First Things

Something Enlightening

Prof’s book looks at Fetzer’s spiritual side
John E. Fetzer was the sole owner of the Detroit Tigers.

While he was building the media empire that fueled his wealth and enabled him to become sole owner of the Detroit Tigers, few knew that John E. Fetzer was quietly using spiritual principles and practices to guide his business growth, as well as funding some of America’s seminal research on consciousness.

WMU professor Brian C. Wilson looks at this side of Fetzer’s life in his new book, John E. Fetzer and the Quest for the New Age, released last month by Wayne State University Press. With a particular focus on the Midwest, where Fetzer’s story unfolds (he lived and ran his business from Kalamazoo), Wilson shows that, in fact, the Midwest was the first cradle of advanced spiritual expansion — long before California claimed that mantle. To ensure that his legacy of spiritual inquiry and spiritual values would continue long into the future, Fetzer left endowments to fund The John E. Fetzer Memorial Trust and The John E. Fetzer Institute.

The book is available at local bookstores. For more information, visit