This is a list of the most important books in my life. I will keep this list updated. Please also visit my Goodreads account for more inspiration. If you want to be notified of new books, I recommend you subscribe to my personal newsletter.
Last Update: June 2016 (click here for an updated list)
My purpose in life is to reach my human potential. This is why I am an entrepreneur. This is why I love books. This is why I love personal development. This is why I love productivity and efficiency. This is why I am an idealist. Finally I get it. It’s so simple and clear. Join my journey! — Remo Uherek
Happiness, Art of Living, Art of Dying
- Start with Why: A very important book for me. Gave me clarity on my own life’s purpose. Must read for everybody who wants to find a deeper sense of fulfillment and direction in life. The same principles are applied by the most successful companies in the world, so it’s not only relevant for you personally, but also for your business.
- The Secret: I’ve listened to the audio version and loved the book. It was the right book at the right time and totally changed my perception of the world.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People: Deep and rich book about how to deal with people, despite the quite shallow title. Showed me how 30 simple — but certainly not always easily applicable — principles can minimize my conflicts, enrich my relationships and generally make me a happier, more peaceful human being. The book is filled with a vast collection of valuable case studies and examples. This book is my reference whenever I encounter a difficult relationship that requires skillful communication.
- Flow: Fantastic book about how to find a sense of fulfillment in life. Since then sentences like “This is a flow experience for me” are part of my everyday vocabulary. I loved the audio version.
- Hirnforschung und Meditation: Showed me the potential for meditation and the potential of buddhist wisdom for becoming a more fulfilled human being. This book motivated me to start meditating in 2009, and opened the door to a whole new perspective and life. Since then I meditate daily and it has become an integral part of my life. (Read my book review.)
- The Art of Happiness: One of my first books I have read written by The Dalai Lama. Full of wisdom. Reinforced my desire to continue on the path of meditation and learning about the art of living a happy life.
- Happiness: Fantastic book by Matthieu Ricard. I love his thinking and writing style ever since I read “Hirnforschung und Meditation”. Don’t miss his Google talk and TED talk.
- At Hell’s Gate: Touching and moving memoir by Claude AnShin Thomas about his service in Vietnam, his subsequent emotional collapse, and how he was ultimately able to find healing and peace. He speaks about the unspeakable, and his ability to transform his life is very inspiring. I know Claude AnShin Thomas in person, and participated in one of his street retreats where for five days I have lived on the streets of Bielefeld, without money, without a sleeping bag, sleeping outside.
- The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: Very good piece on death, the process of dying and the art of dying. Derived from ancient Tibetan knowledge and wisdom. One important point is that if you are prepared for death and know what to expect, it gives you peace of mind, reduces fear, and makes it easier to live your current life fully. I’ve bought several copies of this book and distributed it amongst the people close to me, with my wish that I want do die as instructed in this book, and that I want to have this book read to me on my death bed. In case you are confronted with death in your close circle, consider reading some passages of this book to the one who is dying, to ease their fear and to prepare them for what is coming.
- Anything You Want: Currently my favourite entrepreneurship book. It’s only 96 pages (or 91 minutes in the audio version) and packed with insights and learnings. I also recommend to check out Derek’s website and podcasts (e.g. this one).
- Gottlieb Duttweiler: Exceptionally inspiring biography of Gottlieb Duttweiler, founder of leading Swiss supermarket chain Migros. The historic dimension is very interesting, as one learns about Switzerland in the early 20th century. Duttis passion was exceptional, as well as his business philosophy. He realized that a business alone is not fulfilling enough, so he added a social mission, becoming one of the pioneers of the concept of socially engaged entrepreneurship. He turned Migros into a cooperative, effectively giving it away for free to his clients. Must read for Swiss entrepreneurs.
- Kopf schlägt Kapital (Brain versus Capital): Prof. Faltin proposes an innovative concept of how to create new businesses. He emphasizes the importance of a thoroughly thought through business concept, meaning rethinking and refining all the pieces of the puzzle until it truly fits. Must read for entrepreneurs, especially ones that are looking to bootstrap their business.
- Das Geheimnis von IKEA: The story of IKEA and Ingvar Kamprad. Shows the importance of creating a unique company culture and the power of simplicity and frugality. I enjoyed this book very much.
- Delivering Happiness: The story of Zappos.com and Tony Hsieh about how they almost went bankrupt and then were able to turn around. Showed me how important the company culture and focus on outstanding customer service is. This book had a strong impact on how we ran Trigami, how we hired and how we communicated internally.
- Rework: Inspiring essays about running a modern business. Beautiful artwork inside. Refreshing and inspiring. Another great book by the founders of 37signals.
- Die 11 Geheimnisse des Aldi-Erfolgs: I found it very interesting to see how Aldi is run and decentrally organized. Very inspiring in terms of execution, simplicity and focus. Business wise there is a lot to be learned in this book.
