Werner Erhard ..................Work and Ideas


Creating Possibility


Werner Erhard's work and ideas continue to give people access to creating possibilities in their own lives and in the lives of others. This page contains personal, academic and organizational websites by people inspired to create possibilites for themselves out of the work of Werner Erhard.


Werner Erhard Biography: Werner Erhard's life is best understood through his ideas and their application to people's lives. After more than 40 years many of his transformational ideas have become a part of society’s thinking and culture across the globe.

Leadership Course Author and Instructor, Werner Erhard: "The Ontological methodolgy gives one access to being a leader and exercising leadership effectively as it is lived and directly experienced on the court. You get left being a leader and exercising leadership effectively as your natural self expression."

The Mastery Foundation: The Mastery Foundation grew out of a series of conversations in the late 1970s and early 1980s among Christian and Jewish clergy who had experienced a personal transformation when they participated in Werner Erhard's est Training. Their interest was in finding a way to make that kind of transformation widely available to others in religious ministry and to the institutions of religion.

Werner Erhard A Great Man: Dr. Laura Basha, organizational psychologist writes, "I had the great fortune of hearing Werner Erhard speak last night. My husband and I took a course with Michael Jensen and Werner two and a half years ago in Canada on Being A Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership. Both my husband and I work in the field of leadership development, and so in order to be ongoingly empowering, we are always interested in our own personal growth and development, for the expansion of our own leadership capacity. I have been a student of many thought systems, and personal and organizational transformation is my profession. For over 35 years I have integrated the revelations awakened within me out of participating in work inspired by true leaders and great thinkers. Werner Erhard is one of humanity’s true leaders and great thinkers."

Capitalism and Society: We are pleased to announce a new issue of Capitalism & Society, featuring the paper "Putting Integrity Into Finance, A Purely Positive Approach" by Werner Erhard and Michael C. Jensen. Capitalism & Society is unique among economics journals, focusing on what makes capitalism dynamic: innovation and entrepreneurship. Editors of this peer-reviewed journal include some of the best-known and most widely-published scholars in the fields of economics, business, law, and sociology.

Putting Gender In It's Place, as Performance: In Chelsea Now, Gerald Buby writes, "Gender is a cultural phenomenon, intrinsically subjective, and has no being except as performance: This is the presupposition of Brad Calcaterra’s acting workshop, ACTOUT...Sitting in that dark room during a session of ACTOUT, I was reminded of my experience in Erhard Seminars Training, or est, back in the ’70s. The goal of that forum was to experience oneself without ego. When that happened you “got it.” It was a kind of boot camp training for enlightenment. Unlike Brad’s process, est relied entirely on words spoken by the seminar leader to a seated audience waiting to be enlightened. There were magical moments when someone got it, and words became irrelevant. In ACTOUT, there was the electricity of actualization in the room.

10 Ways I Benefited from Doing the Landmark Forum: Rezzan Hussey, blogger at The Art of Wellbeing, writes, "Completing the Forum was a huge defining moment in my life. Five years on, I am still benefiting from the distinctions I was introduced to during that weekend."

Living Outside the Box: How Landmark Forum Provides a Road Map to Personal Transformation: Landmark was founded in 1991 by a group of people who had worked with Werner Erhard, a pioneer in the field of personal development and transformational models. Landmark’s training is an outgrowth of Erhard’s work in the field. Erhard founded Erhard Seminars Training, better known as est or EST,  in 1971: the company offered popular personal growth training seminars in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Intelligence and Energy: "I think often about Werner Erhard’s advice: 'Decide on a project for which you are willing to take complete responsibility. Complete the project successfully. Relate this achievement to others as an inspiration for them. Your willingness to express yourself may be just the trigger needed by someone else to do something for themselves. From now on, don’t wait for something to happen to you. Actually take responsibility for making something happen. Keep at '"

Top Three Life Lessons: I was having lunch with a colleague and the conversation meandered toward the Landmark Forum, a derivative of Werner Erhard’s est (Erhard Seminars Training). I mentioned that I had taken the course over 15 years ago and that it had made a memorable impact on me. The curious type, he asked, “So what were your top three lessons?” ...

Lynne Twist Interview: Taking a Stand vs. Taking a Position:"Werner Erhard is a great thinker and genius in ontology, in the ontology of being, and training people in the principles of transformation... Out of a series of conversations with Buckminster Fuller and Werner Erhard, something called the Hunger Project was born. They actually saw that the greatest breakdown in human integrity was hunger. To let millions of people die of hunger in a world awash with food was an integrity issue, not a food issue and not a political issue, but an integrity issue. Out of that, this remarkable project called the Hunger Project was born with help from John Denver, the great singer/songwriter, and others. It was first launched through the EST graduate body, of which I was one. I was just there at the right time. I became one of the first staff members of the Hunger Project. My life really unfolded from there in a direction of contribution, transformation, social change and service that I never could have dreamed of. Really, it was a miracle.

