The Author: Rainer Zitelmann
Rainer Zitelmann doesn’t just write about success—he is very successful himself, and in many different fields: As a historian and sociologist; as a journalist; as a businessman; and as a real estate investor. Today, Zitelmann is a world-renowned author and publicist and has written and published 23 books. His talent for writing may be traced back to this father, Arnulf Zitelmann, who has also been a successful writer for decades, including books for children and young people as well as biographies. Rainer Zitelmann was born on June 14, 1957 in Frankfurt, West Germany. At the age of ten, he published his first school newspaper—he wrote the articles and booked the ads to finance the newspaper. As a teenager, Rainer Zitelmann was a Maoist, at the age of 13 he founded the Rote Zelle (Red Cell) at his school.
Rainer Zitelmann—The historian
Given his great interest in politics, it was natural for Zitelmann to study history and political science at the Technical University of Darmstadt from 1978 to 1983. He graduated “with high distinction.” Zitelmann then completed his doctorate under the internationally renowned historian Professor K.O. Freiherr von Aretin with the grade of “summa cum laude.” Zitelmann’s doctoral thesis, which was published in book form as Hitler's National Socialism, is still regarded today as the standard work on Hitler’s worldview and his social, economic and domestic political ideas. The book was reviewed and praised in the most important German and American trade journals. The Journal of Modern History wrote: “Zitelmann’s book constitutes a milestone in our understanding of Adolf Hitler.” (view PDF).
Germany’s prestigious Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte (Journal of Modern History) wrote: “Undoubtedly, Dr. Zitelmann deserves credit for substantially expanding upon, if not surpassing, the work of all other Hitler biographers.”
From 1987 to 1992, Zitelmann was a research assistant at the Social Science Research Center at the Free University of Berlin. During this time, he wrote further books on history and published academic anthologies.
Dr. Rainer Zitelmann—The publisher and journalist
In early 1992, Zitelmann was offered a leading position in the German publishing industry. On March 1, 1992, he became editor-in-chief of Ullstein-Propyläen-Verlag, then the third-largest book publishing group in Germany, where he offered conservative authors a home and founded the Ullstein Report series, which triggered controversial political discussions in Germany.
Axel-Springer AG owned 50 percent of Ullstein-Proypläen-Verlag at the time. Claus Jacobi, then one of the most famous journalists in Germany, heard about Zitelmann and offered him a position as head of the Intellectual Trends desk at the daily newspaper Die Welt. Subsequently, Zitelmann became head of the Die Welt Real Estate desk. In this role, Zitelmann quickly established himself as the leading real estate journalist in Germany.
Rainer Zitelmann—The PR entrepreneur and investor
During his time as a real estate journalist, Zitelmann recognized a gap in the market: At that time there was no PR agency focused exclusively on the real estate industry. Zitelmann saw this as an opportunity, resigned from Die Welt and founded Dr. ZitelmannPB.GmbH in October 2000. In just a few years, he established the company as Germany’s leading PR agency for consulting real estate and investment companies. He was able to win renowned clients—almost all of the real estate subsidiaries of Germany’s largest banks were clients, as were major listed real estate corporations, initiators of closed-end funds, developers and international brokerage companies. He invested the money he earned as an entrepreneur in the real estate market. As a contrarian investor, Zitelmann bought residential real estate in Berlin between 2000 and 2009, and sold almost all of his properties at the height of the boom between 2015 and 2019. Through his entrepreneurial activity and his investments, which brought him high, double-digit returns, Zitelmann became a multi-millionaire. In 2016, he sold the company to his closest associate via a management buyout. “One of my proudest achievements is that I have built a company that is still successful today, even after the sale,” says Rainer Zitelmann.
Dr. Dr. Zitelmann’s second PhD: The Wealth Elite: The Psychology of the Superrich
In 2015, Zitelmann decided to pursue his second PhD. He had always been interested in the question of why some people are much more successful than others. Zitelmann wrote his doctoral thesis in sociology at the University of Potsdam under the renowned wealth researcher Professor Wolfgang Lauterbach. Zitelmann’s doctoral thesis was published in English in 2018 as the book The Wealth Elite. Renowned American and British media, including Forbes, The Sunday Times and The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, published articles about the book. In October 2018, 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—a 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.”
Zitelmann—The internationally successful speaker and publicist
After the sale of his company, Zitelmann positioned himself internationally as an author, publicist and guest speaker. He gives talks in Europe, Asia and the United States. Zitelmann’s books and lectures are particularly successful in Asia. Every Monday he publishes an article in Forbes.com and in recent years he has written for media such as The Daily Telegraph and City AM (Great Britain), Neue Zürcher Zeitung and Weltwoche (Switzerland) and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Welt and Focus (Germany).
You can read more about Rainer Zitelmann here: http://www.rainer-zitelmann.com/
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