Financial Literacy and Investing
- The Snowball: Detailed, valuable and inspiring biography of Warren Buffett. I truly like the principles and approach of Warren Buffett and am very happy to follow his recommendations. His description of how his participation in a Dale Carnegie course turned out one of the most valuable things in his life inspired me to finally study Dale Carnegie myself. And as you see it made it to my Top 3 as well. One of the things I was impressed most was Buffett’s approach to philanthropy. His description of his friendship with Bill Gates inspired me to study Bill Gates’ approach to philanthropy as well, which turned out to be very inspiring and valuable as well.
- The Intelligent Investor: Here I have followed the recommendation of Warren Buffett, who claims that this was probably the most important book of his life. I like Ben Graham’s cautious principles rooted in fundamentals, especially his distinction between “investing” and “speculating, his concept of “margin of safety”, and his concept of “Mr. Market” who is an emotional wreck. In case you ever consider investing your money in stocks or bonds, read this first.
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad: This was an important book for me and taught me how to manage my money intelligently. It inspired me to develop a valuable financial instinct that has helped me to cut my costs, live more frugally and make better money decisions.
Making the World a Better Place
- Banker to the Poor: Very inspiring story by Muhammad Yunus about his Grameen Bank and how micro-lending improved millions of lives in Bangladesh and around the world. A truly inspiring story of socially engaged entrepreneurship.
- Creating a World Without Poverty: Again very inspiring book by Muhammad Yunus about his concept of Social Business and the Future of Capitalism. I like his approach of taking the tools of for-profit businesses and apply them to social challenges.
Productivity, Simplifying Life
- Getting Things Done: Encountered this book in 2007 when I had a very difficult time, being unorganized and in an internal and external mess. Probably saved me from a burnout or even nervous breakdown. It was the right book at the right time and blew my mind away. I’ve learned how to organize myself using the reliable GTD system. Today GTD is my operating system. I use it for physical and digital data management, for managing my email, for project management, even for grocery shopping. It has given me efficiency and peace of mind. Please also don’t miss Zen To Done, a fantastic summary of GTD and other productivity techniques (Download Free E-Book in German). Here is a posting of how I got my e-mails under control.
- The 4-Hour Workweek: This book has been quite important and inspiring for me. It reinforced my desire to simplify my life and to focus on what’s truly important. I’ve started to use the 80/20 Pareto-principle much more often in my life.
- Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: A well-written classic. A nice supplement to GTD, The 4-Hour Workweek and all the other productivity books. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” has become an important principle for me.
- The Checklist Manifesto: Fantastic and game-changing book. Shows that the use of simple checklists can save more lives in hospitals than super-expensive equipment. Checklists are applicable everywhere and I am a huge fan.
- Influence: The #1 favourite book of Charlie Munger. Perfect overview over human biases and behavioral economics. Loved it!
Marketing, Communication and Sales
- Purple Cow: Learn how to build remarkable products. I loved the audio version.
- Presentation Zen: If you want to learn the skill of creating beautiful and impressive presentations, read this book. It’s full of examples that you can instantly use to make your presentation better.
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: The perfect social media and 21st century marketing handbook by Gary Vaynerchuk. For each major network there is a chapter with best practices and plenty of case studies that show you how to use those networks most effectively to maximize engagement and ROI. I love the concept: give, give, give, give, give, and then occasionally ask. This will probably be a winning marketing strategy in this century. Get this for your marketing team, and read it yourself. It was written in 2013 and it includes platforms like Pinterest and Snapchat as well.
- Bei Anruf Erfolg: If you’re not the born salesperson and find yourself in a situation that needs sales-skills, read this book. This book and the seminars of Umberto Saxer were the foundation for our sales-team at Trigami.
- Don’t Make Me Think: Read this and your website will never be the same. Usability 101, perfectly explained.
- Getting Real: Read this right before developing Trigami. Very valuable principles on how to develop a web app, helped us a lot. Love the 37signals guys. (Get a free PDF of the book)
Health and Sports
- Mehr Power: This audio book motivated me eat more fruit, especially apples and bananas. It also motivated me to regularly go running. It’s a very short, simple and motivating audio book.
- The Paleo Solution: Good introduction to the paleo diet. It motivated me to excercise more often, especially regularly go running again. It also motivated me to reduce sugar, eat more fruit, eat more vegetables, eat more protein (tofu, nuts etc. since I don’ eat meat), further reduce dairy products. It also convinced me about the benefits of going to sleep early (optimally when the sun sets), at least in theory ;)
- The Marsian: My first science fiction book in a long time. I loved the audio version so much that I immediately listed to it for a second time. If you love space or planets, this story is for you! Goes much deeper than the movie.
- Nexus: Award-winning sci-fi story playing in the year 2040. It’s about nano-bots, mind-to-mind communication, buddhism and the evolution of humans. I loved the audio version! Great entertainment. It’s the first book of a trilogy.
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