Werner Erhard’s life has been devoted to the creation of ideas. Some of his ideas have been turned into programs for the public, some made available through non-profit organizations, and some have been used by management consultants in their consulting to corporations and non-profits. After more than 35 years many of his transformational ideas have become a part of society’s thinking and culture across the globe.
In a new documentary, Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard, viewers get a glimpse of who Werner Erhard really is, with rare interviews with his family, press and top professionals.
Time Magazine, March 7, 2011, said of Erhard: "The American obsession with Transformation isn’t new. It’s about as old as the nation. But it was Werner Erhard who created the first modern transformation when he founded est seminars in 1971. It’s a tribute to the power of his central concept that more than 20 years after he sold his ideas to a group of employees Landmark is still the natural first stop in any transformation tour." [Excerpted from “Change We Can (Almost) Believe In” by Nathan Thornburgh.]
The methodology he developed provided individuals and organizations
with a means to design new contexts or frames of reference for themselves.
This resulted in more creativity and independent thinking, and as
a consequence in more effective action, all of which has had a lasting
impact on the important concerns in their lives.
Werner Erhard created a program in 1971 named the est Training, which was offered to the public by Erhard Seminars Training, Inc. and after 1981 by Werner Erhard & Associates. The est Training, attended by approximately a million people, was enormously popular and became a household word. The combination of Werner Erhard's cutting edge ideas and his ruthless compassion, honesty and skill in leading seminars catapulted est into the mainstream of American culture. With this wide-spread popularity, Erhard and his programs became the subject of television, newspaper, magazine, and even movie attention.
Because Erhard Seminars Training, Inc. and Werner Erhard and Associates produced powerful results with hundreds of thousands of people worldwide in a very short time. Erhard and his work continue to be a source of enormous influence. In 1991, Erhard closed his companies that offered his programs to the public. His former employees started a company of their own called Landmark. Erhard's original thinking and the processes developed from it are found updated and further developed in the programs of Landmark.
Erhard and his work continue to be an enormous influence as well as the subject of the media.
In addition to his business enterprises, Erhard co-founded independent, non-profit charitable enterprises, including: the Breakthrough Foundation, the Hunger Project, the Holiday Project, the Werner Erhard Foundation, and the Education Network. In 1988, Werner Erhard was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Humanitarian Award in recognition of his contribution to people and society.
Erhard has lectured for a wide variety of prestigious institutions and professional associations around the world, including the American Psychiatric Association, the Soviet Academy of Sciences, UNESCO, the Oxford Union at Oxford University, Stanford University, MIT, Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School and The Kennedy Center For Public Leadership at Harvard, Yale University Law School, USC Marshall School of Business, and University of Rochester Simon School of Business.
In 2011, Werner Erhard and his colleagues Michael C. Jensen and Kari Granger were published in The Handbook For Teaching Leadership, Knowing, Doing, and Being. The editors of the book, Dean of Harvard Business School Nitin Nohria, and Harvard professors, Rakesh Khurana, and Scott Snook had this to say in their introduction to the book: "In a highly provocative chapter titled "Creating Leaders," this eclectic group of scholars argues for adopting a decidedly ontological approach to leadership education that promises to leave students actually being leaders...For these authors, integrity, authenticity, and being committed to something bigger than oneself form the base of 'the context for leadership,' a context that once mastered, leaves one actually being a leader...by following a rigorous, phenomenologically based methodology, students have the opportunity to create for themselves a context that leaves them actually being a leader and exercising leadership effectively as their natural self-expression.”
If you are interested in more information about Werner Erhard's life there is only one biography published about Werner Erhard that is both factual and includes extensive interviews with Werner Erhard and family members. The book is titled Werner Erhard, The Transformation of a Man: The Founding of Est by William Warren Bartley III. While other publications exist in print and on the internet it is important to note that they do not have factual rigor as they are not properly referenced and in many cases rely on anonymous sources.
Werner Erhard's life is best understood through his work and ideas, several of which are gathered in a collection at the website Werner Erhard Biography. One of the writings highlighted there is "A Shot Heard Round The World: Werner Erhard on The Context for Creating a Transformed World: A World that Works for Everyone.
Werner Erhard in the Media link to new page
The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard
This documentary was created by the independent filmmaker and two-time Emmy Award Winning Producer for PBS, Robyn Symon. It chronicles the history of Werner Erhard, his life, the world of The est Training and his work and ideas, all put into perspective through the dozens of stories told by numerous professional and academic experts. Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard is available in DVD by clicking here.
Werner Erhard Biography Website: Evolution of a leading thinker, Werner Erhard, his ideas, research and writing. Werner Erhard's life is best understood through his work and ideas.
Werner Erhard Video: Ideas In Conversation
Werner Erhard on the Internet
At all times and under all circumstances, we have the power to transform the quality of our lives.