Canary Wharf Magazine: The work that Erhard created in 70's and 80's continues to produce results in people’s lives. “…the ‘go to’ for anyone looking to make a real change in their lives, be it home or work-related...the success stories continue to stack up, from CEOs to celebrities....my peace of mind and confidence increased dramatically.  My ability to connect with people, to be straight with people, to trust myself and to speak my piece shifted completely.”

Impolite Conversations: Author Becky Killoran writes of her experience of Werner Erhard's work. "By the end of the course, everyone was clear we had all been trapped in cycles of behaviour shaped by our childhood experiences, why this was so, and how this cycle ultimately limited our lives - especially our personal relationships. Most people drift through life never really participating, never living life at its fullest in the moment; we live for later, assuming that later is somehow “better” than now, and wondering why it is that we feel unfulfilled. 

When we went home on the Sunday night, we had left behind issues we’d been wrestling with since childhood and letting shape our lives. Now we have lives full of possibilities, not the past; now how we live is our responsibility and ours alone."

Waking Up in America: In this online television show Joe Kirin talks about creating his "No Complaints Day Challenge" and the inspiration he got through experiencing Werner Erhard's work. " It's always been there for me to help people, to talk to people, and through the years I've done all kinds of different things... I did a lot of programs at Landmark and I got a lot of training there and [I became] more effective at helping people and the more effective I became the more I loved to do it, and the more I made a difference for people."

David Wayne Reed gives his characters and his audience a hand in Help Yourself , Pitch Online Magazine: Reed's show takes its inspiration from Erhard Seminars Training (est), which began running weekend workshops in the 1970's. In the 90's Erhard retired and sold his ideas to a group of his former employees who then formed a new company now known as Landmark Worldwide. "Werner Erhard and the est Training brought to the forefront the ideas of transformation, personal responsibility, accountability, and possibility ... and over a million people 'Got it.'"

Werner Erhard Leadership: "Professor Michael Jensen and Werner Erhard, two extraordinary thinkers, engage in a conversation that explores groundbreaking access to being a leader and to the effective exercise of leadership as one's natural self-expression"

Werner Erhard: Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: "The course is a leadership laboratory where instructors work with the participants to create direct access to the ways of being, thinking, planning, and action required to be a leader and to exercise leadership effectively – in any situation, and no matter the circumstances."

Werner Erhard - Leadership Course: Excerpt of Interview with Werner Erhard

What Does It Take To Be A Leader And For Leadership To Show Up?: Harvard Business School Professor, and former Medtronic CEO Bill George posts an article that reads, "Leadership matters.  Whilst there are many ways of grappling with leadership, I value the ontological lens and in particular the ontological model of leadership that has been developed and is being taught by Werner Erhard et al..."

Being A Leader and The Effective Exercise of Leadership: Robert McCormick, Dean of Clemson University’s College of Business, says this about the course: "I have been involved in a couple of long workshops with non-economists recently, in Kenya with architects and construction CEO’s, with environmental leaders in Montana, and recently in south Florida with PHD ecologists and the like, and the entire structure of my talks and presentations has been altered significantly and importantly by your training at the Mays School of Business, College Station, Texas. The impact has been profound and I just wanted to thank you for the opportunity you afforded me. It has helped me personally and professionally in myriad and powerful ways."

"A Radical Approach to Leadership": Hal Halladay, Chief People Officer of Infusionsoft, calls the Being A Leader And The Effective Exercise Of Leadership course a “radical approach to leadership." He says the course is "about how you can, as a human being or as a person, be prepared not to know about leadership but to be a leader in every aspect of your life."

Sean Behr, Founder & CEO of Zirx, on the course Being A Leader and The Effective Exercise of Leadership: "I had all of the characteristics that someone would point to and say was leadership. I had the title, money, employees, and business authority but I did not feel like I was really exercising leadership. That is, I wasn’t actually creating anything new. Out of my participation in the course, I decided it was time to go create another company.”

New York Review of Books: Letter to the editor by William Warren Bartley III to The New York Review of Books regarding a review of Werner Erhard The Transformation of Man: The Founding of est - April 5, 1979

Benjamin Zander - The Power of A Leader: Mentoring Leadership Through Personal Development an excerpt of Benjamin Zander speaking at at Davos, 2008. Making a difference for the world through leadership.

