Wednesday’s Words to Ponder

“People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.”     – Eric Hoffer  

“ It is by its promise of a sense of power that evil often attracts the weak.”                    – Eric Hoffer


Eric Hoffer – 25 July, 1902 – 21 May, 1983

Born in New York City to immigrant parents (Alsace) he authored ten books. His first book, The True Beliver, was recognized as a classic and received critical acclaim from Scholars and laymen alike. In the author’s own opinion his finest work was, The Ordeal of Change. Shortly before his death, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Regan. An early reader, he read voraciously in both English and German.

In 1920, after the death of his father, he departed New York for Los Angeles by bus. With three hundred dollars to his name, he spent the next decade living on L.A.’s skid row. Taking any job that came his way he tried selling, oranges, door to door. Alas, he discovered he was a natural and at the end of his first day, dismayed by his success.  

In the thirties, he began following the migrants harvesting crops across California. During a sojourn in the hopes of discovering gold he found himself snowed through the winter. He made great use of that time when he discovered the essays of Michel de Montaigne which would have a profound effect on his perspective.

During the 1940’s he arrived in San Francisco and after being rejected by the military for war duty, he took to working as a longshoreman. A voracious reader since childhood, he continued this passion and began to write his stories. He stayed working on the docks until retirement at age 65.

In 1970 he endowed the Lili Fabilli and Eric Hoffer Laconic Essay Prize for students, faculty and staff at the University of California, Berkeley.




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