Sorkin, A. R. (2010), Too Big to Fail, New York: Penguin, p: 640
Isaacson, W. (2005), Kissinger - A Biographie, New York: Simon & Schuster, p: 896
Young, J. S. (2005), iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business, New York: Wiley, p: 368
Pamuk, O. (2003), Instanbul - Memories and the City, New York: Vintage, p: 368
Selincourt, A. (2003), Herodotus - The Histories, London: Penguin, p: 603
Selincourt, A. (1997), Livy - The War With Hannibal, Books XXI-XXX, London: Penguin, p: 676
McLynn, F. (1997), Napoleon - A Biography, New York: Arcade Publishing, p: 668
Fagles, R. (1998), Homer: The Odyssey, London: Penguin, p: 614
Fagles, R. (1996), Homer: The Iliad, London: Penguin, p: 485
The Peloponnesian war, Kagan, D. (2003), New York: Penguin Group, p: 494
Account of the great war between Sparta and Athens. Readable narrative but in many respects not detailed enough for my taste. However, probably still easier to read the Thucydides' classic history of the Peloponnesian War.
 
The world is flat, Friedman, T. L. (2005), New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, p: 473
Referred to by a friend, interesting read about globalization. It appears sometimes a bit too simplistic and shallow but in general a good analysis what is currently happening. The typical American spirit or "can-do naivety" shines through.
 
Warrior, Sharon, A. (2001), New York: Simon & Schuster, p: 556
Autobiography written by the controversial Israeli general and statesman. Provides interesting insights into this man's life and past. It makes his political actions more understandable but also clearly shows the mindset of a general rather than a politician. Further, an account of the broken Israeli political system.
 
Homo Faber, Frisch, M. (1957), Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, p: 203
Most Swiss-Germans read this book in high-school, somehow I couldn't remember if I did or did not, so I (re-)read it. Amusing story about a technically-oriented - deeply in a positivism rooted - person suddenly discovering his past. Self-revealing.
 
My Life, Clinton, W. J. (2004), New York: Alfred A. Knopf, p: 957
A bit too verbose for my taste but anyway enlightening autobiography written by the former U.S. president. Helps to understand Clinton's intellectual mindset, although sometimes quite hard to follow the 'who is who'. This guy seems to have an amazing memory for details.
 
Against all enemies: inside America's war on terror, Clarke, R. A. (2004), New York: Free Press, p: 304
I found the first part of the book quite interesting when Clark talks about what happened behind the curtains of the former U.S. administrations. The last part of the book talks about the often cited incidents and the questionable intentions of the Bush administration. Unfortunately, the book is littered with personal grievances and rather seem to achieve to settle a personal score than to be objective, even for a neutral observer.
 
Class: a guide through the American status system, Fussell, P. (1983), New York: Simon and Schuster, p: 202
Interesting account of the "non-existing" American class system. Even though this book is a little antiquated and many things may have changed since then, I found it very interesting and revealing and learned many things I didn't know. In particular I recommend this book to anyone who was not raised in the United States but has been living here for a while. May it be revealing to you too!
 
Colossus: the price of America's empire, Ferguson, N. (2004), New York: The Penguin Press, p: 384
Why is the United States different from other Empires in human history? Or is it an Empire at all? Ferguson tries to answer exactly this question and discusses several aspects of the "hyper-power" as the French use to say. Although, his perspective is mostly based on economics characteristics I find in particular the comparison to the former British Empire interesting and enlightening. However, in some parts it is lacking depth and appears intellectually unrefined. At the end the author takes position to the current events of the Iraq war.
 
Das heimliche Imperium, Stucki, L. (1968), Bern: Scherz, p: 351
Interesting historical review of the social and economical development of Swiss society. Although quiet antiquated it is a fascinating read and describes well many origins of companies in the textile, machine, finance and other industries. It reminds the reader that the affluence of Switzerland is heavily based on trade and has constantly evolved through many crisis and technological iterations. Switzerland could currently use some of the entrepreneurial spirit of the 18th and 19th century!
 
Devil take the hindmost, Chancellor, E. (1999), New York: Plume, p: 386
This book is about economic booms, busts, and downturns of the last couple of centuries. Do you think we recently lived through an especially hard downturn? Read this book and think again! I bought and partially read as well the book by Kindleberger (Maniacs, Panics, and Crashes) but found this one a bit easier to digest. Given that I am not particularly interested in the underlying economic theories but rather in a historical perspective it gave me good overview about the topic.
 
