Werner Erhard

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Werner Erhard
Werner Hans Erhard-2.jpg
Werner Hans Erhard
Born (1935-09-05) September 5, 1935 (age 80)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
United States
Occupation Author, lecturer [1][2][3][4][5]
Spouse(s)

Patricia Fry, September 26, 1953–1960 (divorced)

Ellen Erhard (June Bryde), March 29, 1960 – November 1983 (divorced)
Children 7 [6]:21
Website wernererhard.net

Werner Hans Erhard[6]:7 (born John Paul Rosenberg; September 5, 1935) is an American critical thinker[7][8][9][10][2][11] and author of transformational models and applications for individuals, groups, and organizations.[12][13][14] He has written about integrity,[15][16] performance,[17][18] leadership[19][20][21] and transformation.[22][23] Werner Erhard has lectured at (among other institutions)[24] Harvard University,[18][25] Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine,[26] University of California, Berkeley,[27] University of Chicago,[27] University of Southern California,[28] University of Rochester,[29] Erasmus University Rotterdam,[30] Yale University,[31] Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),[32] Oxford Union at Oxford University,[33] and the US Air Force Academy.[34]

Since 2002 Erhard has devoted his time to academia.[35][36][37][38][39][40] He was originally known for creating The est Training[6][41] (1971–1983) and The Forum (1984–1991), which were offered to the public through the companies Erhard Seminars Training Inc. (1971–1975); est, an educational corporation (1975–1981), and Werner Erhard & Associates (WEA, 1981–1991). In 1977 Erhard, along with the support of John Denver, Robert W. Fuller, and others, founded The Hunger Project (a United Nations NGO)[42] in which more than 4 million people have participated.[43]

In 1991, Erhard retired from business and sold his then-existing intellectual property to a group of his former employees who formed Landmark Education, now known as Landmark Worldwide. He has no ownership or management position in Landmark Worldwide, but at Landmark's request consults with them from time to time.[44]

Much of his scholarly writing can be found on his author’s page in the Social Science Research Network (SSRN),[45] and most recently at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER),[15] the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI),[46] and The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation.[47]

Early life[edit]

John Paul Rosenberg was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 5, 1935.[6]:6[48] His father was a small restaurant owner who left Judaism for a Baptist mission before joining his wife in the Episcopal Church[6]:6[48] where she taught Sunday School.[6]:6 They agreed that their son should choose his religion for himself when he was old enough.[6]:6 He chose to be baptized in the Episcopal Church, served there for eight years as an acolyte[6]:6 and has been an Episcopalian ever since.[49]

Erhard attended Norristown High School, Norristown, Pennsylvania, where he was awarded the English award in his senior year.[6] :25,29 He graduated in June 1953, along with his future wife Patricia Fry.[6]:30 From the early mid-1950s until sometime in 1960 Erhard worked in various automobile dealerships (starting with a Ford dealership where he was trained by Lee Iacocca, and then Lincoln Mercury, and finally Chevrolet), with a stint out when he was given the opportunity to manage a nearly defunct medium-duty industrial equipment firm which became successful under his management.[50][51] Rosenberg married Patricia Fry on September 26, 1953[52]:4 and they had four children together.[6]:51 In 1960, he abandoned Patricia and their children in Philadelphia, traveled to Indianapolis with June Bryde[52]:4 and changed his name to Werner Hans Erhard.[53] Rosenberg chose his new name from Esquire magazine articles he read about then West German economics minister Ludwig Erhard and the physicist Werner Heisenberg.[6]:57–58 June Bryde changed her name to Ellen Virginia Erhard.[54]:382–383

The renamed Erhards moved to St. Louis,[55] where Erhard took a job as a car salesman.[54]:383 His wife Patricia Rosenberg and four children were forced to rely on welfare and help from family and friends, and after five years without contact, Patricia Rosenberg divorced Erhard for desertion and remarried.[54]:383 In October 1972 Erhard contacted his first wife and the children he had left behind; both his ex-wife Pat and his own younger siblings subsequently took jobs in the est organization.[54]:384

Career[edit]

Parents Magazine Cultural Institute[edit]

