The Author: Rainer Zitelmann
Rainer Zitelmann is a historian, political scientist and sociologist – as well as being a successful entrepreneur and investor.
Rainer Zitelmann – Born to write
Rainer Zitelmann’s grandfather was Professor Lothar Hock, who made a name for himself with a series of scientific publications, especially in the field of rubber research. Zitelmann’s father is the well-known author Arnulf Zitelmann, an award-winning writer whose numerous books have been translated into many languages worldwide. Rainer Zitelmann was born on 14 June 1957 in Frankfurt am Main. His interest in politics developed at an early age. At first, he was an enthusiastic leftist and, at the age of 13, founded a political group, Rote Zelle (Red Cell), at his school and published the newspaper Rotes Banner (Red Banner).
Zitelmann the Historian
Like many young people, Zitelmann’s political views changed while he was at university. He studied history and political science in Darmstadt and graduated “with high distinction.” In 1986, under the internationally renowned historian Professor K.O. Freiherr von Aretin, Zitelmann was awarded his doctorate for his dissertation on Hitler’s economic and socio-political philosophy with the grade “summa cum laude.” In his doctoral dissertation, Zitelmann proved that social revolutionary and anti-capitalist motives played a far greater role in Hitler’s world view than had previously been assumed. His doctoral dissertation attracted a great deal of international attention and was overwhelmingly very positively received. It was published as a book under the title Hitler's National Socialism. From 1987 to 1992, Zitelmann was a research assistant under Professor Jürgen W. Falter at the Social Science Research Center at the Free University of Berlin. During this time, he continued to write and publish books on history and academic anthologies (The Nazi Elite).
Rainer Zitelmann the Editor-in-Chief and Section Head at Die Welt
From 1992 to 2000, Rainer Zitelmann held management positions at Axel Springer Verlag, Europe’s largest newspaper publisher. Initially, he served as editor-in-chief of the publishing houses Ullstein and Propyläen (at the time, the third-largest German book publishing group) and later as head of the contemporary history section at the major daily newspaper Die Welt. Finally, he established and headed Die Welt’s real estate section, the first daily real estate page in any major European newspaper.
Zitelmann the Entrepreneur and Investor
In 2000, Zitelmann founded Dr. ZitelmannPB.GmbH, a public relations consultancy that he quickly established as by far the leading positioning and communication consultancy in the German real estate industry. His clients included a host of industry-leading real estate companies, such as the real estate subsidiaries of Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank, the German-American company Jamestown and Ernst & Young Real Estate. As an investor, Zitelmann has been investing in the Berlin real estate market since the early 2000s. At a time when most real estate fund companies were primarily focusing on the office investment market, Zitelmann concentrated on the Berlin residential market. He was very successful with this contrarian investment strategy and became wealthy himself. However, his interests evolved and he wrote his second doctoral dissertation while working as an entrepreneur. He sold his communications consultancy company to his closest colleague in an MBO. The company is still the market leader for communications consulting for real estate companies in Germany under its new name, PB3C.
Rainer Zitelmann, the Wealth Researcher
Zitelmann’s second doctoral dissertation was supervised by Professor Wolfgang Lauterbach at the University of Potsdam and is the first empirical study of the psychology and personality traits of the superrich. For his qualitative social sciences study, Zitelmann interviewed 45 entrepreneurs and investors, most of whom had a net worth of between €30 million and €1 billion. The resulting dissertation was published as a book in English under the title The Wealth Elite. The book garnered international acclaim and was also published in Germany, South Korea and the People’s Republic of China. The Financial Times wrote: “Rainer Zitelmann’s study of the psychology of the superrich is an ambitious project. Few could be better qualified for it than Dr. Zitelmann – an historian, sociologist, journalist, businessman and investor. There has been no comparable study and it is a compelling read for all who need to understand the characteristics and motivations of rich entrepreneurs. These people drive economic growth, back innovation, create jobs and finance philanthropic projects. So why has such a study never been attempted before? It is hard to access these people and design questionnaires that generate a meaningful response.”
Rainer Zitelmann, the Author
After selling his company, Zitelmann again devoted himself predominantly to his scientific and journalistic endeavors. He wrote more books, including The Power of Capitalism and continued the theme in articles, including a major piece for a leading English-language newspaper (view PDF).
Zitelmann is also a sought-after international guest speaker on wealth research topics in Europe, Asia, and the United States and has taken part in numerous international conferences (view on YouTube).
Zitelmann is a renowned author and speaker, and enjoys a particularly high profile in in China (view on YouTube) and South Korea (view on YouTube).
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