatles, whose instruments were laptops and whose music were programming languages”). Or about the many "family" misunderstandings, conflicts and hair-raising management error (“there was total chaos internally”): Bilton's descriptions are always very close to them

A sensitive history of coincidences, friendship and disappointment

“Twitter” is a wonderful book: Touching, exciting, sometimes tongue in cheek, Nick Bilton describes how Twitter could become one of the most important internet companies of our time. Not an X-any company biography, but the sensitive story of coincidences, friendship, big deals and great disappointment. And of course good ideas at the right time at the right place.

So it is a good idea to take a look at German economic history - an incredible piece of German past. Overall, a very interesting book on the history of the Volkswagen. Because mechanical engineer Paul Schilperoord stumbled upon the name Josef Ganz in an American magazine. It read, it was said, long before Ferdinand Porsche developed a small car that had all the essential characteristics of the beetle.

The most productive inventor in the history of the automobile

The mechanical engineer did research - and discovered one of the most productive developers in the history of the automobile. Josef Ganz not only drove through Frankfurt in 1933 with a “May beetle” he had built himself.

He also presented the "Standard Superior", the first series-produced "Volkswagen" at the "International Motor Show and Motorcycle Exhibition" (IAMA). Why the name Josef completely disappeared from the annals of automotive history, Paul Schilperoord traces in this book frighteningly and meticulously.

Innovation around the new mobility.

Just as today the innovations from the IT labs around the world indicate the cycle, then turned at the turn of the 19. to the 20. Century all about the development of new mobility. Josef Ganz experienced the replacement of the old, horse-drawn tram through the steam tram.

And he witnessed the car moving away from the motorized carriage into a self-contained vehicle. The car was to become the absolute passion of Josef Ganz. Inspired by Henry Ford, he early developed the idea of ​​a car for all. And he also implemented this idea!

Public Relations

On the one hand, as editor-in-chief of the magazine Motor-Criticism for the courage to innovate, on the other hand, he was instrumental and with many patents involved in the development of the future-oriented independent suspension.

The preliminary highlight was the production of the “Maikäfer” prototype. An extremely stable car with excellent driving characteristics, which shone through the reduction to the essential. Quite propagated the Volkswagen in his magazine, demanding that the industry finally switch from the production of the old, expensive monsters to innovative, inexpensive cars.

Small cars with the power of politics

He also had a clear price presentation. 1.500 Mark should cost the car and not a penny more. He gave the design drawings in his magazine almost free of charge. But the corporations were locked up. Why should they break the market for expensive cars with small cars?

Hitler, who knew the demands and work of the prominent engine critic and developer Josef Ganz, made short work of himself after he came to power. He dictated the “Volkswagen” project to the automotive industry. But he did not turn out differently than Josef Ganz had hoped Manager a cross-company development team. Ferdinand Porsche got this post. Because Josef Ganz was a Jew.

An incredible piece of German past

During his research, Paul Schilperoord discovered unpublished footage and countless documents. He describes how Josef Ganz, pursued by the Gestapo, landed in Switzerland. How the Nazis seized not only the property of Josef Ganz, but also his patents.

And it shows how Ferdinand Porsche continued essential developments in the Volkswagen. "The true story of the VW Beetle" describes an incredible piece of German past. Although Schilperoord writes quite wood and sometimes you want a historian instead of an engineer as an author, what Schilperoord serves is enormous.

Success stories on the stock exchange?

He deserves to have brought photos and documents to light that would otherwise have remained in the dark forever. Last but not least, “The True History of the VW Beetle” is also a late reference to the brilliant designer and inventor Josef Ganz.

With so many success stories, who doesn't want to become entrepreneurially active - for example on the stock exchange? Hence here “stock market hit” - a topic on which information is still necessary. The economic crisis has severely shaken the confidence of many investors in exchange products. What can help are tips from real experts. For example “Exchange for Dummies” by the managing director of the Munich stock exchange. Now revised and reissued.

Do not worry about the stock market

The Germans are still a nation of stockbrokers. The lion's share, ie about two-thirds of private financial assets is (supposedly) risk-free, but not very profitable - on savings accounts, as fixed-term deposits or with insurers. The share of total assets has been stagnating in the single-digit range for years.

According to the figures of the German stock institute DAI, only 2010 million citizens owned stocks or stock funds in 8,6 - whereby many depots are nothing more than cemeteries for the sad remnants of the “new economy”.

Important topic reissued!