In 1961 Erhard began selling correspondence courses in the Midwest. He then moved to Spokane, Washington,[6]:85 where he was offered and accepted a job with Encyclopædia Britannica's "Great Books" program and was soon promoted to area training manager. In January 1962, Erhard switched to the Parents Magazine Cultural Institute, a division of the then- Fortune 50 W.R. Grace & Co.[6]:112[56] In the summer of 1962, he was promoted to the position of territorial manager for California, Nevada, and Arizona, and moved to San Francisco; and in the spring of 1963 to Los Angeles.[6]:82–106 In January 1964, Parents promoted Erhard and transferred him to Arlington, Virginia as the southeast division manager.[6]:94 In August 1964, Erhard resigned his position in Arlington over a dispute with the company president and returned to his previous position as west coast division manager for Parents in San Francisco.[6]:107–114 In 1967, Erhard was promoted to vice president.[57]:117–138 During the next few years, Erhard brought on as staff at Parents many people who would later become important in est, including Elaine Cronin, Gonneke Spits and Laurel Scheaf.

Self-education[edit]

During his time in St. Louis, Erhard read two books which were to have a marked effect on him: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (1937) and Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz (1960).[54]:383 When a member of his staff at Parents Magazine introduced him to the ideas of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, both key figures in the human potential movement, his interests became more focused on personal fulfillment rather than sales success.[54] After his move to Sausalito, he attended seminars by Alan Watts, a notable Western interpreter of Zen Buddhism, who introduced him to the distinction between mind and self;[54] Erhard subsequently became close friends with Watts.[6]:117–138 In William Bartley's biography, Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man, the Founding of est (1978), Bartley quotes Erhard as acknowledging Zen as an essential contribution that "created the space for" est.[6]:146,147 Bartley details Erhard's connections with Zen beginning with his extensive studies with Alan Watts in the mid 1960s[6]:118 and quotes Erhard as acknowledging:

Of all the disciplines that I studied, practiced, learned, Zen was the essential one. It was not so much an influence on me, rather it created space. It allowed those things that were there to be there. It gave some form to my experience. And it built up in me the critical mass from which was kindled the experience that produced est.[6]:118

Erhard attended the Dale Carnegie course in 1967.[54] He was sufficiently impressed with it to make his staff attend the course as well, and began to think about developing a course of his own.[54] Over the following years, Erhard continued to investigate a wide range of movements, including Encounter, Transactional Analysis, Enlightenment Intensive, Subud and even Scientology.[54]:383 Erhard read some works by L. Ron Hubbard. Erhard later said, "I have a lot of respect for L. Ron Hubbard and I consider him to be a genius and perhaps less acknowledged than he ought to be."[54]:383 William Bartley, in his biography of Werner Erhard, recounts that he asked Erhard to describe the differences between est and Scientology; Erhard replied:

The essential difference between est and Scientology is two-fold. The first has to do with Scientology’s emphasis on survival and its idea that the purpose of life is survival. est sees the purpose of life as wholeness or completion – truth – not survival.

The other main difference between est and Scientology lies in the treatment of knowing. Ron Hubbard seems to have no difficulty in codifying the truth and in urging people to believe it. But I suspect all codifications, particularly my own. In presenting my own ideas, I emphasize their epistemological context. I hold them as pointers to the truth, not as the truth itself.

I don’t think anyone ought to believe the ideas that we use in est. The est philosophy is not a belief system and most certainly ought not to be believed. In any case, even the truth, when believed, is a lie. You must experience the truth, not believe it.[6]:151,157

In another interview discussing the difference between est and Scientology, Erhard offers this:

All programs that deal with human beings will be in some way similar, if for no other reason, simply because we have minds and bodies, and we all think and feel. In many significant ways, est was very different than Scientology."[58]

In 1970, Erhard became involved in Mind Dynamics.[54]:383 Founded by Alexander Everett, Mind Dynamics seminars included teachings based on Rosicrucianism and Theosophy, as well as the methods of Edgar Cayce and José Silva, founder of Silva Mind Control.[54]:383–384 Erhard subsequently trained as a Mind Dynamics instructor with Everett, and took over the teaching of Mind Dynamics classes in San Francisco and soon also Los Angeles.[6]:136–137 The two directors of Mind Dynamics (William Penn Patrick and Alexander Everett) eventually invited him into their partnership, but Erhard rejected the offer, saying he would rather develop his own seminar program – "est", which he announced on September 13, 1971, at his last Mind Dynamics course in San Francisco.[54]:384

est (1971–1984)[edit]

