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44 Minutes with James Breiding, author of “Swiss Made”

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If you want to know the secret behind Switzerland’s success, you might just find it in a book entitled “Swiss Made.”

The book enlightens readers about how this tiny, beautiful country with few natural resources remains to be a fast growing economy. On a recent morning, I sat down with James Breiding at Café Sprüngli, to learn more. The author of Swiss Made is also the founder of Naissance Capital, a Zürich investment firm, and a financial journalist for the “Economist” and the “Wall Street Journal.”

“Switzerland is a success story,” James Breiding tells me while sipping on a hot cappuccino. “It is a highly prosperous society that is also more resilient to external shocks than its neighbors.” Further, Swiss people value entrepreneurial qualities.

This is why Switzerland has produced so many remarkable innovations, ideas and products. There is little competition on an individual level, but rather an innovative and inventive society that strives to develop new ideas.

Mr. Breiding suggests, to a large degree, that the Swiss success story is due to sound entrepreneurial thinking and an inherent openness to new ideas.

It is true that those outside of Switzerland often associate banks or chocolate with this country. But this is all wrong: Switzerland is not about one product, but rather about how different kinds of innovation are linked.

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Mr Breiding highlights how diverse the areas of Swiss innovation really are: From textiles to food and tourism, engineering, medical technology, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. From trading and insurance to architecture or banking, construction and watches. Geography helps in the creation of specialization areas – as well as the crucial quality of openness.

Consider the many iconic Swiss brands that started as family businesses run by immigrants: Heinrich (later Henri) Nestlé was born in Frankfurt am Main in Germany, and Julius Maggi was the son of Italian immigrants.

“Swiss Made” is a must read book for 2017. In my opinion, it is perfect for those readers who are eager to see behind the cuckoo clock stereotype. After reading it, you will understand better how a country smaller than its neighbors can still boast a rock solid economy after many crises.

Buy “Swiss Made” on Amazon or at the Orell Füssli bookshop.


James Cole is a traveling banker, business man and hipster at heart. He never gets tired of traveling and meeting new people. When this Asian food addict is not roller skating, you might find him doing yoga.

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