Have You Read The Books That Inspire Today’s Innovators?

Have You Read The Books That Inspire Today’s Innovators?

Back in January, we asked a few of our favourite thought leaders, digital influencers and friends of Spielfeld to recommend thought-provoking books that helped them to learn, grow and develop in their personal and professional lives. The result – a fantastic mix of Fiction and Non-Fiction covering topics from innovation all the way through to psychology and heartwarming children’s stories. 

Conny Lohmann, Co-founder, ASK HELMUT

“Abenteuer Freiheit: Ein Wegweiser für unsichere Zeiten” by Carlo Strenger

An exceptionally dense essay about democracy, liberalism, individual happiness and how we have to relearn that liberty is a lifelong adventure, that it is risky at times, but far more exciting than mass culture lets us think. Especially when things don’t always work out the way we think or hope, it’s a perfect read to keep everyone trying and taking risks.

Cindy Gallop, Founder, Make Love Not Porn

“The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World”

by Nilofer Merchant

“Perfect for anyone looking to make a change in their lives, because it’s a fantastic primer to unlocking what makes YOU special – your onlyness – and showing you how that can power you to choose a path that delivers an impact far greater than you may have thought.”

Ansgar Oberholz, Co-Founder & CEO, St. Oberholz

“The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” by Walter Benjamin

“Walter Benjamin’s text “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction“ was published 1936. I first read it when I was 16 and then again a few years ago. The second reading was mind-blowing. I realized that the principles and phenomenons that Benjamin was forecasting for art, can be applied to the change of work and innovation we are challenging today. If you’ll read the text from this perspective, you’ll be astonished how fresh and relevant it still is.”


Holger Weiss, Founder & CEO, German Autolabs

“Manja: The Story of Five Children” by Anna Gmeyner

“A great read, the book was written in 1938 and only published in 1984. The story of 5 children who are friends during the Nazi regime, although their parents have all very different backgrounds. The story is strong, but what impressed me most, is that it was written while IT happened. People knew what was happening. Too many said later, that they didn’t know – but it was obvious if such books were written.”


Miriam Wolhfarth, Founder & CEO, RatePay

“Start With Why” by Simon Sinek

“The book ‘Start With Why’ really helped me with getting started on my own business. Whilst it didn’t change my life. I would still recommend a look inside because it could change the way you look at things.”

Kevin Lee Executive director, VP Global Head of Design, Visa

“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein

This book is the heartbreaking story of a tree who loved a little boy so much so that the tree does anything unconditionally for him as a boy grows older. As I read this book twice or third times with my children, this book consistently offered me a clear example of the joy and the gift of giving while illustrating different ways others return for your giving whether that is time, money, knowledge, or affection. To the end, this book had an early impact on my design leadership development as it pertains highly relevant truth and key principle of leadership we demand from all leaders.

Check out more inspiring book recommendations by more friends of Spielfeld in the quick list below:


Moshe Vardi , Professor of Computer Science, Rice University

“Race Against Machine Accelerating Productivity” by E. Brynjolfsson, A. McAfee

Lisa Lang, CEO & Founder, ThePowerHouse Group

“Peaks and Valleys: Making Good And Bad Times Work For You–At Work”

by Spencer Johnson

Constanze Buchheim, Managing Director, i-potentials

“Nuts!: Southwest Airline’s Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success”

by Jackie & Kevin Freiberg

Tilo Bonow Founder & CEO, PIABO

“Buyology” by Martin Lindstrom 

Constantin Eis Co-founder & Global MD, Casper

“The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” by Malcolm Gladwell

Harald Neidhardt CEO & Curator, MLOVE

“The Inevitable” by Kevin Kelley

Andre Marseille Bajorat CEO, Figo

“The Hard Thing about Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz

Dario Galbiati Alborghetti Founder, Atlantic Food Labs

“Leonardo Da Vinci: The Biography” by Walker Isaacson

Anna Kaiser Founder, Tandemploy

“Der überflüssige Mensch” by Ilija Trojanow

Rebecca Roth Social Media Specialist, NASA Goddard

“Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Chance, &Thrivein Work and Life”

by Susan David, Ph.D.,


Clemens Riedl, Serial Entrepreneur

“The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck

Charles Edouard Bouee CEO Roland Berger

“Flying without a net: Turn Fear of Change into Fuel for Success”

by Thomas J. DeLong

Björn Bloching Global Head Roland Berger Digital & Co-Founder Spielfeld Digital Hub

“A Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela

Tobias Rappers Managing Director, Spielfeld Digital Hub:

“Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” by Yuval Noah Harari

Something missing from the list? We want to hear your suggestions, simply leave a comment below with the title and why it’s your pick of the crop!