Further information: Erhard Seminars Training

"est", short for Erhard Seminars Training, also Latin for "It is," offered intensive communications and self-development workshops.[59] Their purpose was "to transform one's ability to experience living so that the situations one had been trying to change or had been putting up with, clear up in the process of life itself."[60] The point of the est training was to have a transformation in one's natural self-expression rather than living by an inherited set of rules.[61] Between 1971 and 1984, 700,000 people enrolled in the est training.[62] Participants at est workshops adhered to strict rules and were given designated breaks for bathroom visits and one meal break.[63] Smoking, eating or drinking alcohol was not permitted during the workshop sessions[63] which lasted from 9:00 am to midnight and sometimes even to the early hours of the morning. Participants had to hand over wristwatches and were not allowed to take notes, or to speak unless called upon, in which case they had to wait for a microphone to be brought to them.[54]:384 The second day of the workshop featured the "danger process".[54]:384 Groups of participants were brought onto the stage and confronted. They were asked to "imagine that they were afraid of everyone else and then that everyone else was afraid of them"[54]:384 and to re-examine their reflex patterns of living that kept their lives from working.[64] This was followed by lectures on the third and fourth days, covering topics such as reality and the nature of the mind, ending with the conclusion that "what is, is and what ain't, ain't," and that "true enlightenment is knowing you are a machine."[54]:384 Participants were told they were perfect the way they were and were asked to indicate by a show of hands if they "had gotten it".[54]:384

While Erhard led all the early est courses himself, by the mid-1970s there were ten trainers trained by him.[54]:384 Further est centers opened in Los Angeles, Aspen, Honolulu and New York, and many other cities, and est was enthusiastically endorsed by celebrities such as John Denver and Valerie Harper.[54]:384

Werner Erhard Foundation (1973–1991)[edit]

In the early 1970s, the est Foundation became the Werner Erhard Foundation[65] with the aim of "providing financial and organizational support to individuals and groups engaged in charitable and educational pursuits – research, communication, education, and scholarly endeavors in the fields of individual and social transformation and human well-being". Among its activities was an annual conference in physics, a science in which Erhard was especially interested.[66] These conferences attracted leading names in theoretical physics of the era, including Stephen Hawking,[66] Leonard Susskind and Richard Feynman.[67] Physicist Leonard Susskind who attended some of these conferences writes, "I met Hawking and Gerard 't Hooft in the attic of Werner Erhard’s house in San Francisco. Erhard was a fan of Sidney Coleman. Dick Feynman, myself, and David Finkelstein were his gurus. He was very, very smart."[68]

In the nearly 20 years of its existence, the Werner Erhard Foundation[69] supported these charitable organizations and projects:

  • The Annual Theoretical Physics Conferences[66]
  • The Hunger Project: to create awareness of and find solutions to chronic, world-wide hunger.[70]
  • The Mastery Foundation: an inter-faith organization that worked to reconcile divisions created by religious differences.[71][72]
  • The Breakthrough Foundation created Youth at Risk: a community-based mentor/apprenticeship network aimed at giving troubled youth opportunities to choose productive, responsible lives.[73]
  • The Caregivers Project: a volunteer organization that gave support for caregivers of people with terminal illnesses.[74]
  • The Education Network:[75] a national, grassroots organization aimed at transforming education in the US.[76]
  • The Holiday Project:[77] a national volunteers group who organized gift-giving and visits for people who are confined to hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and other institutions during Christmas, Chanukah and other holidays.[78]
  • Prison Possibilities, Inc.: provided programs in the prisons, including the est training, that significantly lowered the rate of re-arrests among participating prisoners.[79]

Werner Erhard and Associates (1981–1991) and "The Forum"[edit]

Further information: Werner Erhard and Associates

In the 1980s, Erhard created a new program called "the Forum", which began in January 1985. Also during that period Erhard developed and presented a series of seminars, broadcast via satellite that included interviews with contemporary thinkers in science, economics, sports, and the arts on topics such as creativity, performance, and money. The interviews were designed not to present particular views, but to inquire into the commitments, visions and influences at the source of their work. People interviewed in this diverse series included Mike Wallace, Milton Friedman, Alice Cahana, Robert Reich, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Senator Daniel Inouye.[80][81][82]

In October 1987, Werner Erhard hosted a televised broadcast with top sports coaches John Wooden, Red Auerbach, Tim Gallwey and George Allen to discuss principles of coaching across all disciplines. They sought to identify distinctions found in coaching, regardless of the subject being coached. Jim Selman moderated the discussion and in 1989 he documented the outcome in an article called "Coaching and the Art of Management."[83]

On February 1, 1991,[84] some of the employees of Werner Erhard and Associates purchased its assets, licensed the right to use its intellectual property and assumed some of its liabilities, paying $3 million and committing to remitting up to $15 million over the following 18 years in licensing fees.[85] Shortly afterwards the new owners established Landmark Education.[84]

Presentations that evolved from the "Forum" continue to take place today in major cities in the US and worldwide as the "Landmark Forum" under the auspices of Landmark Worldwide.

