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




Werner Erhard's work in the area of transformation has created new possibilities for people and organizations over the last forty years. These links are a variety of academic, business and personal websites by people who have been impacted by the transformational work of Werner Erhard.


Dr. Bernard Roth, "I learned a lot from Werner and his work.  For me it put an intellectual framework around all the fragments I had gotten from Esalen.  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.  I am very thankful for his teachings and friendship." From Bernard Roth's book, The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life Dr. Bernard Roth is a Rodney H. Adams Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford University where he is the Academic Director, and one of the founders, of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the d.school)

Est (Erhard Seminars Training): "Werner Erhard and his est Training brought to the forefront the ideas of transformation, personal responsibility, accountability, and possibility – and over the next decade, over a million people “Got it”. Erhard Seminars Training was as much a sign of the times as bell bottoms, peace rallies and space travel. Over the years, more than two million people from all walks of life participated in est or the programs that grew out of Erhard Seminars Training. Professionals and leaders from government, business and health industries, as well as people in the fields of arts and entertainment actively participated in the programs of est. Enjoy the essence of what est created and the impact it has made on society through the archives, video and vivid shares on this site. Stand up and acknowledge how you have made a difference in this world out of having participated in the est Training. Celebrate in this tribute to the est Training, Werner Erhard and you."

Creating Leaders: An Ontological/Phenomenological Approach. An Introduction: This presentation is based on Werner Erhard, Michael Jensen, Steve Zaffron, and Kari Granger's research program in which their objective has been to rigorously distinguish leader and leadership and to create a technology for providing access to being a leader and exercising leadership effectively as one’s natural self-expression (in short, a technology for reliably creating leaders). This presentation is a new expression of an earlier talk created by Werner Erhard, Michael Jensen and Kari Granger ( http://ssrn.com/abstract=1392406 ). Their research program involves not only discovering the technology, but also creating a course that would be available to others to use, experiment with, research, improve on and innovate from.

Northern Ireland Peace Process: Werner Erhard, in collaboration with Peter Block, designed courses and trained clergy and grassroots leaders in transformation skills and perspectives in leadership and integrity to effect peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

James C. Selman: Jim Selman, the founder of Paracomm Partners International, is a recognized leader and authority in the field of organizational transformation and culture change. He worked in education and research with some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the fields of transformation and management, including Werner Erhard.

Evolved Leadership -Producing Breakthrough Results: Werner Erhard, the grandfather of personal development played a part in identifying 6 operating stages to Producing Breakthrough Results – these operating stages are what individuals, groups and organisations go through in the process of getting any project or task accomplished, or getting a business off the ground.

Landmark Celebrates 25 Years of Transformational Programs and Breakthrough Results: Landmark’s programs are based on material and methodology created and developed by Werner Erhard (www.wernererhard.com). Mr. Erhard currently works in academia, writing and lecturing at top universities around the world, most recently on the topics of leadership, integrity, and performance. Renowned Harvard economist Michael C. Jensen, who has collaborated with Erhard on academic articles, papers, and curricula, was recently quoted in The New York Times as stating that Mr. Erhard is “one of the great intellectuals of the century.”

The Four Ways of Being that Create the Foundation for Great Leadership, a Great Organization, & a Great Personal Life: "Being Authentic - Being authentic is being and acting consistent with who you hold yourself out to be for others, and who you hold yourself to be for yourself. When leading, being authentic leaves you grounded and able to be straight with others without the use of force.
Being Cause In the Matter of Everything In Your Life - Being Cause in the Matter is a stand you take on yourself and your life. A stand is a declaration you make, not a statement of fact. Being Cause in the Matter is viewing life from and acting from the stand that “I am cause in the matter of everything in my life.” Being willing to view life from this perspective leaves you with power. You are never for yourself a victim.
Being Committed to Something Bigger than Oneself - Being committed to something bigger than oneself is the source of the serene passion (charisma) required to lead and to develop others as leaders and the source of persistence (joy in the labor of) when the path gets tough.
Being A Person or an Organization of Integrity - In our model, integrity for anything is the state of being whole, complete, unbroken, sound, in perfect condition. For a person and any human organization, integrity is a matter of that person’s word or that organization’s word being whole and complete — nothing more and nothing less. Integrity is required to create the maximum opportunity for performance and quickly generate trust."
(Paper by Werner H. Erhard and Michael C. Jensen)


Werner Erhard:Werner Erhard es el creador de modelos transformacionales y aplicaciones para la transformación individual, social y de la organización. Sus innovadoras ideas han estimulado conversaciones académicas en muchas universidades, más recientemente en las áreas de integridad, liderazgo y desempeño. Werner Erhard ha disertado en Harvard University, Yale University, Escuela de Negocios Simon de la Universidad de Rochester y Erasmus University.

