Well worth reading business books

Update on our terms of use and our privacy policy

"The factory is the heart." This saying runs like a red thread through the life of the Langbeins. Eva, who grew up in the factory of her grandparents in the former world toy city of Sonneberg, has taken this motto to heart from an early age. She puts the plush toys and dolls from the Langbein toy factory through their paces and later even turns her passion into her job by becoming a toy tester. After the factory goes under after the fall of the Wall and the bereaved fight over the inheritance, nothing seems to be left of the former long-legged tradition. Only in the old family house that is now to be rented has nothing changed. When the now 52-year-old Eva clears the house with her cousin Jan and her cousin Iris, the three not only return to their happy childhood, but also discover many objects and documents, thanks to which they get closer to the family history and unknown family secrets ventilate. An important find leads them to make a far-reaching decision: They want to get the heart of the former toy factory beating again.

“Where We Were Children” is Kati Naumann's most personal novel. In it she works on her own family history. In Sonneberg, which is known for its long tradition of making toys, her great-grandparents ran the Scherf doll factory. In the novel, the Scherf dolls became the Langbein dolls, which are manufactured by the Langbein family initially at home and then in modern production facilities. The author lets us take part in family history and doll making in two storylines. From 1910 to 1978 we experience the development of doll production, which begins with the married couple Albert and Mine and their four children and ends with the youngest son Otto and his wife Flora, along with their children and grandchildren. The narrative thread that plays in the present is denied by these three grandchildren: Eva, Jan and Iris - all three were born in 1966. They are the heirs of the toy factory that perished after reunification and of which apparently only a few dolls - scattered all over the world - are left. But when an old pusher shape for a long-legged doll's head appears, you are in possession of an important element with which a revival of the old tradition becomes conceivable.

While reading “Where we were children” you can see how much work, love and research Kati Nauman has put into her latest novel. As the author reports in an interview, she did a lot of archive work, studied economic reports and specialist books, interviewed former contemporary witnesses and toy manufacturers, and incorporated her own memories and the stories of her family members, especially her grandmother, into the story. Kati Naumann was also able to fall back on a large family treasure trove of documents, letters, photos, business books and objects from the time. During the time of work, the author lived again in Sonneberg, the city of her childhood. The result is a touching novel, an exciting story and - last but not least - an important contemporary document. A work that was written with a lot of love and passion, which can be felt on every page and which is worth reading!

“The factory is the heart,” explained Albert. "Maybe I am the head and you are the hands, but the factory is the heart that keeps us all alive."