Academic lectures[edit]

Throughout his career Erhard has lectured at universities and organizations around the world.[86] The Harvard Business Review On Change states "We are indebted to numerous philosophers, scholars, and thinkers who have inquired into the nature of being, especially Werner Erhard." In their publication the Harvard Review cited, "Transformation and Its Implications for Systems-Oriented Research," lecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Massachusetts, April 1977 and "The Nature of Transformation," Oxford University Union Society, Oxford, England, September 1981" and stated "Numerous writers have grappled with the relationship of past, present and future in the workplace, especially Werner Erhard," citing "Organizational Vision and Vitality: Forward from the Future," Academy of Management, San Francisco, California, August 1990.[10][33][87][88] While Erhard did not attend university, he "breached the ‘split’ in American intellectual life between the ideology and the university and the ideology of the American market place."[89] "Erhard organized and led Harvard seminars and training sessions with Michael Jensen professor of Business Administration Emeritus at Harvard Business School who co-founded the Journal of Financial Economics and was the recipient of the 2009 Morgan Stanley-American Finance Association Award for Excellence in Financial Economics."[90]

Current work[edit]

After retiring from Werner Erhard & Associates, Erhard continued to make public appearances. One of these was on CNN’s Larry King Live in an episode titled, "Whatever Happened to Werner Erhard?" via satellite from Moscow, Russia on December 8, 1993 where Erhard was working with the All Union Knowledge Society,[91] and some members of the newly formed Russian parliament.[92] As of 2001 Erhard maintained a residence with Gonneke Spits in Georgetown, Cayman Islands.[93] During this time he worked in the area of peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, and on some occasions with author Peter Block.[94]

Currently Erhard devotes his time to scholarly research and writing and presentations of his ideas. He participated in an event on May 11, 2004 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University entitled "From Thought to Action: Growing Leaders in a Changing World". The event was in honor of a friend, Warren Bennis, who had taken the est Training and for some time consulted with Werner Erhard and Associates. In 2007, he presented a talk exploring the link between integrity, leadership, and increased performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for Public Leadership,[95] led a course on integrity at the 2007 MIT Sloan School of Management’s SIP (Sloan Innovation Period),[96] and spoke at the Harvard Law School program on Corporate Governance.[97] In 2008, he took part in a presentation on integrity at DePaul University[98] and co-led a course on leadership at the Simon School of Business.[99] In 2009 he presented Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological Model at the Gruter Institute Squaw Valley Conference: Law, Behavior & the Brain.[100]

Erhard, along with colleagues Michael C. Jensen and Steve Zaffron, authored the paper, "Integrity: A Positive Model that Incorporates the Normative Phenomena of Morality, Ethics and Legality". Quoting from The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Well-Being, "Erhard, Jensen, and Zaffron (2007) aimed to present a positive model of integrity that provides powerful access to increased performance for individuals, groups, and organizations." (Positive as used here is as it is used in the sciences – it does not mean integrity as something good or desirable, it means integrity as the way integrity actually works in the world.).[101]

He presented his work on "Why We Do What We Do: A New Model Providing Actionable Access to the Source of Performance" at the Kennedy Center For Public Leadership at Harvard University in December 2009.[102]

Erhard and his colleagues, Professor Michael C. Jensen and United States Air Force Academy Fellow Kari Granger were asked to contribute to the 2012 Harvard University publication, The Handbook for Teaching Leadership: Knowing, Doing and Being,[103] edited by the Dean of Harvard Business School, Nitin Nohria,[104] HBS leadership professor Scott Snook, and Dean of Harvard College, Rakesh Khurana.[105] In their introduction the editors write, "Erhard, Jensen and Granger anchor this collection by taking dead aim at the BE component. In a highly provocative chapter titled 'Creating Leaders', this eclectic group of scholars argues for adopting a decidedly ontological approach to leadership education...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. It is not enough to know about or simply understand these foundational factors, but rather 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."[106]

