Nonfiction: He Built Roads. He Oversaw Mines. He Shrank the Deficit. He Was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. NY Times Book Reviews - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 5:00am As Rüdiger Safranski’s “Goethe: Life as a Work of Art” reveals, when the prolific writer wasn’t producing manuscripts, he was applying his talents to the municipal good.