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Year-end reading list ’23

14 December 2023

As we gather to celebrate the festive season, this edition of the Year-End Book Club invites the reader on a transformative journey, weaving through themes of understanding, longevity, wisdom, and human complexity.

Our selection begins with an enlightening exploration into the true state of our world, challenging perceptions and fostering optimism. This theme of understanding extends into the art of living a longer, more fulfilling life, reflecting the season’s spirit of togetherness while reminding us to atone for some of the seasonal culinary transgressions.

We then transition into the realms of wisdom and financial decision-making, paying homage to and drawing on the insights of one of the greatest investor minds.

Finally, our journey culminates in a captivating yet surprisingly easy-to-follow narrative that delves into the intricacies of the human psyche, echoing back to our first theme by exploring the complexities and mysteries of our perceptions and realities.

Bidding farewell to the old year and stepping into the new with enriched perspectives and renewed understanding, these selections form a thematic arc that enlightens and entertains, inviting introspection and growth.


Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, et al.

In an era where pessimism often dominates the global conversation, “Factfulness” emerges as a beacon of enlightening truths. The Wall Street Journal captured its essence perfectly, describing it as “a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases.”

Hans Rosling, a renowned Swedish physician, academic, and public speaker who was a professor of international health at the famous Swedish Karolinska Institute, passed away before the book’s publication. Nevertheless, the book he co-authored with his son, Ola Rosling and his daughter-in-law, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, became an international bestseller. It brings a unique blend of expertise from medicine, statistics, and innovation, creating a narrative that is as credible as it is compelling.

“Factfulness” is more than just a book; it’s a compelling call to see the world through a lens of data and reality as we delve into why we as a society have a distorted view of the world. Rosling et al. argue that this skewed perception stems from ten instincts that distort our perspective, ranging from the fear instinct to the size instinct.

The book meticulously dissects each of these instincts, using a plethora of statistics and real-life examples. It is not just a trove of data but a journey into understanding why the world is better than we often perceive. From global health to wealth and poverty, the authors lay bare the facts that challenge our misconceptions. It’s a book that doesn’t just inform; it transforms how you understand the world.

“Factfulness” also has a unique charm in its tone – it is optimistic yet grounded, informative yet readable. The authors manage to strike a delicate balance between academic rigor and accessibility. It’s an engaging read that will leave you more knowledgeable and hopeful about the future.

The book is especially relevant in current times, where misinformation can spread rapidly. It is a tool for critical thinking, a guide to seeing the world as it truly is, not just as it appears to be. Whether you’re a young professional trying to make sense of the world, a seasoned expert in your field, or just a curious mind, “Factfulness” will equip you with a new framework for understanding.
In conclusion, “Factfulness” is a must-read. It proves that understanding and hope can come from the most unexpected places – facts. As you reluctantly turn the last page, you might find that your outlook on the world has changed for the better.


Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity

Peter Attia and Bill Gifford

The Guardian’s glowing review of Peter Attia’s book aptly describes it as a transformative guide that redefines aging and longevity. This seminal work, nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Nonfiction in 2023, presents a groundbreaking approach to extending life and enhancing health. The authors of this #1 New York Times bestseller, esteemed in their fields, offer a unique blend of medical expertise and engaging storytelling.

Don’t be fooled by the publisher’s concession to buzzword-like titles: Increased longevity is a statistical fact. Maintaining a decent quality of life is the main challenge that comes with it. Somewhat contrary to its title, “Outlive” is primarily a roadmap to a healthier life. Peter Attia, a renowned medical doctor, and Bill Gifford, a celebrated science writer, combine their extensive knowledge to challenge traditional views on aging. Their informative and captivating writing perfectly balances scholarly depth and approachable guidance.

Structured in three parts, the book delves into the multifaceted nature of longevity. The first section, “The Science of Longevity,” provides cutting-edge insights into nutritional strategies, exercise optimization, and the vital role of sleep and emotional health. The second, “The Art of Longevity,” focuses on preventative measures and the flourishing field of personalized medicine. The final segment, “The Future of Longevity,” offers an intriguing glimpse into the technological advancements shaping our medical future.