Erhard's ontological work has been a topic for discussion by academics. At the 2013 Philosophy of Communication Division National Communication Association Conference in Washington D.C., Professors Bruce Hyde and Andrew Kopp presented their paper, "Connecting Philosophy and Communication; A Heideggerian Analysis of the Ontological Rhetoric of Werner Erhard," in which they state "We are not suggesting here that Heidegger’s philosophical writings were the source of Erhard’s ideas. We see both men as being at work in the same field, sharing a view toward language and its relationship to Being."[107]

Erhard is the author of the final chapter in the book about Nobel Prize winning economist, Friedrich Hayek; Hayek:A Collaborative Biography edited by Dr. Robert Leeson, Visiting Professor of Economics at Stanford University.[108]

In 2014 The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) issued Werner Erhard's and Michael C. Jensen's paper, "Putting Integrity Into Finance: A Purely Positive Approach" in which they summarize their theory of integrity as a purely positive phenomenon (i.e. that integrity does not mean integrity as something good or desirable, rather it means integrity as the way integrity actually works in the world) and that "adding integrity as a positive phenomenon to the paradigm of financial economics provides actionable access (rather than mere explanation with no access) to the source of the behavior that has resulted in damaging effects on value and human welfare, thereby significantly reducing that behavior."[109][110]

Critics and disputes[edit]

Various skeptics have questioned or criticized the validity of Erhard's work and his motivations. Psychiatrist Marc Galanter described Erhard as "a man with no formal experience in mental health, self help, or religious revivalism, but a background in retail sales."[111] Michael Zimmerman, Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Tulane University, described Erhard as "a kind of artist, a thinker, an inventor, who has big debts to others, borrowed from others, but then put the whole thing together in a way that no one else had ever done."[112][113] Philosophy professor at Sacramento City College, Robert Todd Carroll referred to est as a "hodge-podge of philosophical bits and pieces culled from the carcasses of existential philosophy, motivational psychology."[114] Social critic John Bassett MacCleary called Erhard "a former used-car salesman" and est "just another moneymaking scam."[115] NYU psychology professor Paul Vitz noted that est "was primarily a business" and that its "style of operation has been labeled as fascist."[116]

In 1991, Erhard "vanished amid reports of tax fraud (which proved false and won him $200,000 from the IRS[92][117]) and allegations of incest (which were later recanted)."[118]) The March 3, 1991 60 Minutes broadcast of these allegations was later removed by CBS due to factual inaccuracies.[119] On March 3, 1992, Erhard sued CBS, San Jose Mercury News reporter John Hubner and approximately twenty other defendants for libel, defamation, slander, and invasion of privacy, as well as conspiracy.[120][121] On May 20, 1992, Erhard filed for dismissal of his own case and sent checks for $100 to each of the defendants, covering their filing fees in the case.[122] Erhard later told Larry King in an interview that he dropped the suit after receiving legal advice telling him that in order to win it, it would not be sufficient to prove that CBS knew the allegations were false, but that he would also need to prove that CBS acted with malice.[123] Erhard stated to King that his family members (as reported in Time magazine)[117] had since retracted their allegations, which had been made under pressure from CBS, and that accusations of tax evasion aired in the program were "misunderstandings" that were in the process of being resolved.[123]

Erhard's daughters later retracted the allegations of sexual abuse they had made against their father.[124][125] Celeste Erhard, one of the daughters featured in the CBS program, subsequently sued journalist John Hubner and the San Jose Mercury News seeking US$2 million.[126] Celeste Erhard accused the newspaper of having "defrauded her and invaded her privacy".[126] She asserted that she had exaggerated information, had been promised a book deal to be co-authored with Hubner for revenue of $2 million, and stated on the record that the articles and her appearance on CBS television's 60 Minutes were to get publicity for the book.[126][127] Celeste Erhard did not dispute the accuracy of the quotes in the newspaper.[128] The case was dismissed in August 1993, the judge ruling that the statute of limitation had expired and that Celeste Erhard "had suffered no monetary damages or physical harm and that she failed to present legal evidence that Hubner had deliberately misled her."[126]

