In this engaging, insightful, and inspiring narrative, Hermann Simon, the world-renowned management thinker, consultant, pricing expert, entrepreneur, and leading authority on the “hidden champions” business model, highlights the influences on his remarkable journey from humble origins on a German farm to advising and sharing the stage with global leaders in industry, academia, and politics.
Born in 1947 in the rural Eifel region of Western Germany, Simon’s coming of age parallels that of a country struggling to come to terms with the legacy of World War II and reinvent itself as a new world power. His colorful anecdotes of a youth spent in an agricultural community that in many ways operated as it had since the Middle Ages, reflect the establishment of core values, such as trust, focus, quality, and commitment that served as an anchor against the accelerating pace of technological, economic, political, social, and cultural change in the subsequent decades. Simon takes readers on a journey through time and space, as his―and our―world transformed from isolated to connected, local to global, revealing lessons learned from the extraordinary people (from Peter Drucker to Henry Kissinger) and places he has encountered along the way, through a career that has evolved from research and education to management consulting to leadership and strategy development on a broad scale. His particular interest in the Mittelstand, or “hidden champions,” the small and medium-sized companies that exemplify the German business philosophy and served as the engine of its economic revival, becomes a powerful metaphor of his own experiences in blazing new trails while staying true to one’s roots.
For anyone familiar with Simon’s work and contributions, Many Worlds, One Life reveals unique insights into the man himself and the origins of his ideas on successful leadership and business strategy. But more generally, readers in any field or discipline will recognize how their own stories reflect their ties to the past, their accomplishments in an increasingly complex environment, and, ultimately, their roads to the stars.