What did you want to be when you grew up and why did the plan – in sticking to the topic at hand – get frozen?
I didn’t want to be anything. Certainly not the classic fireman, because I come from a sort of fire brigade dynasty. Of course it was technically fascinating, but I saw through watching my father and my uncle, among others, that the working rhythm, the getting up early and the on-call duty weren’t for me. I learnt to read very early on, and I identified with Heinrich Böll, who at some point said: “something with books”. In the end, that somehow turned out to be true, because I’m always working on books, even if it’s mostly reference books. And fortunately, there’s never a day on which I can’t use a completely private nook for reading. I always read the works of Stefan Zweig and then mix it up with American modernists like Cormac McCarthy. Most of all, Shakespeare, in which I continue to find everything that moves us on the stage of life, even today.
What grounds you?
My whole private living environment. Evening conversations with my wife. She’s a social worker in the family support department of the German Red Cross, and she mostly deals with people who are struggling. On the other side, I work in a world of big businesses, of industry. When we come together in the evenings, we tune into each other. My wife knows then once again that the world isn’t just about poverty – and I know that problems in the consulting universe don’t concern everyone in the world. That helps to stay mentally in balance by all means.
What do you do on a surprise free day?
Such a thing does not exist for me. If, for example, a full-day appointment falls through, I then look to see how I can fill the gap. I call it Appointment Tetris. But I’m no workaholic, just very highly organised. I also agree with Leonardo, who once said: “noble minds are most productive when they don’t appear to be working at all.” For me, that means that I play sport above all. To be more precise: the kinds of sport for which I don’t really have much talent.