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International Bestsellers

What's being read around the world

February 7, 2002

These lists of bestselling nonfiction from around the world highlight new global and regional concerns. History and self-help continue to dominate the shelves. And from Germany to India, everybody wants to know "Who moved my cheese?"

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1. The Universe in a Nutshell, by Stephen Hawking (Hoffmann & Campe)

The very latest in theoretical physics, complete with illustrations and Star Trek metaphors. Readers are invited to understand more of the cosmos and to share Hawking's wonder about such topics as the nature of time and space.

2. THE PATH TO INNOCENCE, by Florian Illies (Argon)

The author of last year's bestseller "Generation Golf" explores the origins of the modern guilty conscience through 23 scenarios ranging in tone from adolescent humor to biting satire. Includes proposals for escaping the cycle of guilt.

3. After Afghanistan, God can only Cry, by Siba Shakib (Bertelsmann)

The author, an Iranian film director, met Shirin-Gol in a United Nations refugee camp in Afghanistan. That encounter led to this book, which gives eyewitness immediacy to the stark challenges Afghan women face.

4. Who moved my cheese? by Spencer Johnson (Ariston)

Using a children's book style, Johnson tells the parable of two mice, two mini-men, and their never-ending search for cheese. A quick read of simple ideas about what really matters during a busy day.

5. The Chancellor lives in the Swimming Pool: How Politics Happen, by D. Schroeder-Koepf and I. Broderson (Campus)

This collection of essays by noted figures in German society attempts to make the German political system understandable and engaging to children and young adults.

6. The Manns, by Heinrich Breloer and Horst Koenigsstein (Fischer)

An introduction to writer Thomas Mann and his family, including photos from the television documentary of the same name. The complex story of this family, so illustrious in the world of German literature, is the context for reflections on 20th-century history.

7. The Great Escape: Destiny of the Displaced, by Guido Knopp (Econ)

Toward the end of World War II, millions of Eastern Europeans of German descent fled their homelands, spurred on by fear of the Russians as portrayed by the Nazi propaganda machine. An account of an often-neglected aspect of the war.

8. African Dirge, by Peter Scholl-Latour (Bertelsmann)

An appraisal of the current state of Africa, from a journalist of 30 years' experience. Whether he's writing about Angola, Nigeria, or the Ivory Coast, he tells the same discouraging tale of war, hunger, and instability.

9. The War of the Century, by Guido Knopp (Econ)

The author of numerous respected histories, including "Hitler's Henchmen," presents a brief history of World War II.

10. Education: What You Need to Know, by Dietrich Schwanitz (Eichborn)

Do you count Don Quixote, Hamlet, Faust, Freud, and Dr. Jekyll among your close acquaintances? The author tells why you should, and then summarizes the most important concepts in Western thought. Includes a list of "books that changed the world."


1. The Road Of Tears, by Jorge Bucay (Sudamericana)

How to leave experiences behind, accept losses, and mourn. This is the third book in a series about self-discovery by a popular psychotherapist.

2. The Atrocious Charm Of Being Argentine, by Marcos Aguinis (Planeta)

Aguinis suggests that being Argentinian means accepting an identity at once laden with pride and suffering. After three years of recession and economic crisis, he argues, Argentines need to understand their contradictory feelings about their home.

3. Juan Manuel de Rosas by Pacho O'Donnell (Planeta)

Portrait of an Argentinian dictator (1835-1852) who was not only violent and ruthless, but who lived at a time when massacres and persecutions were the norm.

4. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson (Del Futuro Distribuciones)