I tend to be skeptical about guidebooks, which are often written by people who haven’t set foot in the places they’re describing because of a shoestring budget. There are honorable exceptions, however. The Bradt Guides are published by a small British company and distributed in the United States by the Globe Pequot Press. One of the best in the series is “Switzerland Without a Car.” Switzerland has one of the most efficient and scenic rail systems in the world, and it really is possible to travel the country without driving. This book is not only packed with useful information about the Swiss rail network, but also contains a host of insightful touring suggestions and is written in a companionable tone.
The remarkable prosperity of Switzerland earns the world’s envy and fascination. Certainly, this small, mountainous, landlocked, resource-poor country was not destined by nature for automatic success. In his fascinating book, R. James Breiding, founder of Naissance Capital, a Zurich-based investment firm, and a former correspondent for The Economist on Swiss issues, examines the so-called Swiss sonderfall, or “special case,” and offers some thought-provoking reasons for its durability.