Inspiration

7 Books for a Better World | Inspiration from the vostel.de Team

title in front of book shelf

In 2020, more than 21 million people in Germany picked up a book every day or at least several times a week. Fiction accounts for the largest share with 31.9% of the books read, followed by children’s and young people’s books (17.6%) and guidebooks (14%).

In this article, we would like to introduce you to another category: Books for a better world. We asked around in the vostel.de team and broke down the multitude of literary masterpieces into 7 absolute recommendations. Most of them are only available in German but are mostly easy to understand with medium German skills.

We wish you lots of reading pleasure and one or the other book will certainly make a great (Christmas) present!


1 I WILLIAM MACASKILL – DOING GOOD BETTER

book: doing good better

Should I host a refugee in my home? Does it make sense to donate after natural disasters? Is it better to sponsor a child from Ethiopia or a child from Germany? Am I helping those affected, or am I just soothing my conscience?
MacAskill shows why well meant and well done are two different things and how we can best achieve change. His book is a concrete handout for all those who want to do good even better.


2 I CAROLINE CRIADO PEREZ – INVISIBLE WOMEN

book: Invisible Women

Our world is made by men for men and tends to ignore half the population. Caroline Criado-Perez explains how this system works. She exposes the gender gap in the collection of scientific data. The resulting knowledge gap underlies the continuous and systematic discrimination against women, creating an invisible bias that has a profound impact on women’s lives. Powerful and provocative, Criado-Perez argues for a change in this system and makes us see the world with new eyes.


3 I MAJA GÖPEL – UNSERE WELT NEU DENKEN

Das Buch: Unsere Welt neu denken

(ONLY IN GERMAN)

The approaching climate chaos, the increasing conflicts between rich and poor and the polarisation of our societies clearly show: carrying on as before is not an option. The prosperity model of the West is exacting its price. Maja Göpel illustrates which barriers to thinking we should remove in order to deal more wisely with natural resources, human labour and the mechanisms of the market in the future – beyond prohibition regimes and growth mania.


4 I RAUL KRAUTHAUSEN – WIE KANN ICH WAS BEWEGEN?

Das Buch "Wie kann ich was bewegen?"

(ONLY IN GERMAN)

More and more people want to get involved in societal, social or ecological goals. But how do you really make a difference? There are many encouraging examples of this, which become clear in the authors’ conversations with Germany’s best-known activists. Luisa Neubauer (Fridays for Future), Carola Rackete (sea rescuer and conservationist), Philipp Ruch (Centre for Political Beauty) and many others talk about their work, their experiences, their fears and defeats, but above all about why activism is enriching – for society and for one’s own life.


5 I ALICE HASTERS – WAS WEIßE MENSCHEN NICHT ÜBER RASSISMUS HÖREN WOLLEN ABER WISSEN SOLLTEN

Das Buch: "Was weiße Menschen nicht über Rassismus hören wollen aber wissen sollten"

(ONLY IN GERMAN)

“Can I touch your hair?”, “Can you get sunburnt?”, “Where are you from?”. People who ask such questions usually don’t mean any harm. But still: they are racist. White people often don’t want to hear why.
Alice Hasters explains it anyway. She describes urgently and patiently how racism shapes her everyday life as a black woman in Germany. It becomes clear that racism is not only a problem on the right-wing fringe of society. And confronting one’s own racism is painful at first, but the only way to overcome it.


6 I KÜBRA GÜNÜSAY – SPRACHE & SEIN

Das Buch: "Sprache und Sein"

(ONLY IN GERMAN)

This book follows a longing: for a language that does not reduce people to categories. For a way of speaking that allows them to exist in their many facets. For truly communal thinking in a polarising world. Kübra Gümüsay has long campaigned for equal rights and discourse at eye level. In her first book, she explores how language shapes our thinking and determines our politics. She shows how people become invisible as individuals when they are always seen as part of a group – and are only allowed to express themselves as such. But how can people really speak as people? And how can we all – in a time of increasingly harsh, hateful discourse – communicate with each other differently?


7 I LUISA NEUBAUER & BERND URLICH – NOCH HABEN WIR DIE WAHL

Das Buch "Noch haben wir die Wahl"

(ONLY IN GERMAN)

2021 is a year of caesuras. The Bundestag elections mark the end of the Merkel era after 16 years, and in a historic decision the Federal Constitutional Court strengthens the freedom rights of the younger generation. Ecology is finally at the centre of all future issues: economy, transport, nutrition, but also science, journalism and politics – elementary areas of society must be rethought. Major upheavals are on the horizon. Activist and deputy editor-in-chief, student and family man: Luisa Neubauer and Bernd Ulrich discuss the fateful questions of our days in an exciting, open and intelligent way. Because we still have a choice.


We hope you enjoy these books for a better world and that they open up a new perspective on the world. Because it is also up to us to help shape its future and make it more open, sustainable and inclusive.


Gruppenfoto des vostel-Teams

Your vostel.de team wishes you lots of fun reading these books for a better world!

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