The video of the CBS 60 Minutes program was subsequently withdrawn from the market.[129] Suzanne Snider in The Believer, May 2003, reported that it "was filled with so many factual discrepancies that the transcript was made unavailable with this disclaimer: 'This segment has been deleted at the request of CBS News for legal or copyright reasons.'"[119]

In 1992 a court ruled that "The Forum" had not caused any "mental injuries" to Stephanie Ney. The court entered a default judgment of $380,000 against Werner Erhard – in absentia[52]:262 because Erhard had not personally received the notice to appear and was not present.[130]

In 1993, Erhard filed a wrongful disclosure lawsuit against the IRS, asserting that IRS agents had incorrectly and illegally revealed to the media details of information from his tax returns.[131] In the first half of April 1991, IRS spokesmen were widely quoted, alleging that "Erhard owed millions of dollars in back taxes, that he was transferring assets out of the country, and that the agency was suing Erhard", branding Erhard a "tax cheat".[131] On April 15, the IRS was reported to have placed a lien of $6.7 million on personal property belonging to Erhard.[132] In his wrongful disclosure lawsuit against the IRS Erhard stated that he had never refused to pay taxes that were lawfully due,[131] and in September 1996 he won the suit. The IRS settled the lawsuit with Erhard, paying him $200,000 in damages. The IRS officials admitted that media reports quoting them on Erhard's tax liabilities had been false; however, they took no action to have the media correct these statements.[131][133]

A private investigator quoted in the Los Angeles Times stated that by October 1989, Scientology had collected five filing cabinets worth of materials about Erhard, many from ex-members of est who had joined Scientology, and that Scientology was clearly in the process of organizing a "media blitz" aimed at discrediting Erhard.[134] According to Harry Rosenberg, Erhard's brother, "Werner made some very, very powerful enemies. They really got him."[124]

In their 1992 book Perspectives on the New Age James R. Lewis and J. Gordon Melton noted that est used "authoritarian trainers who enforce numerous rules", require applause after participants "share" in front of the group, and deemphasize reason in favor of "feeling and action." The authors also pointed out that graduates of est were "fiercely loyal," and recruited heavily, reducing marketing expenses to virtually zero.[135]

Impact[edit]

A 2012 Financial Times article said that Erhard’s influence "extends far beyond the couple of million people who have done his courses: there is hardly a self-help book or a management training programme that does not borrow some of his principles."[92] Erhard and his programs have been cited[136] as having a significant cultural impact on America in the 1970s.[137] Erhard provided a 'universal story of the search for new identity and for the Self.'[138] Erhard’s teachings have influenced the field of professional coaching. The late Thomas Leonard, who founded or helped found Coach U, the International Coach Federation, Coachville, the International Association of Coaches and the Coaches Training Institute, was an employee of est.[139][140]

Paul Fireman (former CEO of Reebok),[141] Peter Block,[142] leadership expert Warren Bennis,[143] and economist Michael Jensen,[144][145] spoke positively of Erhard. Tiger Woods' father cited est as helping him become a better parent.[146] David Logan, Assoc. Professor of Business, University of Southern California said, "Werner’s thinking – I don’t know any nice way of saying it – is just out there in the world. You can’t do a Master’s Degree in organizational development or human resources without picking up some of it. And it’s usually not credited back to him. His stuff is just out there."[147] Over the years, Werner Erhard’s philosophy has been cited in helping to promote[148] a multibillion-dollar personal growth industry based on Erhard's original concepts.[149][150] Social scientist Daniel Yankelovich said of the large scale study he conducted of participants of The Forum that Erhard created: “Several of the study’s findings surprised me quite a bit, especially the large number of participants for whom The Forum proved to be ‘one of the most valued experiences of my life’. This is not a sentiment that people, especially successful, well-educated people, express lightly.”[151]

Many scholars have been influenced by Werner Erhard, such as the founder of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and former president of the Association of Cognitive Behavior Therapies Steven C. Hayes,[152] researcher and author Bartley J. Madden, whose current focus is on market-based solutions to public policy,[153] and Dr. Bernard Roth, Rodney H. Adams Professor in the School of Engineering and Academic Director and co-founder of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the d.school) at Stanford University.[154]

Dr. Roth says about Erhard's influence on his work: "I learned a lot from Werner and his work. For me it put an intellectual framework around all the fragments ... I also benefited from coleading several workshops with Werner and his associates. Three years ago I participated in a leadership workshop colead by Werner, Michael Jensen, and Kari Granger. It had been twenty-two years since I last worked with Werner. This experience brought a renewed realization as to how deeply his style and content have influenced my teaching."[155]

