Happy birthday, Hermann Hesse!

I was a German language and literature major in college and went as far as my doctoral studies at University of Illinois before I took a ‘safer’ route. My plan was to become a world famous Hermann Hesse scholar and my dissertation would have explored the relationship between Hesse’s body of work and Hegel’s dialectic but alas. Here is his life in his own words:


I was born in Calw in the Black Forest on July 2, 1877. My father, a Baltic German, came from Estonia; my mother was the daughter of a Swabian and a French Swiss. My father’s father was a doctor, my mother’s father a missionary and Indologist. My father, too, had been a missionary in India for a short while, and my mother had spent several years of her youth in India and had done missionary work there.My childhood in Calw was interrupted by several years of living in Basle (1880-86). My family had been composed of different nationalities; to this was now added the experience of growing up among two different peoples, in two countries with their different dialects.

I spent most of my school years in boarding schools in Wuerttemberg and some time in the theological seminary of the monastery at Maulbronn. I was a good learner, good at Latin though only fair at Greek, but I was not a very manageable boy, and it was only with difficulty that I fitted into the framework of a pietist education that aimed at subduing and breaking the individual personality. From the age of twelve I wanted to be a poet, and since there was no normal or official road, I had a hard time deciding what to do after leaving school. I left the seminary and grammar school, became an apprentice to a mechanic, and at the age of nineteen I worked in book and antique shops in Tübingen and Basle. Late in 1899 a tiny volume of my poems appeared in print, followed by other small publications that remained equally unnoticed, until in 1904 the novel Peter Camenzind, written in Basle and set in Switzerland, had a quick success. I gave up selling books, married a woman from Basle, the mother of my sons, and moved to the country. At that time a rural life, far from the cities and civilization, was my aim. Since then I have always lived in the country, first, until 1912, in Gaienhofen on Lake Constance, later near Bern, and finally in Montagnola near Lugano, where I am still living.

Soon after I settled in Switzerland in 1912, the First World War broke out, and each year brought me more and more into conflict with German nationalism; ever since my first shy protests against mass suggestion and violence I have been exposed to continuous attacks and floods of abusive letters from Germany. The hatred of the official Germany, culminating under Hitler, was compensated for by the following I won among the young generation that thought in international and pacifist terms, by the friendship of Romain Rolland, which lasted until his death, as well as by the sympathy of men who thought like me even in countries as remote as India and Japan. In Germany I have been acknowledged again since the fall of Hitler, but my works, partly suppressed by the Nazis and partly destroyed by the war; have not yet been republished there.

In 1923, I resigned German and acquired Swiss citizenship. After the dissolution of my first marriage I lived alone for many years, then I married again. Faithful friends have put a house in Montagnola at my disposal.

Until 1914 I loved to travel; I often went to Italy and once spent a few months in India. Since then I have almost entirely abandoned travelling, and I have not been outside of Switzerland for over ten years.

I survived the years of the Hitler regime and the Second World War through the eleven years of work that I spent on the Glasperlenspiel (1943) [Magister Ludi], a novel in two volumes. Since the completion of that long book, an eye disease and increasing sicknesses of old age have prevented me from engaging in larger projects.

Of the Western philosophers, I have been influenced most by Plato, Spinoza, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche as well as the historian Jacob Burckhardt. But they did not influence me as much as Indian and, later, Chinese philosophy. I have always been on familiar and friendly terms with the fine arts, but my relationship to music has been more intimate and fruitful. It is found in most of my writings. My most characteristic books in my view are the poems (collected edition, Zürich, 1942), the stories Knulp (1915), Demian (1919), Siddhartha (1922), Der Steppenwolf (1927) [Steppenwolf], Narziss und Goldmund. (1930), Die Morgenlandfahrt (1932) [The Journey to the East], and Das Glasperlenspiel (1943) [Magister Ludi]. The volume Gedenkblätter (1937, enlarged ed. 1962) [Reminiscences] contains a good many autobiographical things. My essays on political topics have recently been published in Zürich under the title Krieg und Frieden (1946) [War and Peace].

I ask you, gentlemen, to be contented with this very sketchy outline; the state of my health does not permit me to be more comprehensive.” via nobelprize.org

Happy birthday, Hermann! You made a profound impact on my life through your body of work…

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Sadly, this reminds me of an experience I had at a Thai restaurant in Germany. My Thai friend asked if I liked spicy food and I said “Bring it! Don’t make it American hot — make it Thai hot.” I almost missed my plane the next morning… :-D

Very Demotivational – The Demotivational Posters Blog via EAT THAI FOOD THEY SAID.

EM 2012 in 3D: Gomez köpft Deutschland zum Sieg gegen Portugal

Historical logo of the DFB, (Deutscher Fussbal...

“Es war lange Zeit ein zähes Ringen zwischen der DFB-Elf und Portugal. Doch dann traf ausgerechnet der Mann, dessen Einsatz bis kurz vor Anpfiff noch nicht sicher war: Bayern-Stürmer Mario Gomez.” Video hier: EM 2012 in 3D: Gomez köpft Deutschland zum Sieg gegen Portugal – Nachrichten Sport – Fußball – EM 2012 – WELT ONLINE. [For those of you who didn’t study German, Germany won the European championship 1.0 yesterday…]

Don’t drink the negative Kool-Aid

doomandgloomTerri Cole posted this recently…

The onslaught of bad news in the media continues to fester. The climate of fear has reached epic proportions. We are inundated with bad news about our crumbling economy, the rising unemployment rate, executive greed, lack of affordable healthcare, etc. So the question is how can YOU stay positive and productive in a relentlessly negative climate and NOT drink the Armageddon Kool-Aid?

