Love San Francisco? So Does Johanna Lehmann (So Much That She Wrote a Book About It)

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Dream of starting a company in The City That Knows How?

By Betsy Mikel (Editor, Women 2.0)

If the American Dream were a city, San Francisco would be it.

When you have an idea for a company that you know can change the world, San Francisco is where you go.

Even if you have no money (and are living off a $5k loan), this is the place you come to because you can make that idea happen here and nowhere else.

The culture of San Francisco inspires, especially when you’re surrounded by so many other people who “get it.” This is just the right place to hustle your ass off, sink or swim, overcome failure and try, try again -- because pretty much everyone else is doing that, too.

When writer Johanna Lehmann moved to San Francisco, she felt the same energy and momentum that many entrepreneurs feel from the city. She was inspired to write “How to Love San Francisco — One Year in the City by the Bay.”

Originally written in German, it’s a unique cross between a fiction novel and a travel guide: The book is written from the perspective of an international traveler experiencing what it’s like to live in San Francisco. It’s part travel guide because readers can explore the city as the characters do and learn about the city.

Johanna Lehmann recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to bring the book to a wider, English-speaking audience. We chatted with her about what she loves so much about San Francisco, what her book is about and what she hopes to accomplish through her campaign.

Image: Book Cover for How to Love San FranciscoWomen 2.0: What’s “How To Love San Francisco” about?

Johanna Lehmann: This book is a marriage of a novel and a travel guide, like a Lonely Planet wrapped in a love story. It's a story set in San Francisco that follows Hanni, a girl crossing both oceans and cultures to live her dream of starting a company in The City That Knows How.

Women 2.0: Tell us a bit about what inspired you to write this book.

Johanna Lehmann: “How to Love San Francisco“ is a love letter to the city that allowed me to start dreaming. When I came to San Francisco some years ago, I found so much inspiration and such a supportive network of people.

Instantly I fell in love with the culture of trying out what you love, of thinking big and of San Francisco as a city itself: Its proximity to the waves of the bay, the views from its 42 hills, its international flair and its wonderful food culture.

In addition to that, I wanted to read more about San Francisco. On one hand I had the motivation to learn more about the city and what it offers. On the other hand I wanted to read more stories about other young women taking on the adventure of San Francisco: of doing what you love, finding someone to love and being where you love.

There wasn’t any book like this around. So I wrote it.

Women 2.0: What can readers get out of “How To Love Francisco”?

Johanna Lehmann: This book is written for everybody -- either local or a visitor -- who wishes to learn about the life, culture, and the ins and outs of San Francisco and be entertained with the story of Hanni.

Readers will discover some of the best that San Francisco has to offer along with the story of a modern young woman exploring the city and realizing her dreams. I wanted to give readers an experience similar to the Peter Mayle’s best-selling book  “A Year in Provence” and to depict everyday life in San Francisco as funny and appealing as Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City.”

Women 2.0: So what is the Indiegogo campaign for?

Johanna Lehmann: The book won already awards in both Germany and the U.S. and is the highest rated book in its category on Amazon Germany. so I know readers love it.

With the help of the Indiegogo campaign, I want to share experience of “How to Love San Francisco“ with the English-speaking world. Since my native language is German, the book is in German. I’m trying to raise money to translate it into English.

My German publisher doesn’t publish internationally. That's why we're offering a range of perks including temporarily discounted physical and digital copies of the book, plus a range of more personal experiences for helping out.

Women 2.0: Anything else you’d like to add?

Johanna Lehmann: Getting “How to Love San Francisco“ published in the English speaking market is a dream to us. In many ways it is similar to Hanni's story as she dreams of creating a startup. I want to thank every single one of you who have already pledged and to get us this far. We couldn't have done it without you!

Now we're aiming to raise 50 percent of funds by May 20th. It would mean the world to us if you’d become part of the “How to Love San Francisco” team!  

What about you? What do you love so much about San Francisco?


About the author: Betsy Mikel is the managing editor of Women 2.0 and runs the content consultancy Aveck. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a lifelong obsession with French language and culture. When she's not biking all over every city she visits to find its best taqueria, you can find Betsy on Twitter at @betsym.