est: The Steersman Handbook

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est: The Steersman Handbook
Est The Steersman Handbook.JPG
Book cover
Author L. Clark Stevens
Country United States
Language English
Subject Utopia
Genre Science fiction
Publisher Bantam Books,
Capricorn Press
Publication date
1970, 1971
Media type Paperback
Pages 154

est: The Steersman Handbook, Charts of the Coming Decade of Conflict is a work of science fiction cast as a nonfictional study. Its author, credited as L. Clark Stevens, usually went by the name Leslie Stevens. Stevens has a long list of credits in the entertainment industry, having worked on, among other productions, The Outer Limits. The book was published in paperback in 1970, and reprinted in 1971.


The "est" in the book's title refers to what Stevens described as "Electronic Social Transformation".[1][2][3] The book described a future society and the rise of what Stevens described as the "est people".[1][2] The "est people" were a new generation of postliterate humans who were to bring about a "transformation" of society.[1][2] The "est people" were to be technically minded, eclectic, and computer literate.[4] They would possess qualities necessary for social transformation, integral to Earth's survival.[4] Individuals named as examples of "est people" in the book included R. Buckminster Fuller, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Ralph Nader, Marshall McLuhan, Malcolm X, Albert Einstein, Lewis Mumford, and Eric Hoffer.[4]


Gengle wrote in The Netweaver's Sourcebook, that the book: "..did more to liberate media-created hippies than just about any other work of its time."[3] The book has also been referenced in later sociological evaluations of potential paths for society, including Marien's Societal Directions and Alternatives,[5] and Higgin's Symptoms of Tomorrow.[6] The book's publisher, Capricorn Press or "Capra Press", would come to be better known, having published the work.[7]

Though the book was speculative in nature, Stevens was subsequently consulted on issues relating to the future of the planet's economic, ecological and energy systems.[8] The book was later referenced by Hinshaw in a piece describing two potential futures, who cited Steven's term "Electronic Social Transformation".[9]

Erhard Seminars Training[edit]

Secondary sources have stated that the title of this work inspired Werner Erhard to name his company Erhard Seminars Training, or est for short, and to refer to it as such in lower-case. Occhiogrosso writes in The Joy of Sects that Erhard borrowed the initials, "lowercase and all", from the book.[10] In his book Larson's Book of World Religions and Alternative Spirituality, Bob Larson refers to Erhard's friend Bill Thaw in citing the same information.[11] Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman's book Snapping wrote that Erhard's "catalytic experience" driving in his Mustang occurred shortly after he had picked the title "est" from the book.[2] Navarro and Navarro wrote in Self Realization that Erhard was "very familiar" with the book.[4] According to Steven Pressman's book, Outrageous Betrayal, Werner Erhard made other staff members on his Mind Dynamics sales team read the book.[1] R. Buckminster Fuller, mentioned in the book, later helped Werner Erhard found The Hunger Project.[4][12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Pressman, Steven (September 1993). Outrageous Betrayal. St. Martin's Press. pp. Chapter: A Door to Door Mind Salesman. ISBN 0-312-09296-2. 
  2. ^ a b c d Conway, Flo; Jim Siegelman (1995). Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change. Stillpoint Press. pp. 6, 25–26. ISBN 0-9647650-0-4. 
  3. ^ a b Gengle, Dean (1984). The Netweaver's Sourcebook: A Guide to Micro Networking and Communications. Addison-Wesley. pp. 215, 322. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Navarro, Espy M.; Robert Navarro (2002). Self Realization: The Est and Forum Phenomena in American Society. Xlibris Corporation. pp. 22, 67. ISBN 1-4010-4220-1. 
  5. ^ Marien, Michael (1976). Societal Directions and Alternatives. Information for Policy Design. pp. 385, 386. 
  6. ^ Higgin, Gurth (1973). Symptoms of Tomorrow: Letters from a Sociologist on the Present State of Society. Plume Press. p. 157. 
  7. ^ Center for Curriculum Design (1973). Somewhere Else: A Living-learning Catalog. Swallow Press. pp. Page 42. ISBN 0-8040-0610-5. 
  8. ^ KPFK (June 22, 1974). "KPFK Folio JUNE 1974". Pacifica Radio Archives. pp. Pages 13–24. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  9. ^ Hinshaw, Mark. "Wiring Megalopolis: Two Scenarios" (PDF). Radical Software. 2 (1): 3–10. Retrieved 2001-11-01. 
  10. ^ Occhiogrosso, Peter (September 4, 1997). The Joy of Sects. Image. p. 543. ISBN 978-0-385-42565-0. 
  11. ^ Larson, Bob (2004). Larson's Book of World Religions and Alternative Spirituality. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. p. 176. ISBN 0-8423-6417-X. 
  12. ^ Jackson, Kenneth T.; Arnie Markoe (2002). The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives. Simon & Schuster. p. 150. ISBN 0-684-80663-0.