From Beirut to Jerusalem, Friedman, T. L. (1990), New York: Anchor Books, p: 588
A classic by the popular (at least in the U.S.) New York Times' journalist. I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed in the book in particular after hearing so many good things. However, I think Friedman achieves to describe very well the specific character of the Middle East probably due to his long experience living both in Beirut and Jerusalem. The "Hama-Rule" introduced in his book makes it worth reading it.
 
The generalship of Alexander the Great, Fuller, J. F. C. (1960), New Brunswick: Da Capo Press, p: 336
I did not much about Alexander the Great before except from history class. Fuller gives an interesting account of Alexander lives and focuses, as Fuller always does, on his military achievements. I can only recommend this book when you really are interested in ancient battles, tactics, and strategies. If you are and want to learn more about Alexander than that is the book for you!
 
Guns, germs, and steel, Diamond, J. (1999), New York: W. W. Norton and Company, p: 494
Wow! This is a great book that I can recommend anyone who is interested in why societies, countries, and continents have evolved as they have. Why are the rich nations affluent and the poor regions deprived? Have you ever found yourself asking this question? Read this book by Diamond and you will be amazed by the things you may have overlooked making your own conclusions. It describes hunter-gatherers and sedentary societies, it illustrates the domestication of plants and animals and its consequences on human society. By the way, the German title is "Arm und Reich" et en francais c'est: "De l'inegalite parmi les societes."
 
Internal bleeding: the truth behind America's terrifying epidemic of medical mistakes, Wachter, R. M. and Shojania, K. G. (2004), New York: Rugged Land, p: 441
A scary account about medical errors in the American health care system. This is of course not only a problem in U.S. hospitals but anywhere where a flock of different professionals try to achieve an endeavor under time pressure and tight resources. Among other cases the authors describe a failed heart-transplantation due to a incompatible blood-type. After I read this book exactly such a case happened at an Academic medical center in Switzerland (mix-up of universal donor and recipient types).
 
Julius Caesar: man, soldier, and tyrant, Fuller, J. F. C. (1965), New Brunswick: Da Capo Press, p: 336
Same style as the book about Alexander: Read it only if you are in particular interested in military operations.
 
Status Angst, De Botton, A. (2004), Frankfurt: S. Fischer, p: 332
Someone recommended this book at a company presentation in Switzerland. I thought it was quite an unusual subject and therefore read it. It is a good read about a topic that all of us concerns: how are we looked upon by other people and society. "Status anxiety" so the title of the original edition looks at it from many different aspects of life and also provides a historic review. Funny, interesting, and sometimes instructional, or did you know that the term "snob" was originally a short form for "sine nobilitate" for students at colleges in Oxford and Cambridge?
 
Sun Tzu: the art of war, Griffith, S. B. (1963), London: Oxford University Press, p: 197
This seems not necessarily to be the best translation and comment available but it is anyway worth reading. A few years ago I read "Vom Kriege" by Clausewitz and it is interesting to compare the paradigm of Sun Tzu, which is quite different, more pragmatic, and therefore also less strict. Also, it was written a long time before and apparently has not been well known by Clausewitz.
 
Vie sans suite, Barcelo, F. (1997), Editions Libre Expression, p: .
A French booklet, which I read to practice my French. The writing style of the Canadian author is quite easy to understand and I enjoyed reading it. However, the story itself is rather average and not really impressive.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chase Corporate Challenge 2011 (3.5mi), Chicago, IL 
3.5mi race, May 26th, 2011
Bib number: 7382, Rank: 408, Time: 22:05, Pace: 6:19/mile
 
Chicago Spring Half Marathon 2011 (10k), Chicago, IL 
10k race, May 15th, 2011
Bib number: 4225, Rank: 34, Time: 45:37, Pace: 7:21/mile
 
Ravenswood Run 2010, Chicago, IL 
5k race, April 25th, 2010
Bib number: 1717, Rank: 97, Time: 20:07, Pace: 6:29/mile
 