Ben Zander re: Landmark & The Landmark Forum: Ben Zander- world famous author and conductor of The Boston Philharmonic is interviewed about his work, transformation, leadership, Landmark Education and the Landmark Forum. This video also shows him coaching people and leading his seminars in an endearing and personal way.

Les Affaires: Warren Bennis on Leadership - Eminent authority on leadership, Warren G. Bennis is Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and founding president of the Leadership Institute of the institution. During an interview in 2006, he discussed the mistakes and missteps committed by people new to leadership.

Jane Self: Author of 60 Minutes and the Assassination of Werner Erhard talks about the book and answers questions. "I recently received an e-mail from a guy ... asking if I still stood by the work I had done in the book I wrote in 1992, "60 Minutes and the Assassination of Werner Erhard," which negated the allegations made against Erhard." Her answer was, "Yes, I absolutely still am confident in what I wrote in that book. I made it very clear to the people who I spoke with and the people who helped open doors for me to get to others that I was not going to step over anything. If I found a shred of truth in the serious allegations, I would print that and not tiptoe around it. All of the daughters who were on the '60 Minutes' program or reported about on the program have since recanted their stories. As pointed out in the book, there were issues Werner had with his children because he wasn't the daddy they thought he should be. But the allegations were false and just their way of lashing out at him. Werner has been focused on healing his relationship with his children and last I heard making great progress.

Coaching Commons: Online Archive of Professional Coaching Articles, Videos, Podcasts, Research and History including Werner Erhard's influence on the coaching field.

Conversations for Transformation: Essays By Laurence Platt Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Transformation Articles:On Selfgrowth.com

Coaching and the Art of Management: Werner Erhard participated in a conference on what it is to be a great coach

Jane Self: Book about Werner Erhard and 60 Minutes

The Quest for Non-Adversarial Politics: a current article on changing media conversations. "In the 1970s, est (Erhard Seminars Training) assisted hundreds of thousands of people to gain control of their lives. The media however could only focus on snippets of what they heard about the methods of the program and completely ignored the results...What was driving the media in those days is similar to what is going on today, the fear of being conned. We are so used to being conned every day by television advertising, unscrupulous promotions, and deceptive politicians that when something authentic comes along, we are afraid to take the risk that it might be real. That is a prescription for being stuck, not for making the changes in our society that are required."

Paul Arden: Werner Erhard's impact on Saatchi and Saatchi's Creative Director - In the 1970s, many advertising people like Paul Arden, Dave Trott, Robin Wight and Tim Mellors got involved in EST (Erhard Seminars Training) EST's eclectic philosophy had a profound impact on Arden, as reflected 20 years later in his bestselling first book, It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be (2003)."

Masterful Coaching: Vikki Brock, Ph.D., writing about the book Masterful Coaching by Robert Hargrove writes, "From what I know today about Hargrove’s background and some of the terms used in Masterful Coaching, such as transformation and breakthrough thinking, I see the direct link to Werner Erhard’s est philosophy. Though this link is never mentioned (as it isn’t for many well-known people who were influenced by Werner Erhard), it strengthens my belief that Werner Erhard had a strong influence on the foundations of coaching."

Book Review : 60 Minutes and the Assassination of Werner Erhard

Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard: Robyn Symon and Laurence Platt discuss the the making of the documentary as well as the nature of journalism, 60 Minutes and Werner Erhard.

Want results? Have clear benchmarks for your workplace goals: Author Linnda Durre is a psychotherapist, writer and business consultant who has worked with Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and small businesses

Werner Erhard and 60 Minutes: How America's Top Rated Television Show Was Used in an Attempt to Destroy a Man Who Was Making A Difference

Forbes.com: Thoughts on the Business of Life: powerful quotes by influential people... collected by Lydia Forbes

Soul of Money, by Lynne Twist: This review of the executive founder of the Hunger Project's new book discusses Werner Erhard's influence. "After attending some talks by human potential leader Werner Erhard, who had set a 20-year goal for ending world hunger,Twist and her husband decided to re-orient their lives toward causes they believed in, and joined the work of the Hunger Project (established in 1977). Later she became involved in other initiatives such as rainforest protection, indigenous rights, and women’s leadership."

Dan Wakefield: on his thoughts on Werner Erhard, 60 Minutes, and media controversy

Psychology Today:Eliezer Sobel, Author of 99th Monkey: "As Werner Erhard once bluntly put it to me, staring right into my eyes, 'There isn't ANYTHING that is EVER going to come along that is going to make you happy. NOTHING. Getting that is the entrée into the system in which the truth lies, for the truth is always and only found now, in the circumstances you've got.'"