Werner Erhard: Werner Erhard ist der geistige Vater von Modellen und Anwendungen von Transformation für Einzelpersonen, Organisationen und für die Gesellschaft. Seine innovativen Ideen waren der Anlass für wissenschaftliche Diskussionen in vielen Universitäten, zuletzt in den Bereichen Integrität, Führung und Leistung. Werner Erhard hat Vorlesungen an der Harvard University, der Yale University, der University of Rochester Simon School of Business und der Erasmus University gehalten.

Werner Erhard: Werner Erhard est le créateur de modèles transformateurs et leur application pour les transformations individuelles, organisationnelles et sociétales. Ses idées innovantes ont stimulé des conversations académiques dans maintes universités. Il écrit des documents scientifiques-universitaires dans les domaines de l’intégrité, du leadership, de la performance et de la transformation. Werner Erhard est intervenu comme conférencier à Harvard University, Yale University, University of Rochester Simon School of Business, et Erasmus University.

Werner Erhard:沃纳·爱海德(Werner Erhard)是转化模型及应用的创始人,这一创造适用于个人、组织机构和社会的转化。他的创新理念激发了在许多大学开展的学术对话,近期讨论的领域是Integrity、领导力和绩效。爱海德曾在哈佛大学耶鲁大学罗切斯特大学的西蒙商学院伊拉斯姆斯大学演讲。

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.

The Washington Post:Regarding H.W. Brands’s Aug. 3 Book World review of “The Invisible Bridge ” [“How Americans reclaimed their national pride”]:

While it is understandable that any book about the 1970s would include a reference to Werner Erhard and the est Training, what was not mentioned was that, far from simply being an iconic figure of that era, Mr. Erhard’s ideas and work continue to make an enormous difference, and his seminars spawned an entire self-development and coaching industry. Today, Mr. Erhard consults and lectures at top universities and institutions around the world.

Laurel Scheaf, San Francisco,The Washington Post, October 14, 2014

Meet The Instructors: Being A Leader and The Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological / Phenomenological Model at Clemson University, 2016

Werner Erhard: A Shot Heard Round The World: The Context for Creating a Transformed World: A World that Works for Everyone
"Sometime around now - it may have happened five years ago or fifty years ago - but sometime around now, the rules for living successfully on this planet shifted. We can no longer hope to live meaningful, purposeful lives using the rules of a you or me world. It's becoming clearer and clearer to those who will look that in order to live successfully on this planet, we must discover and live by the rules of you and me."

Werner Erhard and est: A collection of writings, photos, and videos about The est Training.

Werner Erhard Foundation: A collection of articles on the history and influence of the Werner Erhard Foundation

Erhard Seminars Training Reunion: A Reunion of Ideas - where people share what they created for their lives out of their est Training. "Welcome to a reunion of ideas. Reminisce with others about a unique time in our culture and about the est Training that continues to impact our lives everyday. A study of transformational programs that began with est shows that 7 out of 10 people found the programs to be one of their life's most rewarding experiences. This blog is evidence of the enduring difference the program has made in people’s lives. This is a gathering place for you to share what the est training provided for you, your career, your family, friends, and communities, then and now."

The Americans: Over 40 years later the est training continues to have an impact as shown in the critically acclaimed TV show  “The Americans” which features the est Training in a truthful depiction of the fictional lead character and Russian spy attending est programs. This plotline shows the character examining his past and questioning his purpose. Brilliantly written, the depictions and the way the show depicts the benefits of the est Training to forward and deepen the story shows that the writers and or people on the production team must have been est Graduates!

est Training: One reader writes of in her review of the book est: 60 Hours That Transform Your Life, by Adelaide Bry, "This book is an excellent reminder that I 'got it' 30 years ago. How awesome is that! This book crossed my path about a month ago.. Could not put it down. Each page reminded me of how powerful 'transformation' is and that our 'possibilities' are endless."

The Return of Werner Erhard, Father of Self-Help: The New York Times calls the EST training the "cultural touchstone of the 1970s".