Related organizations[edit]

The Hunger Project[edit]

Main article: The Hunger Project

In 1977, Erhard along with the support of John Denver, the former Oberlin College president Robert W. Fuller, and others, founded The Hunger Project, a non-profit, United Nations NGO[42] in which more than 4 million people have participated. Erhard authored the Hunger Project Source Document, subtitled, "The End of Starvation: Creating an Idea Whose Time Has Come". By 2014 The Hunger Project had mobilized 20.6 million people in more than 24,000 communities throughout Africa, South Asia and Latin America to become agents of their own development and make sustainable progress in overcoming hunger and poverty.[156]

Landmark Education[edit]

In 1991 the group that later formed Landmark Education purchased the intellectual property of Werner Erhard. In 1998, Time magazine published an article[157] about Landmark Education and its historical connection to Werner Erhard. The article stated that: "In 1991, before he left the U.S., Erhard sold the 'technology' behind his seminars to his employees, who formed a new company called the Landmark Education Corp., with Erhard's brother Harry Rosenberg at the helm." Landmark Education states that its programs have as their basis ideas originally developed by Erhard, but that Erhard has no financial interest, ownership, or management role in Landmark Education.[158] In Stephanie Ney v. Landmark Education Corporation (1994),[159] the courts determined Landmark Education Corporation did not have successor-liability to Werner Erhard & Associates, the corporation whose assets Landmark Education purchased.

According to Pressman in "Outrageous Betrayal": Landmark Education further agreed to pay Erhard a long-term licensing fee for the material used in the Forum and other courses. Erhard stood to earn up to $15 million over the next 18 years."[52]:253–255 However, Arthur Schreiber's declaration of May 3, 2005 states: "Landmark Education has never paid Erhard under the license agreements (he assigned his rights to others)." [160]

In 2001, New York Magazine reported that Landmark Education's CEO Harry Rosenberg said that the company had bought outright Erhard's license and his rights to the business in Japan and Mexico.[93] From time to time Erhard consults with Landmark Education.[161]

Barbados Group[edit]

The Barbados Group represents a "self-selected group of scholars, consultants and practitioners"[162] which aims to build an ontological paradigm of performance in organizations.[163] The group and its main publication-vehicle SSRN both have at their head Michael Jensen, Emeritus Professor at the Harvard Business School. Werner Erhard's Barbados Group publications can be found at SSRN.[164] Some members of the Barbados Group are affiliated with Landmark Education.[165]

The Barbados Group was analyzed by economics journalist and author David Warsh, in an article in Economic Principals.[166]

Film and television[edit]

In 2006, Erhard appeared in the documentary Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard.[167] The film was co-produced by Robyn Symon and Walter Maksym, who had earlier served as Erhard's attorney in the lawsuit against CBS.[167]

Werner Erhard was featured in the 2002 British documentary by Adam Curtis, The Century of the Self, episode part 3 of 4. This segment of the video discusses the est Training in detail, and includes interviews with est graduates John Denver and Jerry Rubin.

See also[edit]

Publications[edit]

Selected Erhard writings as lead author[edit]

Books by others[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Erhard, Werner; Jensen, Michael C.; Granger, Kari (2012). Creating Leaders: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model, Chapter 16, in The Handbook for Teaching Leadership: Knowing, Doing, and Being (Eds. Scott Snook, Nitin Nohria, Rakesh Khurana). SAGE Publications, Inc. pp. xxii–xxiv, 245–262. ISBN 978-1-4129-9094-3. Retrieved 8 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Hayek: A Collaborative Biography: Part 1 Influences from Mises to Bartley (May 2013). Chapter 12: "Bill Bartley: An Extraordinary Biographer" by Werner Erhard. Robert Leeson (ed.) Visiting Professor of Economics at Stanford University. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 234–236.
  3. ^ Erhard, Werner. "Scholarly Papers – SSRN Author Page". Social Science Research Network. SSRN. Retrieved 8 December 2015. 
  4. ^ Erhard, Werner. "Archive of Articles". Werner Erhard. wernererhard.net. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Werner Erhard Current Work". Werner Erhard. wernererhard.net. 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015. 
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External links[edit]