Isn't life the darnedest thing? You're a poor kid in Minnesota who moved at a young age to Wisconsin (Listen) and grew up on the family farm, with the two-hole outhouse and the Sears catalog for toilet paper. You get drafted and sent to war, become a fighter pilot and a triple ace, are shot down three times, spending the final months of the war in a prison camp. You come back to Minnesota, start a company that makes hearing aids, and you make a fortune. You accept golf bags full of money as the Midwest finance director for President Nixon, and provide the smoking gun for one of the biggest political scandals in the nation's history when a campaign contribution check with your signature on it turns up in the hands of a Watergate burglar. You stonewall FBI efforts to get you to say where the money came from, and go on to become a venture capitalist, making another fortune as the money behind the Buffalo Wild Wings franchise.
How does that life story not end up as a movie? It has ended up as a book and today, about 100 friends of Ken Dahlberg gathered at an airplane hangar in Eden Prairie to buy a copy, the proceeds of which Dahlberg is giving to the Minnesotans' Military Appreciation Fund.
Dahlberg retains his conservative roots, noting why there are fewer rags-to-riches stories anymore. "Democracy seems to have an Achilles' heel," he said. "In order to get elected you have to promise people more for producing less. And if you think you can have more for producing less, then my discussion is over. We learned on the farm the process of producing. You had to till the ground, you had to plant the seed, you had to cultivate, and you had to harvest. You had to go through a process in order to have a better life. In the political world, no matter which party you belong to, if you promised more to get elected, we knew it wasn't so." (Listen)
I like farming too. ok i admit that my farming experience amounts to a 20 x 40 garden in my backyard but it IS AN HONEST TO GOODNESS YOU REAP WHAT YOU SEW.
gardening is one of my hobbies as well, but I am always interested in new techniques. Generally I go with the older method of reaping what I sow..
was wondering if sewing brings in a better harvest? lol.. sorry. long day, getting punchy.
The history of this man is truly fascinating. Thanks for the info Bob...
Yeah after I sent that email i thought to myself -hey you didn't speel that word correctly. and so i was going to send another email with correction. Then i thought, what do i care whether people think i use the grammatical tools correctly. they got my point-i hope if they have any wit about them. i am and never was much of a hoop jumper.
A nice little parable. But the facts are the big reapers in America today are not the humble folks like Dahlberg's parents planting seeds, cultivating and bringing in the crops. Nor are they, as Dahlberg implies, people on some kind of public assistance.
Instead, they're all too often people who know how to harvest government assistance in checks with a comma or two in the total and who have used their candidate connections to pass new bankruptcy laws, charge outsized interest rates to poor people and collect fees, bonuses and stock options for their work before it comes crashing down.
My son and I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Dahlberg at an air show. He lives a REMARKABLE life. An exemplar in many ways. Get the book and buy extra copies for young men who need an example of risk-taking, principle, and courage.
One of the kindest and most generous men I've met. Always ready with a smile and advice, and with help when it was needed. Wonderful grasp of history, and the charm to recount with enthusiasm it to other generations.
I came to the USA on a 1-year scholarship to a small college in Iowa. Having met Ken and his wife in Switzerland, I was invited to join for a flight to Washington DC, for Christmases in Snowmass at Aspen, and to apply for graduate studies at U of M.
Like for many other students, it was a struggle to make ends meet at university. What a surprise and delight, then, to have Ken & Betty fly to my graduation in Iowa, and bring me back in their plane to Minneapolis.
To gain a first-hand insight into the American electoral system, to see entrepreneurship succeed, to see, also, the ups and downs of business and politics - these are things that
Ken Dahlberg gave to a young student from Germany. And the lesson that mid-western kindness is more important than all the politics in the world.
I shall read this biography with anticipation and wish the man behind it and his family all the happiness in the world. And yes, my father, too, was a fighter pilot -- of Messerschmidt 109, on the other side. He didn't make it through the war. We can be thankful that Ken did.
Thinking about about my life and the great times I had with you in the Hearing Aid Business.
London, Paris, Minneapolis, Lake Minnetonka, and all over the place. - many happy memories of being with you, and Paul etc., etc.
You really are a great guy and I am privileged to I hope still be your friend.
I`m out of the HA business now but still doing some work - even at almost 76 !.
Hope you are well.