Personal Growth Resources

Vail Leadership Institute

Werner Erhard Foundation

Eliezer Sobel quotes Werner Erhard at Huffington Post: "There isn't anything that is ever going to come along that is going to MAKE you happy. Nothing. Getting that is the entrée into the system in which the truth lies, for the truth is always and only found now, in the circumstances you've got."

This is It: est Twenty Years Later: "I got it in 1975, in a Hilton ballroom in Boston. What was "it"? And do I still have it? If not, when did I lose it, and can I get it back? These questions may sound tongue-in-cheek, but actually point to something quite profound - namely, "it." Perhaps the most eloquent and concise description of "it" that I have ever come across is from an Alan Watts essay, "This Is It":

"To the individual thus enlightened it appears as a vivid and overwhelming certainty that the universe, precisely as it is at this moment, as a whole and in every one of its parts, is so completely right as to need no explanation or justification beyond what it simply is....the mind is so wonder-struck at the self-evident and self-sufficient fitness of things as they are, including what would ordinarily be thought the very worst, that it cannot find any word strong enough to express the perfection and beauty of the experience...The central core of the experience seems to be the conviction, or insight, that the immediate now, whatever its nature, is the goal and fulfillment of all living."

This is Still It: est Thirty Years Later: "At the end of the first weekend of the est training, we were sent home with an inquiry to ponder until the following weekend: Who would be wrong if your life got better? The answer, for me, was plain: I would. I would be wrong about everyone and everything I had ever blamed for my unhappiness. This was perhaps the most fundamental principle I learned at est. I am not the victim of my circumstances in life, and that which I seek will not be found by manipulating those circumstances.

A more satisfying life is not dependent upon my finding a different relationship, a better job, a new location, or more money, physical healing, or anything in the domain of what Werner called, "more, better and different". Instead he preached that at any time and in any situation, no matter what the circumstances, you have the ability to transform the quality of your life."

An Indescribable Experience: One reason why the public seldom sees much deep, penetrating reporting and/or commentary about any contemporary psychological movement is that it is distinctly unfashionable for journalists to write anything that may be interpreted as favorable about such phenomena. Never mind whether it’s true or not. The silent rule is, "If you can’t be critical, don’t write it."

Well, this is to serve notice to any potential head-lopper that I choose not to be intimidated. Sorry. I just can’t join the cynical press bandwagon. est is – and remains – one of the most fascinating movements, events, phenomena (take your pick, it still defies analysis) I have ever observed and reported on. The fact that it isn’t what it seems to be (what is?) and that it is as elusive as quicksilver to describe only enhances the fascination as far as I’m concerned. - From Human Behavior, October 1978, Eleanor Links Hoover

A Tribute to est: a tribute to transformation and Werner Erhard. Follow the lineage of people, places and things that enlightened a generation and made an impact on the world.

This is it - An Interview with Werner Erhard:"The truth is not found in a different set of circumstances. The truth is always and only found in the circumstances you’ve got." - Interview with Werner Erhard in New Sun Magazine, December 1978

est - The New Life-Changing Philosophy that Makes You the Boss: By Marcia Seligson, Published in Cosmopolitan Magazine, June 1975

The est Training Photo Experience

Michael C. Jensen Harvard Business School

Werner Erhard Speaking About Performance

The Reluctant Optimist

IC Centre for Governance, Pachgani, India “Leadership: An Ontological Approach”

Werner Erhard in India, Nov 2010

SSRN Blog: Professor Michael C. Jensen of Harvard School of Business talked to Georgetown’s 338 McDonough School of Business’ graduating seniors about integrity and authenticity at their commencement Saturday morning.

"The Tree of Life" Review: "Director Terence Malick has opened our vision to the untranslatable miracle of life in all its aspects.... in Werner Erhard’s phrase, 'to make their love for the world be what their lives are really about.'" - Film review by Howard Schumann

Society for Humanistic Psychology: In keeping with their longstanding interest in the well-being of all persons, and in the importance of living life with purpose and meaning, the Society for Humanistic Psychology posts information about the chapter by Werner Erhard, Michael C. Jensen, and Kari L. Granger report, in the forthcoming Handbook for Teaching Leadership.

The Great Gastrectomy- Quote by Werner Erhard:
"If you could really accept that you weren’t ok, you could stop proving you were ok. If you could stop proving that you were ok you could get that it was ok not to be ok. If you could get that it was ok not to be ok you could get that you were ok the way you are. You’re ok, get it?"

Dr. Jim Byrne draws on Werner’s ideas: Some ideas on how to complete your experience of unpleasant events in your life

The Malakoff News: Malakoff Texas local newspaper mentions est and the Landmark Forum.

Interview with comedian Christopher Titus, Landmark graduate


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