Well, as you may have guessed, I have a few ideas. Continue reading “Don’t drink the negative Kool-Aid”

Kein Drama

The dramatic masks of Thalia and Melpomene, th...
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Melody Beattie shares this this morning…

Actors in movies or on television often must exaggerate their feelings in order to create drama on the screen. If they are hurt, they cry with a special intensity. If afraid, they scream and cower in a corner or curl up on a sofa. They may grab a person trying to leave and beg for that person to stay. In rage, they may stomp around hollering in a dramatic storm.

We can learn to separate what we’re feeling from what we do. If we’re feeling fear, hurt, anger, or any other emotion, we need to experience the emotion until we become clear. Sometimes beating a pillow helps release our anger. But we don’t have to stomp around and slam doors. That’s letting our emotions control us.

You don’t have to revel in your emotions. And you can separate your behaviors what you do—from what you feel.

Stop being a twentieth-century drama queen. It isn’t necessary, anymore. We are more conscious than that now.

God, help me let go of the unnecessary drama in my life.

So what does ‘Kein Drama’ mean? My friend Michael in Germany is fond of saying that — Kein Drama — it means literally ‘no drama’ but it was his way of saying it’s no big deal…

When I say to myself or my family ‘Kein Drama’ it means something different. It means let’s put an end to this unnecessary emotion. I need to think more about the dramas in which I play a role and sometimes it’s ok to put down the script and say ‘I don’t like this role that you would like me to play’. I don’t have to meet all my wife’s expectations. I don’t have to live up to my in-laws expectations. I don’t have to live up to all of mine, either…

Melody’s post is a good reminder for me to put the drama aside and focus on the things that are really important; God, help me let go of the unnecessary drama in my life…

Begin It Now!!

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe at age 69, painted ...
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“That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has Genius, Power and Magic in it. Begin it now.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was one of the greatest writer’s and polymaths the world has seen. He hailed from Germany

picasa-logoThen join me in a free training session this morning at 10:00…

Recently I wrote about ‘rediscovering’ Picasa on my trip to Germany. I’m doing a free session for a couple of clients and friends and I’ll be opening up the remaining spaces to anyone that can join us. Here’s the login info…

1. Please join my meeting.

2. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.

Dial 712-338-7131
Access Code: 797-914-947
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 797-914-947

Online Meetings Made Easy™

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…but I have been bloody busy with the Agritechnica trade show in Hannover. I set up a social media dashboard in the menubar so you can track the work I’m doing with AGCO in Germany. So sorry, but with doing social media 12 hours a day, I just haven’t been able to maintain my normal editorial schedule for my business. Needless to say, there won’t be a ‘top tactics and tools’ post today — next Tuesday, I hope I’m recovered from jet lag enough to write on ‘tactics and tools’ #5 – Shareaholic!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Why? Mostly because it remains unencumbered by gift-giving or expectations of anything besides a good meal and a good time with family. We don’t have to travel anywhere or do anything except be thankful and be together!

This year, I’m most thankful for the people who will be sitting around my table [CJ and all me boyos] and the beautiful view I have when I step out my back door… [click on the photos to enlarge]

Business-wise, I’m grateful that for 8 days out of this year, this was the view from my hotel window! Every day in Germany is a gift from God…

It has been a great year for e1evation, llc and I’m grateful for all the people that have helped make it so: Bill and Sara, Sue, David, Dana, Heather, and Green Bay Greg, to name a few. As it says in Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” — you all have made me ‘sharper’. I’m grateful for Facebook and the power that it has to reunite old friends — some of whom even become clients like Shawn and Tara — and make new friends — like the two Swedish girls from Viktor Rydberg Gymnasium that have made the Esther’s Hope ministry their senior project. The power of social media continues to amaze me, but at the end of the day, it’s really all about ‘people power’ and the ability of technology to support it…

From Panos

In parting, here’s some obligatory multimedia for the day…

Have a great day tomorrow, however you decide to spend it. I’m checking out for the holiday — see you on the flipside!

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Leaving for Germany as I am tomorrow morning, I’m moving way too fast to do this justice, but if you’re a social media maven or online community manager [or both!], tumblr is a tool that you may have overlooked for it’s sheer simplicity. If that’s the case, look again. Here are at leas 5 reasons why I’m adding tumblr to my social media utility belt..

  1. Simple yet powerful
  2. It can auto-publish to both Facebook profiles and fan pages making it a great community manager tool
  3. It has a great iPhone interface making it the perfect onsite reporting tool
  4. It works with Shareaholic or it’s own bookmarklet making it a perfect page sharing tool
  5. Marc LaFountain, the Community Ambassador. He’s a god amongst men in the social media space…

This is just a partial list of all the cool things that tumblr can do — you’ll want to go here to get a more complete inventory. As I head to Germany to cover the Agritechnica show for AGCO, I’ll be liveblogging the trip as well as the event. Track me on my Dashboard and see how well it works as I run it through my FriendFeed…

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I’ll be in Germany…

…[and you won’t ;-)] in the beginning of November covering the Agritechnica trade show for my client AGCO

“This biannual fair is considered the world’s largest and leading trade fair in the field of agricultural machinery. It is a rather specialised fair in terms of products, visitors and exhibitors. Over the past 10 years, Agritechnica has been growing rapidly, doubling its number of exhibitors. In 2007, 1,268 companies exhibited their products, of which 920 where from outside Germany. Over 340,000 visitors visited the fair, some 71,500 from outside Germany.” Source: AGRITECHNICA 2009 | CBI

The bright folks at AGCO are using social media as a breakout strategy to connect with customers. If you want to track our preparation and progress from the very beginning to the end of the show, you can do it here

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