Hermann Hesse was a Nobel prize-winning author who wrote books about the struggle to find morality and meaning in life through merging Western and Eastern ideas. Among his famous books are Siddhartha, a fictionalized account of the life of the Buddha, and Steppenwolf, a semi-autobiographical novel of a tormented intellectual loner in 1930s Germany.
Here is a page listing his works with a plot synopsis of each one.
Here is a page about The Glass Bead Game, which is a semi-religious game inspired by Hesse's book with the same title. In the book, a society of intellectuals play the game and lose contact with the real world. The idea of actually creating the game strikes me as totally misguided. Nonetheless, in an absurd manner, the people who actually went to the bother of creating the game demonstrate that Hesse's critique of modern life is correct: people are indeed anxious to do silly things without stopping to consider their worth.