All the more important that Christine Bortenlänger, head of the Munich Stock Exchange and one of the few female faces in the German financial world, and her spokesman Ulrich Kirstein take on the topic.

With just under 400 pages, the third and updated edition of “Börse für Dummies”, which has just been published, is not necessarily quickly manageable, but you will receive well-founded and at the same time easily readable information. And all relevant questions about the stock exchange are answered.

Where's the money?

How does the investment on the stock exchange work? What do you have to consider? How can you act as a private investor? The invested reading time will be worthwhile. They are well on the way to keeping the savings. And training yourself is definitely better than leaving your finances to others.

Because in the end nobody bears the responsibility other than yourself. “Exchange for Dummies” is much more than the small 1 × 1 of the exchange. Because the authors understand the latest findings in stock exchange psychology. And you will also get to know the great stock market gurus from Kostolany to Heiko Thieme in readable and critical portraits.

What's missing: A critical look!

A little more restraint on some estimates of non-exchange traded products would have been desirable. For example, when pointing out that there is a functioning secondary market for units of closed-end funds, ie for entrepreneurial interests in ships, aircraft or real estate.

There is not, as one can easily determine with some clicks on the appropriate Internet platforms. It would also be desirable to have a somewhat more critical distance to the financial industry, such as the banking practice. They finance themselves as well as many free financial advisors on commissions.

Independent advice - no indication!

Independent and objective advice will quickly fall by the wayside. After all, the authors mention that there are alternatives to the expensive-to-pay services of managers of actively managed mutual funds. Especially for private investors, passively managed index funds are a very good alternative.

Overall, however, the project succeeds in inviting people to take a very serious interest in the topic of investment and economic life.

Into the fray

The book is an important contribution to “financial education” in Germany. Very worth reading! And a good first step for you if you think about how you can invest your savings more profitably. And then it's time to try it out. Because, as the authors write in the foreword: "... it is not enough to read a book about climbing and then quickly climb the Eiger north face".

But the tide in Germany can turn quickly, economically and politically. In September 2011, Angela Merkel, together with the atomic energy industry, decided to extend the service life of German nuclear power plants. Now the nuclear disaster in Fukushima could change everything: Perhaps, one can only hope that this event will be the final proof of the need for a turnaround in energy policy. But how can it go on?

Use resources more efficiently

One possibility: the more efficient use of existing resources! This is how Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker answered the question 16 years ago in his sensational book “Faktor Vier”. However, little has changed.

Because despite the more efficient use of resources, overall consumption rose rapidly. Von Weizsäcker also includes this development in the follow-up volume published a few months ago. In “Factor Five” he shows what can and must be done technically and politically.

Away from the rebound dilemma

The so-called oil crisis continued the first major one Impuls for the more efficient use of energy. The effect, however, was the direct increase in energy consumption. Behind this lies the rebound dilemma or the boomerang effect: the more effectively resources are used, the more affordable they become.

For example, when mobile phones weighed several kilos when they were introduced and were only seen in company cars, they weigh only a few grams today. However, the consumption of resources for mobile phones has increased exponentially due to the mass distribution.

sustainable growth

Von Weizsäcker is therefore dedicated not only to technical solutions in “Factor Five”, but above all to the politically necessary framework for sustainable growth (for example, long-term eco-tax).

The concern of “factor four” was the connection of the market growth perspective with ecologically sustainable production. This perspective is also retained in “Factor Five”.

Changing economic systems

In the first part of the book, the co-authors Karlson Hargroves and Michael Smith look at the essential economic systems “buildings”, “steel and cement”, “agriculture” and “transport”. Here facts are provided which prove that “keep it up” or BAU (Business As Usual) is not necessary because alternatives exist.

And for all important industries! In the second part Ulrich von Weizsäcker then focuses on the politically necessary developments. It shows how market-based mechanisms can be used. And he shows the framework conditions that must be created by the States, so that the property is not sacrificed to individual interests.

The goal: quality of life

Weizsäcker makes a restriction in the connection between growth and sustainability in the last chapter when he calls for a new “sufficiency” for efficiency. And it defines a new lifestyle, as it were:

A lifestyle of frugality that does not focus on economic development, but rather “quality of life as Objective" Are defined. Conclusion: Factor Five is an important book because, largely free of ideology, it really shows practicable ways out of self-destruction.

Look into the book & order

You can order these books directly via Amazon, take a look at the book or find out more bibliographical data. Just click on the picture. You can also use the entire Read the review here!

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