hubraum Recommends: Our Top Inspiring Reads

It’s hard not to associate September with that back-to-school feeling: creativity and productivity is rife. But if you’re smart, you won’t just be looking to the world around you for inspiration, but to books, too.

If you’re doing autumn right, you’re probably cosying up on your sofa with a book. But one key detail is missing – what book are you taking?

Here at hubraum, we’ve been asking staff for the reads that are nourishing and inspiring them for the most exciting quarter of the year.



Recommends: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t by James C. Collins

What is it?

The book describes a framework of factors that are necessary to turn a “good” company into a “great” company based on empirical findings.


I really like how the author conveys the empirical findings along with short stories. While the background is of managerial nature, the values of development can be applied to a whole range of areas. Besides I found some findings like “Level-5-Leadership” surprisingly uncommon. Before I’d read this, hearing the quote “If you have more than three priorities, you have no priorities” made me want to get a copy for myself.


Head of hubraum

Recommends: Barbarians At The Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

What is it?

A non-fiction read penned by two investigative journalists about the largest and most dramatic corporate takeover in American history – the battle for the control of RJR Nabisco in 1988.


“Reading about business excites me, and this is a business thriller from 1988.  However, to me, even over 30 years later the world still seems to be lurking on the edge of financial extravagance and irresponsibility, so this book may be more topical than we might think.”


Social Media Manager

Recommends: Tobacco by Dimitar Dimov

What is it?

Tobacco – a classic in Bulgaria, where Aleksandra comes from – deals with the fates of a number of characters connected to a major tobacco factory. The book follows the clash between capital and labor, money and values, and how love comes into play.


“Topics like real and fake (or “imposter”) value are brought up, with a discussion of how some aspects of life signal value but are not in themselves innately valuable, and how misery will result if you pursue the appearance of value (at least according to the book’s take on things). My personal takeaway from “Tobacco” is simple: the human soul is eternally seeking love and happiness. I recommend this novel to anyone still wondering what really matters to them in life!”



Recommends: The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking

What is it?

Hawking takes us to the cutting edge of theoretical physics, where truth is often stranger than fiction, to explain in laymen’s terms the principles that control our universe. Like many in the community of theoretical physicists, Professor Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science — the elusive Theory of Everything that lies at the heart of the cosmos.


The Universe in a Nutshell is essential reading for all of us who want to understand the universe which we live in.”


Managing Director of the hubraum Fund

Recommends: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX by Eric Berger

What is it?

The dramatic inside story of the first four historic flights that launched SpaceX and Elon Musk from being a shaky startup into the world’s leading edge rocket company.


“Great insights into one of the greatest technological successes of our time, happening right in front of our (virtual) eyes. Elon Musk’s engineering philosophy which worked so well for Tesla, with an extreme attention to detail and no shame about failure as an important iterative step, is something every business creator can learn from.”


Project manager

Recommends: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

What is it?

In this mystery novel by Man Booker International Prize-winner Olga Tokarczuk, an aging woman in a rural Polish village starts to investigate a series of murders of local hunters.


“For me, it is a story about empathy towards nature and understanding that we are part of it, and not a ruler, as it seems to some. Justice, which I do not always find in the human-nature clash, plays a major role in this story. It is a bit magical and a bit scary. Two elements that make it hard to put down before it’s finished!”


Marketing and Communication Manager

Recommends: The Big Five for Life by John Strelecky

What is it?

This bestseller has sold over one million copies and spent an astounding two hundred and fourteen weeks as the #1 Bestselling Personal Development and Leadership book in Europe. It explains how important leadership is and how significantly employer satisfaction influences success and profit.


“It really showed me that life is not worth wasting. Work is an essential part of our lives, since we spend so many hours of each day at work. Having fun and a purpose at work and being passionate about it does not just make you happy, it is also very important for everyone: happy employees make customers happy, happy customers make a company successful.”


Innovation Transfer Manager & Agile Coach

Recommends: Qualityland: Visit Tomorrow, Today! by Marc Uwe Kling

What is it?

Set in the near future sci-fi world of Qualityland, this novel explores a society where algorithms help create an idyllic life for its citizens. QualityLand is the world’s first 2.0 country, where everything is run by infallible algorithm, including:

– Society (in which everyone is ranked by level)

– Shopping (orders arrive before you even know you want them)

– Relationships (you will be notified instantly if there is a better match)


“I really like the book’s occasionally absurd sense of humor and the twists involved in tracing an idea to its very consequences. And at the same time this dystopia makes me think about the future and what has to be done today to shape it.”



Recommends: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

What is it?

This is psychological thriller spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list and sold in a record-breaking 49 countries. It is about a woman who shot her husband and ends up in a secure psychiatric ward and – as the title of the book implies! – goes silent, seemingly due to post-traumatic stress. Her story is mainly told from the point of view of her therapist, who must desperately try to get her talking.


“I actually bought this book for my mum but borrowed it from her once she finished it (which happened pretty quickly, so I knew it must be good). I like it as it has quite a big plot twist! I’m inspired by the creativity of the author, who takes a traditional genre – murder mystery – and reinvents it by adding in a psychological element.”


Program Manager Incubations

Recommends: Homo Faber by Max Frisch

What is it?

A traditional and philosophical novel which was published in 1957 and written by Max Frisch. Homo Faber revolves around the life of a technologist and engineer named Walter Faber, who works with UNESCO in New York.


“For me, reading Homo Faber by Max Frisch opened my eyes to the theme of understanding and negotiating a path between emotions and rational thinking, balancing between the person you are and what life can be as a vision. Not a light read but meaningful.”

Want more great cultural recommendations from hubraum? Check out the three books Berlin startup leaders suggested to us to boost your creativity.

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