Born in Cleveland, Ohio, I
grew up in sunny Sacramento, California and now live in the San Francisco
My first inspirations from travel and adventure books
A drawing of my first memory of
I remember reading adventure books, like
Call of the Wild, by Jack London. For a while, when I was asked what I
wanted to be when I grew up, I said a hunter and fur trapper in
Alaska. There was also a book about some guys that drove a Land Rover around
the world. I forget the name of it.
These books inspired me to want to travel around the world and
I was anxious to graduate
from high school and start traveling. Learning by practical experience was my
motto. I started off by backpacking for several months in the Sierra Nevada's
and got a job in a gold mine. I was hitchhiking with my dog, Buck, and a
beat-up old pickup truck drove by. "Want a job?" the driver yelled out. "Doing
what?" I asked. "Gold mining!" How could I resist.... Three months latter I
hadn't made much, if any money, but it sure was an adventure.
I rode a bicycle to Vancouver, Canada from Sacramento, stopping to pick apples
in Hood River, Oregon. Thus started my traveling and working my way around
In total, I was "on
the road" for about 10 years.
I interacted with a wide variety of cultures and peoples from all walks of
life and learned to see and feel the common humanity of all people on the
through the South Pacific, Hawaii, Samoan Islands, Fiji and ended in New
Zealand. There I worked picking fruit, (apples, peaches, apricots) and as a
kitchen helper in Bluff, on the Southern tip of the South Island. In
Auckland, I worked as a hospital orderly for 4 months. Off to Australia
where I hitchhiked all the way around the country and down to Tasmania. I
worked as a surveyors assistant in the outback of Western Australia, picked
fruit around Adelaide and worked in a cheese factory in Burnie,
Tasmania. Then on to
Indonesia to teach English. In the Philippines I worked as a movie extra on
the movie Apocalypse Now. I traveled all through South and South East Asia.
Middle East and Europe. In Germany I was a warehouse worker,
longshoreman and ship watchman in the Hamburg harbor. I eventually went
though China and took the Trans-Siberian Railroad through Mongolia and
As an extra, I played the part of a
soldier in Apocalypse Now. That's me in the back row.
X marks my back. At one point, my back
takes up 1/4 of the move screen!
Bali Sailing Adventure
Sailing an outrigger canoe "sampan" in
Bali, Indonesia. They're made of hollowed out logs and are quite heavy. My
friend Nyoman helps me drag it into the water.
A 1990 video of sailing a sampan and searching for dolphin's in
One of my best adventures was when I bought an outrigger canoe and sailed
around Bali for a couple of months. I remember one night getting stuck out
beyond the breakers and unable to navigate into shore for fear of crashing
on the rocks in the dark. I stayed out all night in the rain and lightning,
worried I'd be swept far out to sea.
Another night I was sailing along in
the dark closer to shore and suddenly I could hear what I now know were dolphins
blow holes all around me. I got really worried that they were whales and would
tip my little canoe over.
Sailing was a great way to learn the
Indonesian language. I'd pull in to shore in the evenings, sit and chat with the
fisherman around the camp fire, eat roasted fish on the open fire and learn the
Not content to just go to one
University, I went to six for my undergraduate degree. That has to be some sort
of a record. Initially I studied German and Indonesian languages and cultures,
finally getting a degree in Economics at the University of Texas at Austin. I
remember going for a physical checkup in Germany and talking with the doctor. I
told him about all the universities I had been going to and he said, "That's the
way it was done here in the old days. Going to university meant you got a broad
universal education and that you went to several different universities as
well." Here's a list of the schools I went to;
California State University
University of California Berkeley
(Intensive Indonesian Program, SEASSI) (1980)
San Francisco State University
Universitšt Hamburg, Germany
Joint field study through California
State University Stanislaus and IKIP Jakarta, Indonesia. (1981) (6
months field research in Bali, Java and Sumatra)
University Of Texas, Austin (1983-5)
Later I went to the Freie
Universitšt Berlin and Studied Indian Art history for a half a year.(1991)
I enjoy backpacking and making videos
I bought a PC and on
my own I started learning about "PC clone" computers and ended up
authoring three books on how to buy and use them.
I also wrote articles for several
computer magazines. Taking advantage of the new desktop publishing
software, I created a small book publishing company.
MicroTimes Magazine named me one of the top one hundred
most influential people in the computer industry for 2 years in a row. They
"With his series
of clone buyer's guides, Rutsch provides sound, lucid advice to the
confused shopper and a valuable resource to the bewildered user. His
books (themselves a testimonial to desktop publishing) make a great
contribution to the industry by making it vastly easier to make an
informed decision, as well as be more productive with your machine after
you've bought it."
I became interested in Windows NT in 1994, and became President and founder
Bay Area Windows NT
User Group. I passed the Microsoft MCSE + Internet certification and have
worked as a computer systems administrator and consultant.
I worked at
Esalen Institute (a retreat center on
the Big Sur coast and home of the human potential movement) for about a year and my last position
was for three and a half years at Fuji Xerox
Palo Alto Labs, a cutting edge computer research lab located on the Xerox Parc research campus in Palo Alto, California.
My first book edition on display at B.
Daltons in San Francisco, 1986
A favorite activity, fishing in the
High Sierra Nevada mountain lakes and streams. Here I'm sneaking up on some
trout. If they see you they will take off for deeper waters.
Success. Natural bait like grasshoppers and
ants work the best.
Action adventure video scenes from my 1989 to 2005 Sierra Nevada fishing
Documentary Filmmaker and New Projects
At the end of the 1990's, my interests
shifted to how video, technology and the arts can be used to learn about the
human spirit and values.
One of many projects was on the experience of inspiration called, "Inspiration
and The Art of Living Black". Here we interviewed 45 African
American artists who told personal stories about their inspiration.
Another project explored the question
of "What are Progressive Values"?
Over 250 people talked about their experiences with caring, empathy,
community, equality, justice, responsibility, freedom etc. The videos are
available on Youtube.
The Center For Building a Culture of
From my research and explorations, I came to see the central role and
importance of empathy in human connection, conflict resolution, and general
well being. It forms the foundation of caring, community, compassion, love
and all the values that hold society together and make life worth living.
I've now dedicated my life to a project on
promoting and fostering the value
and experience ofempathy.
I'm working to build a movement to support building a global culture of empathy and
compassion. I'm looking at nurturing societal transformation, where empathy
becomes the primary social and cultural value in the world culture.
I'm doing this through the the organization I founded,
The Center For Building a Culture of
Empathy. We have many empathy building initiatives. Part of that effort is to create a documentary on the nature and
importance of looking at the world through each others eyes.
Also, in these economically difficult
times, the country has been called on by the nations
president to develop
deeper empathy for each other. To realize we are all in the same boat
and need to walk in each others shoes.