Werner Erhard writes about the est training: "Fundamentally, then the est training is an occasion in which participants have an experience, uniquely their own, in a situation which enables and encourages them to do that fully and responsibly. I am suggesting that the best way to learn about est is to look into yourself, because whatever est is about is in your self. There are some who think that I have discovered something that other people ought to know. That is not so. What I have discovered is that people know things that they do not know that they know, the knowing of which can nurture them and satisfy them and allow them to experience an expanded sense of aliveness in their lives. The training is an occasion for them to have that experience - to get in touch with what they actually already know but are not really aware of." From Biosciences Communication, 1977

Quotations from Werner Erhard: This site is a collection of quotes by Werner Erhard with pictures. Two of Werner Erhard's famous quotes are: "At all times and under all circumstances, we have the power to transform the quality of our lives." and "Love is granting another the space to be the way they are and the way they are not."

A Quote by Werner Erhard Helps Illustrate A Point: Match.com put up an ad featuring a freckled redhead with the line "If you don't like your imperfections, someone else will" but after being accused of bullying they took the ad down. The dating website probably meant well but the implications have not been well-received by redheads. As Werner Erhard said: "In communication, it’s not enough to make sure we speak correctly, we must take responsibility for being heard correctly".

Integrity, Self-trust, Locus of Control and Being with the Weirdness: “Without integrity, nothing works.”
~ Erhard, Jensen & Zaffron, 2009 ~

On Happiness: A lot has been written about happiness. Not much of it speaks to me. And there are some speakers whose speaking resonates with me. Let’s start by listening to a wisdom master: "Happiness is almost not worth talking about because the instant you turn happiness into a goal it isn’t attainable any more. In other words, happiness isn’t something you can work towards." – Werner Erhard

Werner Erhard en francais: Werner Erhard est le créateur de modèles transformateurs et leur application pour les transformations individuelles, organisationnelles et sociétales. Ses idées innovantes ont stimulé des conversations académiques dans maintes universités. Il écrit des documents scientifiques-universitaires dans les domaines de l’intégrité, du leadership, de la performance et de la transformation. Werner Erhard est intervenu comme conférencier à Harvard University, Yale University, University of Rochester Simon School of Business, et Erasmus University.

Widener University, Ontological/Phenomenological Leadership: recommended reading - Creating Leaders: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model, by Werner Erhard, Michael Jensen, and Kari Granger in The Handbook for Teaching Leadership

Accessing the Power of the Future: Patricia Albere calls Werner Erhard, "One of the most important philosophical thinkers of the twentieth century, whose work has touched tens of millions of people."

Shah Gilani on Being Cause in the Matter: "Someone I love very much – in fact, a family member I idolize – was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. We are all in shock, and some members of my family are very frightened. But I made a decision. Instead of being frightened, I’m going on the attack. As transformational thinking lecturer (and “Est” founder) Werner Hans Erhard advocates, I’m going to be “cause in the matter.” So I’ve given myself a mission – to do my part to help find a cure.

Transformation - A Look Back at The est Training of 1980: by Richard A. Catalina, Jr...."Well, let me say this (and I said it back then): the est training program was an absolute blast.  I had the time of my life and believe that my friends all did as well.  And, yes . . . I was TRANSFORMED!  We were all TRANSFORMED!  Everyone who attended the training was TRANSFORMED!...Doing the est Seminar Training was one of the best things I have done in my life and my experience of attending that program – with 12 great friends – remains a life highlight.  There was immense value in that program, more than I can actually remember, but it left its mark: the way we choose to think about and experience the people, circumstances and events of our life is what defines our life.  Think about it.  It’s true.  And, this really is “it.”  This is Life, the real show . . . “it ain’t no dress rehearsal.” And, what’s more important is this: at every moment, we have the ability and freedom (known as “free will”) to CHOOSE how we experience life.  Nobody decides our experience, unless, of course, we choose to voluntarily give them that control (victim consciousness).  That, my friends, is the Real Power of TRANSFORMATION."

Leadership Now: Ken Blanchard on Six Steps For Successfully Bringing Change To Your Company..." as Werner Erhard has often said, 'What you resist, persists.' If you don't permit people to deal with their feelings about what's happening, those feelings stay around. Have you ever said to yourself, “I'm glad I got that off my chest?” If so, you know the relief that comes from sharing your concerns openly. The good news is that when people share them openly, their concerns often dissipate."

Lance Reddick: The Washington Post - "Reddick thinks his period with est (Erhard Seminars Training) — especially a workshop on communication — gave him the ability to ace those early auditions. 'I led seminars for about two years when I was in college. My participation had a profound effect on my acting later, and my ability as a seminar leader allowed me to fill in the gaps in my training that I didn’t have in auditioning,' he explains.'Because I was used to figuring out how to read a room and being myself in front of people — even though I hadn’t really studied auditioning — I was able to audition well and that made a big difference. . . . I was different when I came out of the workshop. I’m shy, an introvert. I was so withdrawn, so self-conscious, but when I came out I was ‘Whoa!’ Suddenly all this stuff I’d been suppressing since I was 7, I let go of.'”

