Review 2017

A happy new 2018 to you!

2017 was an interesting year in the Book Sprints universe, mostly happy, sometimes sad. We’ll share a quick review of what we have been up to:


The terrible loss of free culture activist Bassel Safadi – in August we received the news that Bassel Safadi, imprisoned in 2013 in Syria and taken from prison in 2015, had been executed. Only a few months earlier, Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay and Barbara Rühling had presented Bassel’s case at re:publica, just one of many many activities of the #FreeBassel movement. Bassel had once been a participant of the Open Web Book Sprint in 2012. His disappearance from prison gave cause to the Cost of Freedom-Book Sprint in 2015. Since his death has been confirmed in August 2017, the movement continues to support Bassel’s wife, human rights lawyer Noura Ghazi, to demand Bassel Kartabil’s date of death and his remains. You can sign the #FreeBassel campaign letter here. A book with Noura’s poems written to Bassel is available here.

Book Sprints at conferences – In addition to the Cost of Freedom presentation at re:publica in May, we also talked about Documentation sprints – How to involve the community and get it done at the Linux Open Source Summit in Prague in October, and about Writing a book in 4 days at the HR expo Zukunft Personal in Cologne in September. The last talk was based on the Book Sprint with the German Akademie für Führungskräfte, who also published an article in their journal Advance.

New website launch – We launched a new website designed by our great Book Sprints’ designer Henrik van Leeuwen. It has a beautiful selection of our books and a nice overview of our Book Sprint methods and toolsets. You can browse through many photos, videos, our blog posts and a map with many of the far-flung locations we’ve been working in.

Check it out here:


In 2017, Book Sprints went back to the places where we have a strong foothold, Silicon Valley in California, for example, and also discovered new regions of the world. We sprinted books in Ghana, twice actually, as well as in South Africa, and  – new and quite exotic for us – the first three Book Sprints in German language (onetwo, and three)!

Another Book Sprint was quite special in terms of languages: we facilitated a bilingual Book Sprint with a book written and translated simultaneously in French and English. Quite tricky, but with two bilingual facilitators and an impressive group of experts it was done nethertheless. Then right after New Year’s we went back to the origins, home of our founder Adam Hyde, to New Zealand. We really cannot say we didn’t have stunning views while working hard!

The topics ranged from software manuals, to various books on how African communities can deal withclimate change, the effects of the extractive industries, and power projects. The transformation of businessand leadership was on the agenda several times. And academics reformed and described new ways to cooperate with community projects, how to communicate research, and how to handle interactions between humans and robotics. Really fascinating!


In 2017, we expanded the Book Sprints team with wonderful new colleagues: Agathe Baëz as an HTML book designer, Lennart Wolfert as an illustrator, and Frank Richarz as our German copy editor. 2018 is starting with new colleagues: Amy Grimmer as accountant and Karina Piersig as operations manager. Our dear and long-time team member, COO Katerina Michailidi left Book Sprints at the end of 2017, after many years of invaluable work. We wish her all the very best for her new adventures!

All the best,
Barbara & the Book Sprints Team

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