Book Lists

USA or Germany? 6 Biographies of Germans Who Defected and Changed Business in America


The United States and Germany played each other this afternoon in Recife, Brazil. The United States team, led by German coach Jurgen Klinsmann, consists of five German-Americans: Fabian Johnson, Timmy Chandler, John Brooks, Jermaine Jones, and Julian Green. Thanks Germany!

Of course, the United States has been welcoming Germans long before the 2014 World Cup. We’ve curated six biographies of eminent Germans who immigrated to the United States.  

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Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War

1Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War by Michael Neufeld

After helping Germany develop rocket technology in World War II, von Braun came to the United States and joined NASA. He was the chief architect of the Saturn V.

Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography

2Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography by Franz Schulze & Edward Windhorst

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a pioneer of modern architecture, became the director of the famous Bauhaus in 1930. Pressure from the Nazi forced van der Rohe to emigrate to Chicago in 1937.

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

3Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters

Thiel is a legend in the Silicon Valley crowd. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of Paypal and was an early backer of Facebook. He was born to German parents in West Germany and came to the United States as a toddler. This book goes on sale on September, 16.


4Einstein by Walter Isaacson

In 1933, Einstein remarked, "Because of Hitler, I don't dare step on German soil."

Kissinger: A Biography

5Kissinger: A Biography by Walter Isaacson

Kissinger was born in Kurth, Bavaria, in 1923. He fled Nazi persecution in 1938 and became a US citizen in 1943. He was the 56th United States Secretary of State.

Videogames: In the Beginning

6Videogames: In the Beginning by Ralph Baer

The least known of the group. Baer is considered the father of the modern gaming console. He won the National Medal of Technology in 2006. His family escaped Germany in the late 1930s.