New York Times: When the New York Times interviewed Werner Erhard in 2015, they wrote, “he had taken a suite at the London NYC hotel, where he had traveled with his Dutch-born third wife, Gonneke Spits, from Toronto to see friends, do a little business and visit his favorite chiropractor and tailor. He was also in the city to meet with a reporter — virtually the only press he has done in more than two decades."

Reunion of Ideas: "Reminisce with others about a unique time in our culture and about the est Training that continues to impact our lives everyday. Studies of transformational programs that began with est show that 7 out of 10 people found the programs to be one of their life's most rewarding experiences. This blog is evidence of the enduring difference the program has made in people’s lives. This is a gathering place for you to share what the est training provided for you, your career, your family, friends, and communities, then and now."

New York Times Features Werner Erhard: A lengthy feature in The New York Times has profiled the life and contributions of Werner Erhard, as well as noting Landmark’s leadership in the personal and professional training and development industry. In addition to summarizing Erhard’s career, the article discussed Erhard’s current work in the academic world, including a description of him by notable economist and Harvard Professor emeritus Michael C. Jensen  as “one of the great intellectuals of the century.” The article also noted Landmark’s work with organizations including NASA, Microsoft, Reebok, and Lululemon. Read the entire article from The New York Times.

Recommended Reading: The New York Times’ Profile Of EST Creator Werner Erhard: The creator of the Erhard Seminars Training events was Werner Erhard (born as John Paul Rosenberg in Philly in 1935), and his marathon EST self-improvement courses became a phenomenon in the 70s as a salve to soothe the soul of a nation desperately seeking answers...EST provided many with awareness of themselves, others and the world we all shared.

The History of Coaching and its Development: Werner Erhard might be the single most influential person in the founding of the life coaching industry, not necessarily because he started the idea of coaching but because he started a movement which influenced many important names in coaching’s history.

Werner Erhard: Transformational Teacher and Author, featured on Simple Reminders.com: Werner Erhard is an original thinker whose ideas have transformed the effectiveness and quality of life for millions of people and thousands of organizations around the world. For nearly 40 years he has been the creator of innovative ideas and models of individual, organizational, and social transformation.

Werner Erhard Leadership: While there are many ways of grappling with leadership, the ontological lens and in particular the ontological/phenomenological model of leadership that has been developed and is being taught by Werner Erhard et al. is a valuable model.  In this post Maz Iqbal continues the conversation on being a leader and leadership.

Innovative Influence - Where leadership and business development intersect -Notes from a day with Werner Erhard

No Complaints Challenge: "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] – read books or I’ve participated in programs. I did a lot of programs at Landmark and I got a lot of training there and as I improved myself and I increased my training I became better, more effective at helping people and the more affective I became the more I loved to do it, and the more made a difference for people. So I really love helping people and the “No Complaints Day Challenge” is a tool in and of itself that people could just use. You don’t have to just use it on August 12th you can use it any day in fact I suggested that people use it on Thanksgiving of this year. Where are there more complaints than at Thanksgiving dinner table at Thanksgiving right? So quite a couple hundred people said yeah I’m gonna do that too just to see what it’s like what what can happen. So they used that tool on that day."

Transform Your Life in Just Over 3 Days?: Author Becky Killoran writes of her experience of Werner Erhard's work, "Before I did the [work], I’d have been highly sceptical if anyone suggested that a world without war was possible. On Sunday, Jerry did just that and to my surprise I understood: Global  peace is possible when humanity is free from blaming others for how our lives are and from making others wrong. Anything is possible now."

est Training: "The way est happened was very simple.  I had this transformational experience.  I had a transformation.  Whoever I had been up until that point, I no longer was.  And it was on my way to work, and I happened to be – not anything significant about being on the Golden Gate Bridge – but I happened to be there, and that’s when I had the realization that what my life was about was really meaningless.  It was empty.  And this realization that the things that I thought were so significant, like looking good and winning – just the normal things that I guess most people think are important – that they really had no importance, that it was all empty and meaningless.  When I broke through the sadness, broke through the sense of despair at having wasted my life, I all of a sudden realized, “My God, I’m free.”  What – free – what does that mean to be free?   Free to choose, free to create a life that was worth living.  So I took a day with my staff – shared with them the best I could something that would allow them to create for themselves the kind of transformational experience that I had had.  And we all decided, okay, we’ll do this.  Instead of selling books, we’ll do this." -Werner Erhard, 2005, from Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard

Professor Bruce Hyde: Bruce Hyde, a professor of communications studies at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota holds a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and is a specialist in interpersonal and small-group communication. He is a former chairman of St. Cloud’s department of theater, film studies and dance. "He relishes trying to help his students to see issues from different perspectives. He's co-writing a book about author/lecturer Werner Erhard."