Chicago Spring Half Marathon 2009, Chicago, IL 
21k race along Lake Michigan, May 17th, 2009
Bib number: 1741, Rank: 93, Time: 01:34:14, Pace: 7:11/mile
 
Chicago Half Marathon 2007, Chicago, IL 
21k race on Lake Shore Drive, September 9th, 2007
Bib number: 9180, Rank: 333, Time: 01:35:48, Pace: 7:18/mile (4:32/km)
 
Bridge to Bridge 2005, San Francisco, CA 
12k race from the Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate, October 2nd, 2005
Bib number: 4265, Rank: 40, Time: 47:40, Pace: 6:20/mile (4:00/km)
 
Bay to Breakers 2005, San Francisco, CA 
12k race from the Embarcadero to Ocean Beach, May 15th, 2005
Bib number: 53829, Rank: 190, Time: 49:05, Pace: 6:30/mile (4:10/km)
 
California International Marathon 2004, Sacramento, CA 
42k race from Folsom to the State Capitol, December 5th, 2004
Bib number: 3128, Rank: 366, Time: 3:17:07, Pace: 7:31/mile
 
US Half Marathon 2004, San Francisco, CA 
21k race across the Golden Gate Bridge, October 17th, 2004
Bib number: 1595, Rank: 10, Time: 1:26:57, Pace: 6:39/mile (4:36/km)
 
Bay to Breakers 2004, San Francisco, CA 
12k race from the Embarcadero to Ocean Beach, May 16th, 2004
Bib number: 52663, Rank: 187, Time: 49:01, Pace: 6:30/mile (4:10/km)
 
5K Banana Man Chase, San Francisco, CA
5k race around the Panhandle, September 19th, 2004
No official number, Time: 18:20, Pace: 5:55/mile (3:40/km)
 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Fondue (Moitie-Moitie), 4 people
  • 600g half white bread
  • 300g Gruyere cheese (find at Trader Joe's)
  • 300g Vacherin cheese (find at Cheeseboard)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 300ml white wine
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • small glass of kirsch Schnaps
  • pepper, nutmeg
(1) Cut bread into approx. 1 inch wide cubes. Grate cheese. Pour Schnaps and cornstarch into glass and dilute.
(2) Rub out inside of Fondue pan with garlic and chop the cloves. Bring wine to boil and add cheese, melt and stir continuously. Add Schnaps/cornstarch until Fondue is homogeneous. Season with pepper and nutmeg.
(3) Serve and keep stirring in order to avoid burning.
Spaetzle
  • 400g wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 150 ml half milk and half water
  • Onions and cheese
(1) Mix flour, salt, eggs and water/milk to a dough, beat with wooden spoon until bubbles form. Leave dough to rise for about 30 minutes.
(2) Heat salted water in large pan, spread dough portions through a sieve or scrape into boiling water. As soon as they rise to the surface, remove them with skimming ladle and rinse with cold water.
(3) Put butter and cheese on top, heat again and serve.
Vanille-Gipfeli
  • 250g of flour
  • 200g of butter
  • 70g of powder sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • French vanilla sugar
  • 100g of grounded almonds
(1) Cut butter into little pieces and mix with flour until it gets crumbly
(2) Add all the rest and knead, cover the dough and put for 30 minutes into the refrigerator
(3) Shape into rolls with the thickness of a finger and cut into pieces of about an inch and form into croissants.
(4) Bake in preheated oven for 10 - 15 minutes on 200 degrees celcius.
(5) Sprinkle with powder sugar and vanilla sugar.
Zopf
  • 1 kg white flour
  • 1 cube of yeast cake
  • 80g of butter
  • 6 dl lukewarm milk
  • 1 1/4 tbsp of salt
  • 1 egg
  • sugar
(1) Shape a ring with the flour and disperse the salt on top.
(2) Mix yeast with little bit of lukewarm milk, sugar, and flour and let it rise in the middle of the ring for 15 minutes.
(3) Add lukewarm milk, butter, and egg and mix thoroughly with the flour, knead and beat the dough until it is homogenous and doesn't stick anymore. Add some milk or flour if necessary.
(4) Let the dough rise until it doubles in size.
(5) Weave the dough and brush with egg yolk. Let it rise for a couple more minutes.
(6) Preheat oven for 10 minutes, bake for 40 minutes with 220 degrees Celsius.