Chapter 14: "The Migros Adventure"

Alfred A. Häsler: Das Abenteuer Migros: die 60 Jahre junge Idee. (Zürich : MGB, 1985).

published December 2018

The favorite book of Lina Kuhn

Lina Kuhn worked for a number of years as a student assistant at the GF Corporate Archives. Her link with the Iron Library? At her work place she was always surrounded by books from the library. The Iron Library focuses not only on technical literature, an important collection focus is industrial and corporate history – and that's where Lina Kuhn found her favorite book "Das Abenteuer Migros" (The Migros adventure).

The reader

Lina Kuhn

... is a student at the University of Zurich and has at various times worked in the Georg Fischer Corporate Archive as a student assistant. She is studying Spanish and political science and, as part of her Spanish studies, is currently spending a year in Malaga.

I would love to play a role in this book:
Méndez, Alberto: Girasoles ciegos (2004)

This book needs a sequel:
Galouye, Daniel F.: Simulacron-3 (1964)

The book on my nightstand:
Harari, Yuval Noah: Homo Deus (2017)

The book

Alfred A. Häsler: Das Abenteuer Migros: die 60 Jahre junge Idee. (Zürich : MGB, 1985).

During the time I worked at the Iron Library, I was mainly employed in the GF Corporate Archives, so I had little chance to see the treasures of the Library itself. Indirectly, though, the connection was always close since at my workplace I was usually surrounded by the Library's books: from beautiful old encyclopedias to new publications in all sorts of languages.

Although the Iron Library's focus is not only the history of technology, but also industrial and bussiness history, it was more or less by chance, when looking for my favorite book, that I came across a volume that is more about corporate history than technology: "The Migros Adventure", which is the story of Gottlieb Duttweiler, written by the well-known Swiss journalist and author Alfred A. Häsler (1921-2009). For me and for everybody in Switzerland, Migros is everywhere you look, so I chose this book to find out more about the company. So you see: even if you're not especially interested in technology, it's worth your while to have a look at the Iron Library.

My favorite book describes the life of Gottlieb Duttweiler (1888-1962) and the birth and growth of his life's work, Migros, from its beginnings in 1925 to becoming Switzerland's largest retailer. It was the figure of Gottlieb Duttweiler that fascinated me most. He was very energetic, ambitious, and creative, and he combined these characteristics with a vision that seems to me to be almost non-existent or impossible in present-day society. He merged the two streams of socialism and capitalism to create what he called "social capital" and combined them, as the book says, with a love for his country. I was particularly impressed by the quote on page 16, which, in my opinion, is usually implemented nowadays the wrong way round: "Whenever I found joy, I was successful."