Through a rich tapestry of scientific data and compelling real-life narratives, Attia and Gifford illustrate that aging is not an immutable process but one that can be positively influenced. They emphasize that a tailored, proactive approach to health can significantly alter our life trajectory, empowering us to enjoy each decade more than the last.

“Outlive” is an engaging, enlightening read that resonates with anyone seeking to take control of their aging process. Whether you’re a wellness enthusiast or someone looking to extend your health span, this book will equip you with the insights and tools to chart a personalized path to a longer life worth living.


Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Essential Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger

Peter D. Kaufman and Ed Wexler

May we suggest another contender for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Nonfiction in 2023? This profound work, compiled by editor Peter D. Kaufman and vividly illustrated by Ed Wexler, captures the essence of Charlie Munger’s unparalleled intellect. The foreword by Warren E. Buffett, Munger’s long-time associate, further cements the book’s authoritative status.

“Poor Charlie’s Almanack” is a fitting tribute to the late Charles T. Munger, who left an indelible mark in investing and business philosophy before his passing in November 2023. Munger, the esteemed Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, was celebrated for his distinct investment approach and deep understanding of business dynamics. His commitment to long-term, principled investments is unparalleled.

“Poor Charlie’s Almanack” is more than a collection of speeches and talks; it’s a repository of timeless wisdom. Spanning various subjects, the book offers a glimpse into Munger’s profound insights on investing, decision-making, and life principles. It is structured into three illuminating sections, each uncovering a different facet of Munger’s philosophy.

The first section, “Mental Models,” explores Munger’s belief in the power of diverse knowledge. He advocates for learning from various disciplines to enhance decision-making skills. The second, “Worldly Wisdom,” emphasizes learning from history and adopting a multidisciplinary approach to solving complex problems. The final section, “Life Lessons,” reflects on the importance of integrity and moral values in personal and professional life.

The book’s tone is both engaging and academic, striking a perfect balance that makes complex concepts accessible. Munger’s wit and wisdom are palpable on every page, making this book an intellectual journey and enjoyable read.

“Poor Charlie’s Almanack” is a transformative work that doesn’t merely inform but profoundly changes how readers perceive the world and make decisions. And a true embodiment of Munger’s enduring legacy when it comes to navigating the complexities of the modern world.



Martin Suter

According to one of Switzerland’s leading newspapers, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, “Melody” by Martin Suter is an entertainingly written, easy-to-read novel with an explicit cast of characters, a few voltes and pirouettes in the text, served up with a good dose of humour. Others praise it as a masterful narrative that weaves a complex tale of love, loss, and the elusive nature of truth.

With his background as a keen observer of the nation’s financial capital’s societal dynamics, Martin Suter brings a depth of understanding to his portrayal of former Swiss National Councillor Dr. Stotz, the enigmatic protagonist of “Melody.”

This novel by the acclaimed Swiss author, known for his incisive columns in Weltwoche and Tages-Anzeiger, emerges as a poignant exploration of human memory and perception. The narrative is set against the backdrop of Stotz’s villa at Zürichberg, the epitome of Switzerland’s old-money residences. Adorned with portraits of his long-lost fiancée, Melody, the story is haunting and evocative. Suter’s transformation from a successful advertising creative director to a literary luminary is reflected in his nuanced storytelling.

At the heart of “Melody” lies the enigma surrounding Melody’s disappearance, which has cast a shadow over Dr. Stotz’s life for over 40 years. The arrival of Tom, a student employed to maintain order on the estate, triggers a journey into the complex web of memory and identity. Suter masterfully unfolds a narrative that challenges the reader’s perception of reality, as Tom’s investigations reveal more than just the secrets of Melody’s past.

Suter’s novel mirrors our times, highlighting the critical need to question and scrutinize our beliefs and the narratives we accept. In an age where misinformation is rampant, “Melody” reminds us of the power and fallibility of human memory and the stories we construct. Suter’s exploration of these themes makes the novel a compelling read and a relevant and insightful commentary on contemporary life.

In summary, Martin Suter’s “Melody” is an essential addition to contemporary literature, offering readers a profound and thought-provoking journey into the depths of memory and the mysteries of the human condition. It is a book that entertains and enlightens us, challenging us to look beyond the surface of our perceptions. One final suggestion: For the sake of family harmony, don’t bring it to the dinner table during year-end festivities. (German only) (German only)

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