Monday, October 19, 2015


Andreas passed away in New York City Tuesday morning, October 6, at 7:12 a.m. from a heart attack.

The last contact with my son I had on Monday, 5th of October at 7:53 p.m. New York time. A query that I had sent him on Facebook he answered by a single line in German: Papa, 6 von 8.

Me, an old man on Facebook? It was the best way to follow my son on his world-wide travel, to admire his photos, and read his economic views and articles.

Last photo of his kind of city taken by Andreas on October 1, 2015
In fact, earlier that very evening I had found an entry on Facebook giving a list of 8 essential books that Neil deGrasse Tyson, the well-known American astrophysicist, thinks everyone should read. So when I asked Andreas: How many have you read, son, he answered: 6 out of 8. His father had only read 3 of those 8.

It was always like this. Andreas was not my alter ego but my melior ego. My weekends together with him in New York were great moments in my life when he showed me parts of the city I didn't know, when we went to jazz clubs and when we had those long discussions.

Once in a while Andreas visited Elisabeth and me in Freiburg. On his last too short a visit this summer I showed him a catalogue about a cultural tour of Greece I was planning for 2016. Imagine my joy when he spontaneously said: Papa, da w├╝rd' ich gern mitkommen (I would love to join you). And then he turned to me showing his priceless sly smile saying: But in Greece we shall speak French.

We all lost an exceptional person, we parents a unique son, his wife a gentle, generous husband, and his sister an admired brother.

Here comes the list of eight books that Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks everyone should read and his reasons why. The recommendations are from a 2011 Reddit Ask-Me-Anything.

"The Bible": “To learn that it's easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself."

"The System of the World" by Isaac Newton: “To learn that the universe is a knowable place.”

"On the Origins of Species" by Charles Darwin: “To learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth.”

"Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift: “To learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos.”

"The Age of Reason" by Thomas Paine: “To learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world.”

"The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith: “To learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself.”

"The Art of War" by Sun Tzu: “To learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art.”

"The Prince" by Niccolo Machiavelli: “To learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it.”

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