Werner Erhard, Speaker at the academic conference on Leadership titled, "Growing Leaders in a Changing World" at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Center for Public Leadership

Leadership - Werner Erhard: Success News, Werner Erhard speaks to Kennedy School students on his latest work: “Why We Do What We Do: A New Model Providing Actionable Access to the Source of Performance.”

This Is It: est, Twenty Years Later: Eliezer Sobel, published in Quest magazine, summer 1998: "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" [Watts wrote:] "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.'"

Creating Leaders: An Ontological Model: Integral Options Cafe offers multiple perspectives from many fields of human inquiry that may move all of us toward a more integrated understanding of who we are as conscious beings.

FutureLab -What Does It Take To Be a Leader and for Leadership To Show Up?: by Maz Iqbal - "This post continues and completes the conversation on what it takes to be a leader (and for leadership to show up) from an ontological perspective as put forward and taught by Werner Erhard et al. There are three foundational strands to this model: ‘integrity’, ‘authenticity’, and ‘being committed to something bigger than oneself’."  

The first post dealt with integrity, the second post dealt with authenticity and this post deals with ‘being committed to something bigger than oneself’....Let’s kick off the conversation through a quote from Werner Erhard et al that speaks to me, it may do the same for you:

“In a certain sense, all true leaders are heroes. Heroes are ordinary people who are given being and action by something bigger than themselves…… Each of us must make the personal choice to be a hero or not, to be committed to something bigger than ourselves or not, to go beyond the way we “wound up being” and have the purpose of our lives and our careers be about something that makes a difference or not, in other words, to be a leader or not.”

This Is Still It: est, Thirty Years Later: Eliezer Sobel - "...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."

Awareness and Choice: "After a storm of unfounded public allegations Mr. Erhard signed over his intellectual property to Landmark and withdrew from public life in the early 1990s. But thanks to his collaboration with Harvard professor Michael Jensen who was instrumental in revolutionizing the field of Finance in the 1970s, it is now possible again for people like me to have access to his sharp mind, relentless love, powerful example and revolutionary thinking."

Integral Options Cafe: Reprint of abstract, "Creating Leaders An Ontological Model" by Erhard, W, Jensen, MC. & Granger, KL. (2010, Nov. 4). Creating Leaders: An Ontological Model. Forthcoming in: THE HANDBOOK FOR TEACHING LEADERSHIP, Scott Snook, Nitin Nohria, Rakesh Khurana, eds., Sage Publications, 2011; Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper 11-037; Barbados Group Working Paper No. 10-10; Simon School Working Paper Series No. FR-10-30. Available at SSRN:http://ssrn.com/abstract=1681682

Perspective - Thank You Werner: 365 Words beginning with P"Last night I watched “Transformation: the Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard.” The film included scenes of the est training in San Francisco from the early 1970s and recent interviews with Werner, as well as with former well-known participants, observers and critics. I “did the training” in early 1972 when Werner was still leading most of it. I also took several graduate seminars, the six-day course and a seminar leaders training program with him, so the film was very much déjà vu – and it brought home to me the enormity of Werner’s impact not only on my life and the lives of hundreds of thousands of others, but on the fabric of our culture today."

Executive Coaching With Tony Mayo: Werner Erhard: The Source of Executive Coaching - Werner Erhard founded est in 1971 and “The Training” became a major cultural phenomenon of the 1970s, with hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic graduates around the world, including leading academics, for example Harvard Business School’s Michael Jensen and MIT’s Warren Bennis, and many celebrities such as John Denver, Valerie Harper, Ted Dansen, and Raul Julia. Tiger Woods’ first and most important coach, father Earl Woods, credits est with preparing him for the task.

Sustainability, Equity, Development: A Quest for Context and Meaning

What Does It Really Mean To Take A Stand: Sustainable Action Leadership


Werner Erhard






Erhard Seminars Training - Werner Erhard

Photos of Werner Erhard and the early days of the est training


Werner Erhard 2008

Werner Erhard in 2008



Werner Erhard leading training

Werner Erhard leading the est training



Werner Erhard breakthrough foundation

Werner Erhard in 1976



Werner Erhard and Gonneke Spits

Werner Erhard and Gonneke Spits and the Neuroleadership Summit 2008

flyer for Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard

Read about the new documentary on Werner Erhard



















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